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The Myth of Working Your Way Through College
The Atlantic ^ | 04/01/2014 | SVATI KIRSTEN NARULA

Posted on 04/01/2014 7:22:48 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

A lot of Internet ink has been spilled over how lazy and entitled Millennials are, but when it comes to paying for a college education, work ethic isn't the limiting factor. The economic cards are stacked such that today’s average college student, without support from financial aid and family resources, would need to complete 48 hours of minimum-wage work a week to pay for his courses—a feat that would require superhuman endurance, or maybe a time machine.

To take a close look at the tuition history of almost any institution of higher education in America is to confront an unfair reality: Each year’s crop of college seniors paid a little bit more than the class that graduated before. The tuition crunch never fails to provide new fodder for ongoing analysis of the myths and realities of The American Dream. Last week, a graduate student named Randy Olson listened to his grandfather extol the virtues of putting oneself through college without family support. But paying for college without family support is a totally different proposition these days, Olson thought. It may have been feasible 30 years ago, or even 15 years ago, but it's much harder now.

He later found some validation for these sentiments on Reddit, where one user had started a thread about the increasing cost per course at Michigan State University.

MSU calculates tuition by the "credit hour," the term for the number of hours spent in a classroom per week. By this metric, which is used at many U.S. colleges and universities, a course that's worth three credit hours is a course that meets for three hours each week during the semester. If the semester is 15 weeks long, that adds up to 45 total hours of a student's time.

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Education; Society
KEYWORDS: college; tuition; work
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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1 posted on 04/01/2014 7:22:48 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I must have missed the law that stated that college students were forced to work for minimum wage.

One would think that an energetic, smart person could do better than the absolute minimum.

There is also that whole, working before you go to college thing.


2 posted on 04/01/2014 7:25:08 PM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: SeekAndFind

GI Bill, Hard Work U, correspondence, community college, etc.


3 posted on 04/01/2014 7:27:35 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I worked my way through college driving cabs and as a part time bouncer. Did just fine ... of course that was back in the 60’s, don’t know if I could do it today.


4 posted on 04/01/2014 7:31:06 PM PDT by doc1019
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To: SeekAndFind

I worked my way through college, at least as an undergrad. I had an athletic scholar ship and a job running the university’s switchboard in the evenings until 10:00.

I also got training table and the athletic department would let you borrow your text books. I had enough money left over that I bought an old car from Billy Graham. Not that Billy Graham, this one was a football player.

Now grad school was way worse. I had a scholarship but ended up selling a good part of my belongings including around a hundred guns.


5 posted on 04/01/2014 7:31:21 PM PDT by yarddog (Romans 8: verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded".)
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To: SampleMan
The millennials are being ripped off by Big College. It's a fact. You and I knew a lot of people who worked their way through college. I knew people who worked part time at MacDonalds and had enough to pay tuition, though they lived with roommates.

It is simply not possible now to work one's way through college, and all the "I walked to school uphill both ways" stories won't change that. But I don't blame the young people, I blame the professors and administrators of the tax-supported institutions that rip these young people off.

6 posted on 04/01/2014 7:31:27 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: SeekAndFind

If I may steal a page from the Kenyan’s playbook, they could dump the “smart” phone and cable TV. Maybe miss a view “spring break” trips and parties and I think it can still be done. I worked my way to a college degree and never worked a “minimum wage” job doing it.


7 posted on 04/01/2014 7:33:18 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Happy Brain Injury Awareness Month!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

....also ROTC scholarships, simultaneous enrollment in the National Guard, and, one that I did not know about until too late and regard as the coolest one of all, the “degree completion program”.


8 posted on 04/01/2014 7:35:20 PM PDT by redlegplanner ( No Representation without Taxation)
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To: SeekAndFind

Funny, I’m working my way through college right now. My company reimburses my tuition.


9 posted on 04/01/2014 7:35:48 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: SeekAndFind
Cost Of College Degree In U.S. Has Increased 1,120 Percent In 30 Years

This can be directly attributable to shoveling student loans to people who were totally unqualified to go to college.

The low-information types borrowed whatever the college said they needed. Since the money came so easily, colleges could jack up rates and students would just borrow more.

Think of the tens of thousands of Liberal college professors teaching meaningless courses whose paychecks came from those exploited students.

The college tuition bubble must burst. When it does, only people who are qualified to go to college will go, and they won't be paying for professors teaching meaningless courses.

It's going to be sweet to see professors of vagina dialogue studies forced to find real jobs.

10 posted on 04/01/2014 7:35:50 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("A man who damns money obtained it dishonorably; a man who respects it has earned it." --Ayn Rand)
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To: doc1019

Big part of the problem is that tuition has been inflated to suck up every available federal dollar. I also drove cab, worked a day job and earned my MBA through night school at a well respected brick and mortar state university. Tuition was $135 per credit hour then. Not cheap by the standards of the 1980s, but do the math and try to find anything comparable today.


11 posted on 04/01/2014 7:37:16 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: taxcontrol
Funny, I’m working my way through college right now. My company reimburses my tuition.

It's not fair to stupid students that you aren't stupid and can get a job that reimburses you for your tuition costs.

12 posted on 04/01/2014 7:38:20 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("A man who damns money obtained it dishonorably; a man who respects it has earned it." --Ayn Rand)
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To: SeekAndFind

I worked PT in a warehouse and as a bread baker in a bakery. I lived in a slum and got day old bread. It sucked but I managed.


13 posted on 04/01/2014 7:39:32 PM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: SeekAndFind
The month after my husband and I got married he handed me a coupon book. It was the school loan he had to pay off.
About a month later our California income tax return was garnished for another school loan he had forgotten about.

He became a mechanical engineer. We went to Saudi Arabia and made a PILE of money. His profession paid off in SPADES.
It just took a few years to pay off his school debts. And yes, he also worked while he went to school.

One year he worked at and lived at a veterinarians hospital and took care of the sick animals at night and on the weekends.
There was also a HUGE tom cat named OMAR who ruled the place sitting placidly on the counter. NO ONE messed with Omar. Every once in a while some dog would go after him and Omar would SWIPE the dog with a mighty THWACK. Then the vet had to sew up the dog.

True story: There was this one HUGE sweet Doberman named "Roger" who was there recuperating. My husband was to give him his PILL at a prescribed time. Well, Roger wouldn't cooperate and wrestled with my husband, a big, strong guy ... for 10 minutes.
Finally, my husband held out the pill and said: "Come on Roger, take your pill. Roger immediately lapped up the pill and swallowed it. He had just WANTED TO PLAY a bit. :o)

14 posted on 04/01/2014 7:40:53 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: SampleMan

A young, smart college person could make a lot than minimum wage at 40 hours a week waiting tables in a nice or concept restaurant part time.


15 posted on 04/01/2014 7:42:01 PM PDT by Fledermaus (I support Joe Carr in the TN GOP Primary against Lamar!)
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To: SeekAndFind

The only college course anyone should spend tens of thousands on is HOW TO SPEAK A FOREIGN LANGUAGE.

Graduates then may have a chance a to get a job.

At Taco Bell.


16 posted on 04/01/2014 7:42:11 PM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: Mamzelle

In state at the local community state college is about $4000 per year, straight tuition. With books let’s call it $5000.

If a person makes $10/hr, and works full time in the summer, they can pay for that, live with a roomate, and eat.

It ain’t Ivy League, and it ain’t a sweet dorm, but its a degree.


17 posted on 04/01/2014 7:47:25 PM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: SampleMan

The law of supply and demand, especially for someone with no experience and out of high school, they would be lucky to even get a job in the first place, much less just minimum wage. Heck, starting out myself, many decades ago, all I was getting was minimum wage (can you believe that was $1.25/hr).

I worked at a gas station, and a theater and a grocery store ... various times starting off, so I know how it is.

I’m trying to help a relative get a job right now and they basically can’t get one (over a period of a year), and if you do manage to ge to one, it’s definitely no more than minimum wage.

Another factor is that employers do NOT want to accommodate any kind of school schedule. The employer wants you to work WHENEVER they determine they need you, and they do NOT want to hear about this time off or that day off. You try that with employers and you’re fired and they get someone else!

And ... right now ... as a real old fogey ... if I were to get some kind of job, all I would be getting is minimum wage, because of my limitations. They’re different than the limitations that youngsters have, but they’re there.

You have to keep in mind that we’re talking “averages” here - in other words the BULK of the population group we’re talking about and not a 1% or 2% or 3% that may be able to “score big” and get an accommodating employer and even one that will pay more than minimum wage - all while taking classes all mixed in through the day and week.

I remember my college days and it was difficult enough even “finding a job” at all (and I definitely wanted one). And then if you got one - well, good luck even getting enough hours.

What you’re saying will work for a very few - but I’ll guarantee you it won’t work for the bulk of that group.

And that’s just the way it is. You better have all that money up front, or you better get it from your parents or you better get it from some other source. Any work you do is going to be minimum wage and you’re not going to get all the hours you need.


18 posted on 04/01/2014 7:47:55 PM PDT by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: SeekAndFind

College would be far cheaper if student lomas were a little harder to get.


19 posted on 04/01/2014 7:53:09 PM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: SeekAndFind
a course that's worth three credit hours is a course that meets for three hours each week during the semester. If the semester is 15 weeks long, that adds up to 45 total hours of a student's time.

So What? That 45 hours out of 15 weeks is 1.785% of the possible 2,520 hours.

If you took 5 classes you'd spend 8.928% of that time in class. Isn't going to class why you decided on college?

Add a full 8 hours a day sleeping and you end up with an average of 13.7 hours of free time each day in a 15 week period.

Sounds like more push for government to pay for everything.

20 posted on 04/01/2014 7:53:36 PM PDT by Fledermaus (I support Joe Carr in the TN GOP Primary against Lamar!)
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To: Ramius

Heh... Lomas = loans


21 posted on 04/01/2014 7:53:42 PM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: SampleMan

I think you just agreed with me. Four year universities are not available to those without loans, family money, etc. They *used* to be available.


22 posted on 04/01/2014 7:55:21 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: SeekAndFind

My DIL took the courses she could afford and sat out asemester when things were tight. She was going to sit out another semester but I found out and I gave her the downpayment on her tuition and she was able to pay it off through the semester.


23 posted on 04/01/2014 7:55:39 PM PDT by tiki
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To: SampleMan

The trouble is that in a college town there are 20000 kids competing for the same few score jobs, so employers don’t have to pay much. Add in the fact that most of the students have classes during the day and are looking for jobs that operate on weekends and evenings, and the competition gets even stiffer.

My extremely hard-working, focused daughter tried to work her way through school. Despite extensive and excellent experience in a very difficult work area, plus glowing recommendations from everyone she had ever worked for, she couldn’t find a job in her college town. She ended up taking care of horses for $6 an hour. It was physically exhausting work in all weather with occasional injuries thrown in for good measure. She is very tough, resolute, and brave and she knew quite well what she was doing, but it still beat her to death. It wasn’t until her senior year that she finally got a retail job. Even then, she was dead on her feet. My hat’s off to that tough cookie for working and studying as hard as she did.

The problem is that if you are working full time, you may not be able to get the required courses in at the right time to graduate in four years. Graduating in five years is becoming more and more the norm. But in the fifth year the usual grants and scholarships go away. A student may find herself forced to face a choice between quitting without a degree or taking on (more) debt in order to finish.


24 posted on 04/01/2014 7:55:49 PM PDT by ottbmare (the OTTB mare, now a proud Marine Mom)
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To: Vigilanteman

My first year at the Univ of Ark in 1977-78 cost $470 in tuition. That covered all hours you could take. I took 16 my first semester and 18 hours the next.

Room and board in the dorm wasn’t bad. All you could eat cafeteria that was the best on campus. It was really good.


25 posted on 04/01/2014 7:57:16 PM PDT by Fledermaus (I support Joe Carr in the TN GOP Primary against Lamar!)
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To: taxcontrol
I’m working my way through college right now. My company reimburses my tuition.

That must be lovely. Of course, you got a job in the first place. That's an accomplishment in itself for a young person today.

26 posted on 04/01/2014 7:58:12 PM PDT by ottbmare (the OTTB mare, now a proud Marine Mom)
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To: SeekAndFind

How about go to community college and live at home, and then transfer to a 4 year college near your home.

In San Jose, that would be under $25k total. I’m assuming 3 years at San Jose State.


27 posted on 04/01/2014 7:59:33 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: SampleMan
I worked four different jobs, often weekly, putting myself through college (the first time) between 1982 - 1985. Since I was paying for it myself (minimal student loans, no help from parents) I was highly motivated to succeed as quick as possible.

I sold women's shoes in a local mall shoestore on weekends; I worked for Sears running a call center in Melrose Park Monday - Friday from 3pm - 9pm, I installed TV and communications antenna's and pre-wired new homes as they were being built for phone, cable, satellite, alarm and central vacuum systems with a friend as our own business.

I graduated in three years and had $7,500 in debt which I paid off my first year out of college. In addition to the full-time job I found upon graduation, I continued with the tv, communications, satellite, pre-wiring homes and installing alarms and central vacuum' systems business with my friend for several more years to keep making extra money. I'm very proud of the fact that I made my own way and did it on my own. That's something no one can ever take away from me.

I bought my first home at 23 years of age as a "fixer upper" and moved into it with my bride the same year. By the time we sold it 5 years later, it was the nicest house on the block, rehabbed from the inside out using our own labor and our own money. We made a very nice profit on the home when we sold it and moved into our current home with the profits.

The desire to succeed combined with hard work is a powerful motivator. Something which today's "millenials" lack. They want everything handed to them, and that's not the way the world works.

28 posted on 04/01/2014 8:09:15 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: taxcontrol
Funny, I’m working my way through college right now. My company reimburses my tuition.

Excellent! Good for you. That's a benefit that's becoming more and more rare, fantastic that you're takng advantage of it. Best of luck to you!

29 posted on 04/01/2014 8:11:22 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: SampleMan

My company paid for my 2nd degree.


30 posted on 04/01/2014 8:12:01 PM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: SeekAndFind

Modern students have to work as much as 6x longer to pay for college than 30 years ago
31 posted on 04/01/2014 8:12:35 PM PDT by Theoria (End Socialism : No more GOP and Dem candidates)
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To: Fledermaus
You need to check your arithmetic.

A decent course is thought generally to require at least two hours of study time for each credit hour, so a three-hour course will take up nine to twelve hours of time each week--three hours in the classroom and another six to nine hours outside of it, not including research or exam time. A full-time course load sufficient to qualify for any student aid (grants, scholarships, work-study programs, or loans) is five courses, so you're looking at 45-60 hours per week devoted to classwork and studying. The load is going to be heavier if you're taking science courses and have to put in time in the lab, write papers, etc. Much depends on the intellectual standard of the institution.

Anyway, a full-time student is doing a full-time job of studying if he is in a serious degree area like science or engineering. He'll spend time working and time commuting to classes and job, and devote a certain amount of time to the necessities of life--shopping, cooking, laundry, whatever. But it doesn't leave a huge amount of time for lying around playing games.

32 posted on 04/01/2014 8:12:48 PM PDT by ottbmare (the OTTB mare, now a proud Marine Mom)
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To: Mamzelle

My coworkers went to Harvard for free.
One of my Sunday School kids joined ROTC and they paid for almost all of his degree


33 posted on 04/01/2014 8:14:16 PM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: SeekAndFind
Higher education is in a death spiral.

It's inexorable.

The fewer kids that are willing to pay off those loans, often upwards of $100k, the more expensive the education for the remaining suckers.

Soon NOBODY will pay $200k or more for a 4year degree in stupid from the average State University. Well, except for the genuinely stupid.

34 posted on 04/01/2014 8:16:50 PM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: Vigilanteman
Tuition was $135 per credit hour then. Not cheap by the standards of the 1980s, but do the math and try to find anything comparable today.

I wish I had the option of pursuing my Masters in the 1980's. I graduated college (first time) in 1985, and had to find work in a hurry due to parents divorcing and my needing a place to live as a result. Ended up buying a house and putting off pursuing my Masters in Computer Science.

Finally went back in .... 2004 (19 years later) to complete my masters degree. By then I was on my second house and had two grade-school aged kids and a wife.

Oh and the cost: $36,000 out of pocket to complete my Masters Degree. My "first choice" of programs to go through was $72,000 which was well out of my price range... that would've been the Notre Dame Mendoza School of Business.

35 posted on 04/01/2014 8:18:21 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: Mariner
Plus, the true market value of most state educations is minimal.

I have 2 dozen people working for me now in the tech business, maybe more, who are well over $100k/yr.

None with a college degree. Some did not graduate High School but picked up their GED later.

More than 10 are over $200k.

36 posted on 04/01/2014 8:21:44 PM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: SeekAndFind

wgu.edu


37 posted on 04/01/2014 8:23:32 PM PDT by SeaHawkFan
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To: usconservative

Wrong. When I went to Tulane in the late 70s it was 5K a year and the job market was wide open. I earned 700 a week painting houses. Now Tulane is 40k a year and with illegals painting houses is now minimum wage job. Blaming the younger generation has been a weak argument since Socrates.


38 posted on 04/01/2014 8:24:10 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: ottbmare

No, I did the math based on the BS spewed in the article as in the quote I copied. I didn’t bother with the variables.

I had a full time job, was in university band and held down 16-18 hours a semester for my first two years. And did some partying! lol

But as you pointed out there are so many variables this idiot author can’t even fathom them enough before just whining.


39 posted on 04/01/2014 8:26:01 PM PDT by Fledermaus (I support Joe Carr in the TN GOP Primary against Lamar!)
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To: Blackirish
Blaming the younger generation has been a weak argument since Socrates.

Well, you don't live where I do, and you don't see what I see. I've been a hiring manager the last 18+ years of my career and I can tell you factually that the "kids" coming out of college want the world with little work. They expect to get the high paying gig with zero experience (they think they learned it all in College ya know) and whine when they don't get it.

I'm in the Shitcago area --- that's my experience.

40 posted on 04/01/2014 8:28:06 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: SampleMan

Here are a couple of solutions:

First, start your higher education at a community college—tutition is often one-third that of state-run, four-year schools and a fraction of private institutions. Believe it or not, you can actually work your way through a community college, as long as you don’t also need a luxury apartment, new car and designer wardrobe.

Option #2: ROTC scholarship. Tuition and books are covered by Uncle Sam, in return for your service as a military officer after college. Most schools also throw in a room and board scholarship for students enrolled on a ROTC scholarship and there’s a modest living stipend, too.

Option #3. Enlist in the military after high school. You get a place to live, a food allowance, and a full-time salary along with tuition assistance (up to $4500 a year). Start your college with TA, then finish up after your enlistment on the GI Bill.


41 posted on 04/01/2014 8:32:32 PM PDT by ExNewsExSpook
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To: SeekAndFind

I waited tables during college.

Sometimes I’d go class, work a lunch shift, go to class, work the dinner shift. Got free food out of the deal, as well.


42 posted on 04/01/2014 8:35:19 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: doc1019

Please read the article.


43 posted on 04/01/2014 8:35:20 PM PDT by Marie (When are they going to take back Obama's peace prize?)
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To: usconservative

Funny I’m a hiring manager in Chicago also. The job market here is rotten. We offered a traning session for 12 people for a 14 dollar an hour job. They told there family and friends. ..over a 100 poor unemployed folks showed up.


44 posted on 04/01/2014 8:37:39 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: SampleMan
My youngest worked as a server for many days on end..and helped her way thru college.

FWIW-

45 posted on 04/01/2014 8:37:47 PM PDT by Osage Orange (I have strong feelings about gun control. If there's a gun around, I want to be controlling it.)
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To: Marie

You are assuming I didn’t?


46 posted on 04/01/2014 8:40:08 PM PDT by doc1019
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To: usconservative

Another tidbit. I used to own a frame shop on Lincoln and Montana during the Reagan years...you may have seen it. I had a help wanted sign out as did the bar,the coffee shop and the restaurant across the street. I used to marvel that I could throw a rock and hit a help wanted sign. Now you can walk the whole 20 miles of Lincoln Ave and the only help wanted sign.
you’ll see is the minimum wage night shift at Dunkin Donuts.


47 posted on 04/01/2014 8:49:03 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: Mamzelle

The sick little secret of it all is that jobs on campus go to ‘certain’ kids first. It’s all rigged, so thankful my kids are done with the zoo.

I pity the kids heading there now. The amount of money paid to administrators is obscene. The waste the goes into assorted crap, is obscene.


48 posted on 04/01/2014 8:52:34 PM PDT by AllAmericanGirl44
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To: ExNewsExSpook
First, start your higher education at a community college—tutition is often one-third that of state-run, four-year schools and a fraction of private institutions. Believe it or not, you can actually work your way through a community college, as long as you don’t also need a luxury apartment, new car and designer wardrobe.

That's the advice I give the many young people I know, as well. If they're after a four-year degree, they can go to the community college for two years, live at home with Mom and Dad, and then transfer to State U. It's where you go to graduate school that makes the real difference.

As far as the rest of your advice: it's good for some people, but not everybody has the ability to serve in the military. Some young women can deal with it, but many are not physically suited to boot camp.

49 posted on 04/01/2014 9:01:19 PM PDT by ottbmare (the OTTB mare, now a proud Marine Mom)
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To: Blackirish
Funny I’m a hiring manager in Chicago also. The job market here is rotten.

NO kidding? I'll be darned. Yep, the job market here is absolutely pathetic.

Can't say who I work for (you'd know the company name if I said it) but even though I'm relatively secure in my current position, I've been looking for something else for over a year. Positions such as mine don't come along very often, but when they do there's well over 200-300 people applying for it. Hard to compete with those odds.

50 posted on 04/01/2014 9:07:13 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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