In Time of Economic Crisis, Homelessness Still Accepting Résumés


As graduation looms, seniors prepare resumes in the hopes of finding work, but the job market dwindles still. (Photo Illustration Craig Calefate/The Observer)

Published: February 12, 2009

The U.S. economy is currently having a total and complete meltdown, affecting global markets, inciting massive job losses and plunging the world into a state of uncertainty and despair.

And I graduate in May.

I’m freaking out a little bit. I know a lot of you think that you share my pain, but you have to understand; my pain is so much more painful than your pain. I don’t want to be jobless, homeless, turning tricks on the corner for a 10-dollar bill and a few minutes’ validation that I am a human being.

This is the way that life works: we are born, we get potty-trained, we get money from our parents for lunch and maybe some lip gloss and then BAM!—college graduation, when we face the unsavory prospect of growing up, moving out and becoming financially independent adults. And at no time has that prospect been more unsavory than now, when all American states, counties and cities are reporting record-high unemployment rates.

In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a newspaper without an economy-related headline or a news broadcast that doesn’t lead with more details about the latest bailout failure. Even worse, there’s nowhere to run. For those of you thinking about defecting, the EU’s statistical agency recently said that the jobless rate in European countries climbed to 8 percent in December—the highest in over two and a half years.

In my opinion, there are only five things a person can do when they’ve graduated, and it doesn’t look like a steady job is on the horizon:

1. Go to grad school.

  • Put off the deadline for a few more years. Sure, you’ll rack up hundreds of thousands more dollars in loans, but at least you can defer your undergrad loan payments and be eligible for a university health insurance plan. I would do this myself, but I no smart eenuff tu rite a big theesis.

2. Beg your parents for help.

  • Listen, it’s all their fault that you’re in this mess in the first place. If they hadn’t had that last glass of wine at their rented cabin in the Wyoming Mountains during their first winter together as a married couple, you wouldn’t even exist. And let’s face it: that Hallmark card you bought for Mothers’ Day back in 1998 with your hard-earned allowance was both adorable and extravagant. They owe it to you, don’t they?

3. Learn a mechanical skill.

  • I dropped a spoon into that little space between my stove and my counter this morning, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to get it back out. If you were a plumber, you’d have a plunger with a long handle that could reach back there and get at it. People who don’t have jobs invariably turn to alcohol and drugs, and sometimes they’ll drink too much or take too many pills to quiet their terrible angst but not enough to really finish the job. Then, they’ll vomit a lot. Nothing says clogged toilets like vomit and tears. Plumber = probably the most stable job one can hope to find.

4.Turn tricks on the corner.

  • Not very glamorous or sanitary, but it totally helps give my low self-esteem a boost. Just don’t look for sexual gratification. Johns are selfish.

5. Write articles for the Fordham Observer and hope that someone will read them and hire you.

  • Please God, I don’t want to be poor.

There you have it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have choices. But in all seriousness, it will be really hard to find a job after graduation, and we may have to get creative. Recessions bring out a lot of innovation, a lot of new niches to fill. According to a recent CBS article, many states’ unemployment offices are hiring many more workers to help file claims. We should stay open and see what sort of careers we can piece together.

For example, I am looking at the upside of living on the street for a few years: saving money and learning to spit at passersby with deadly accuracy. I call the sidewalk on Madison between 54th and 55th. Plan accordingly. You’re getting mud on my floor.