College education: Not quite the key to success

Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.

Putting issues of student abilities aside, the growing disconnect between labor market realities and the propaganda of higher-education apologists is causing more and more people to graduate and take menial jobs or no job at all. This is even true at the doctoral and professional level—there are 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees.

That’s from the Chronicle of Higher Education, via Ben Casnocha, who notes:

For hundreds of thousands of Americans, spending four years and untold amounts of money (and debt?) gets you a job as a waiter, parking lot attendant, or janitor. Yet everyone …[keeps] pushing a college education as the way to secure one’s economic future. That is a view that should be heavily qualified.

I’m sure many of those waitresses and janitors are happy to do that work to pay the bills, freeing up the rest of their time for more intellectual pursuits. I bet they think of themselves as successful, even though the rest of society might not deem them so. Or at least I REALLY hope they do.