Worldly Advice for The Class of 2009

Posted in Columns, This Generation by 311zine on 06/13/2009

By Deon Price

Congratulations class of 2009! You have just completed the first stage in your career endeavors. That’s right! I said,  your career. I know that’s probably the last thing on your minds right now. At eighteen your priorities are probably upgrading your cell phone or getting a vehicle. Those of you with a bit more ambition may be thinking of finding a job or going to college. I encourage you to brace yourself for you are about to enter an extremely challenging adult reality. What was once an environment filled with plenty of opportunities regardless of your choice of direction be it the job market, military or advanced education, we are seeing unprecedented obstacles in every career path. You will need skill, talent, patience and endurance to overcome these obstacles.

The economy has tremendously affected the job market for the 2009 high school graduates. Even entry level front line jobs are being eliminated. I recently pulled up to a drive through at a local McDonalds. A very pleasant female voice greeted me through the speakers, “Welcome, to McDonalds may I help” After I ordered a happy meal for my baby boy and a number 6 for myself, I rolled forward to the window- it was a 30 something male who completed the transaction. I learned that the voice that I heard was a live person in an Arkansas call center greeting customers in California. I was blown away! Instead of hiring a local teen fresh out of high school, McDonalds is outsourcing its front-line jobs to a state where labor is obviously cheaper.

More applicants are willing to man-up and toe the line by enlisting in one of our Armed forces not necessarily for patriotic reasons but for gainful employment. Military recruiters have raised the bar on their requirements, including expecting a higher score on the ASVAB test. As recently as a year ago, recruiting was rough. They were accepting any able bodied individual with a high school diploma and a pulse.

Due to state budget cuts that may eliminate Pell Grants, there will be 200,000 students that will not have the opportunity to attend college. California State university will reduced the number of incoming freshman by 10 thousand students. This will be the first time in nearly 20 years that the California State University has been forced to reduce its enrollment.

If your first option is not immediately available to you, whether it’s the job you want or the college you applied to, do not get discouraged. Don’t let that “Thanks! But no thanks!” letter kill your spirit. You simply go with option number two which may be trade school or community college. I also encourage you to be an active participant in the direction of your life. Explore different opportunities to find your most prevalent skill set. We are in very critical times that require very careful and diligent decisions. Explore every avenue in order to find your niche, your passion or your true life’s work. You may have to leave your comfort zone and take the road less traveled.

Finally, one of the best skills you can develop that will help you succeed is one that you won’t find in any high school or college class schedule: Interpersonal Skills. The more you are able to maintain and retain personal and professional relationships, the more apt you will be at improving your quality of life. Congratulations and good luck, Class of 2009.

Deon Price is a youth advocate and freelance writer who lives in Suisun City. He can be reached at Deon.Price@comcast.net or www.youtube.com/PriceEdutainment


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