Hot Off the Presses: Record Number of Graduates Expected to Move Home in 2008
NEW YORK, NY, April 1, 2008—According to a report released last week by Monster.com, an unprecedented 95% of this year’s graduates are expected to move home after commencement. This marks a 35% increase from a prior survey conducted in 2005.
Valerie DuBois, a sociology professor at UC-Berkeley and author of Generation X: Rebels without a Cause, attributes this startling trend to “rampant narcissism” and a "brazen refusal" among today’s graduates to “pay their dues.”
“There was a time in American history when the Horatio Algiers, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps paradigm was the ultimate articulation of the American Dream,” DuBois said. “Now, kids want to be Mark Zuckerberg.”
Daniel Wilson, a researcher at the Brookings Institute, does not place the onus for this trend on the graduates, but rather on a variety of economic factors that have created a “hiring freeze” across many major industries. “Wall St. is in free fall, and it’s having a trickle down effect to a lot of companies who just can’t afford to take on new people that they have to invest time and resources in to train,” Wilson explained. “HR departments would rather bide their time and scrape by with what they’ve got.”
In the meantime, parents are bracing themselves for an uncertain future with their overgrown children. Previously, it has taken graduates an average of 3-4 months to find a job, but many fear that the time line will stretch on indefinitely.
Mary O’Connor’s son Jake will graduate in May from Rice University. So far, he has received eight rejection letters from companies and has decided to “just go home for a bit and take some time to figure things out.”
“I love him very much, but sometimes I have nightmares that he’s going to still be down in the basement watching TV when he’s 35,” Mary said.
Meanwhile, students who managed to secure employment before graduation are experiencing a bizarre backlash from their contemporaries, and some are feeling that their early success has set them apart from the crowd in a negative way.
“People were spreading all these rumors about my grandfather being CEO of Morgan Stanley,” said Jacob Adler, a senior at the University of Connecticut. “My grandfather is dead, and before that he fixed typewriters.”
Rachel Welch, another senior at UCONN, feels like her job offer at a consulting firm in Manhattan has alienated her from her classmates. “I was so excited about going to New York because I always hear about how there are so many people my age in the city, but now it just seems kind of lonely,” she said. “To be honest, I think the parties are gonna be better back in Waterbury.