The class of 1980 is having a tough time finding jobs. Therefore, they have to lower their sights on what kind of positions they will accept. This is not only a burden on them but also on their parents who like to brag about what their children are doing.
I realized this when I attended a commencement exercise and overhead a group of parents discussing their children's plans now that they were graduating from college.
"What is your son going to do?" one of the mothers asked.
"He's getting a degree in economics, so he'll be driving a taxicab. We think he's very fortunate to get a position as a taxi driver right out of school."
"You must have pull."
"Well, his father did know a man who owned three taxis. At first my son said he wanted to get a taxi job on his own, but after pounding the pavements for a few months he realized it isn't what you know but whom you know in the taxi business that counts."
"What is you daughter Gertrude going to do?"
"She is getting a master's in library science and has already been offered a position as a waitress at Howard Johnson's. But she's holding out for a salegirl's position at J.C. Penney. We warned her not to get her hopes up as we heard J.C. Penney was only hiring new sales personnel with Ph.Ds."
"My son Harry was most fortunate. In his senior year in law school he was recruited for an excellent position."
"With a private law firm?"
"No, with the post office as a mail sorter in their man branch office in Elkhart, Ind."
"You must be very proud of him."
"It was worth the seven years of sacrfice. Isn't your daugther getting a degree in fine arts?"
"Yes. She made Phi Beta Kappa."
"What does she intend to do with it?"
"She's had several marvelous opportunities, but the one that interests her the most is selling classified advertisements by telephoning for our local newspaper. The best part of the job, besides the security, is that she works on commission and in a good week can make $150."
"I'd like her to meet my son. He majored in biology and will be working for a landscrape contractor mulching flower beds."
"She's been going steady with a boy in her graduating class who has a degree in business administration and they hope to get married in the fall, if he passes his test to be an airline steward."
"What is your son going to do, Sam, now that he has a civil engineering degree?"
"He lucked out. He was pumping gas at a Texaco station last summer, and they were so impressed with him they offered to take him on full-time when he finished his education. You should see him change a tire."
"We all seem to be pretty fortunate with our children," one of the mothers said. "We have a neighbor who graduated summa cum laude from Havard in public administration and she refuses to take any job that has been offered to her."
"What has she been offered?"
"The state of New Jersey offered a toll booth on the Garden State Parkway, but she turned it down. She claims that with her educational background she should at least be a metermaid in Trenton."
"Some kids have crazy ideas of what it takes to start out these days."
"Am I correct, Edward, that your boy is getting his doctorate in nuclear physics?"
"Yes, and thank goodness they're still looking for people in his field. He's going to be working on top-secret atomic bomb projects."
"Apparently, the U.S. government still needs physicists."
"He wasn't hired by the U.S. He was hired by Pakistan."