You were buoyant, body gliding beneath that swishing graduation robe, your mind gravitationally attuned to that podium where you would exchange handshakes for a leather-bound college diploma; readied for that moment of exuberant relief where you’d fling that tasseled square hat into the blue, afternoon sky…
Ahh, you've graduated.
I applaud you, having slogged your way through those years of tenure-obsessed, self-aggrandizing professors and hordes of shouting, temperamental, hash-tagging activists. In the weeks since graduating, you have ventured into the cataclysm of this American economy, hoping you’re only one Linkedin connection away from Silicon Valley billions, one Follower away from Twitter stardom, while some Spokesperson Of Your Generation tweet’s trite #Gradadvice about finding your American Dream Career…
Fuck The American Dream.
Fuck A Career.
Here, in no significant order, are my observations/lessons/guidelines for resisting the stripping, scorching and sanitization of your soul...
1.) You Are To Be Ruled
From an early age, you have been programmed and manufactured by The American Public Education System to be an Obedient Worker, Consumer, Voter, Tax Payer and Patriot. You’re conditioned for Authoritarian Subservience, an unquestioning adherence to those of supposed Positions of Power, their symbols and their doctrines: Teachers/Professors, Coaches, Principles, Doctors, Scientists, Police, Politicians and as you age, Bosses, CEOs, Leaders…
This is a monstrosity, a spectacular affliction that impairs all those delusional, YOLO refrains of Follow Your Passion! Never Give Up On Your Dreams! The Class of 2016 is straining with an average debt of $37,000. Of course, this will bloat as one pursues the new golden achievement of the advanced degree or, yes, The-Pathway-To-The-Permanent-Vacation-Home-On-Cape-Cod MBA.
A Google search will reveal a glut of lachrymose profiles detailing the mental, physical and humiliating effects of young graduates deported to their Middle American parent’s homes unable to find a suitable career as The Student Loan Conglomerates demand repayment.
Of course, these stories are another deplorable, rapacious example of Capitalism, shouts the scathing, scolding fist from the Bernie Sander’s devotees.
But Politicians, those of the Authoritarian class you’re instilled to defer, neglected to disclose that due to their intervening in the Higher Education System, by subsidizing your loans, they have incentivized colleges and universities to hike hike hike prices… Oh, same with text books publishers.
This is an another reason to be wary of any and all those in The Parasitical Political Class.
3.) Career? Job?
This time of year, Forbes, The New York Times and other failing Institutions of Respectable News spew fawning articles about Global-Corporatist-Bank and Technology Firms vying for talent, while along the California coast, Start-Ups binging on venture capitalist monies, are pursing the best and brightest graduates… Of course, if you're not of Ivy Lineage—and its warren of privileged Technology Institutions—you, of State U genetics, are predestined to scavenging the monster.com listings of insurance sales, car rental management schemes and Become A Real Estate Agent! seminars.
In local newspapers, there will be interviews with dispirited business-owningTradesman decrying the lack of qualified candidates for their HVAC openings… Yeah know, a Job. A job that lacks benefits such as micro-brew lunch hours, chef-inspired catering and a GoogleBus-lite to transport workers from their $10,000 a month apartments in the Old City district… A Job is considered derogatory, a useless surplus to Humanity’s vocational evolution. Who wants to be some schmuck dedicated to an ignominious existence of grime and grease, toting about a dented metallic lunchpail? Yes, that’s right, a goddamn miserable, macro-brew-bloated character from Roseanne… Because generations of American youth have been bamboozled by the blathering political class and their delusional sycophants in academia to accept any and all available college loan offers to become Careerists of The World, America’s infrastructure of pipes, motors and floorboards decay and leak, with only a limited, aging supply of wily carpenters and mechanics able to rescue dumbfounded accountants and stock brokers.
Don’t worry, our saviors in Silicon Valley and Washington DC will Change everything, right? Because what America needs is another Political Science Graduate Who Minored In Economics And Now Venture Capital’ing Smartphone App’s…
4.) Marriage, Mortgages and Babies! (MM&Bs)
In your early/mid-twenties, to defy the MM&Bs, is no longer a traumatic, stigmatizing plight. Everyone, from your Auntie to Grandmama solemnly recites some Facebook anecdote about this new, harsh American landscape, Yes I saw your cousin Philomena, remember Uncle George? We visited him once in Idaho? We stopped at that strangely Satanic airport in Denver? Colorado? Remember? Well, she was severanced at Bank of America, she had just gotten— Yes, your Career, that deserved honor of your transition from student to adult, has become so elusive for most, that everyone expects you to delay the inevitable Marriage, Mortgage and Babies!
For most, MM&Bs are often dutiful drudgery, tokens of comforting achievement. For others, MM&Bs are signifiers of their consumerist, socioeconomic strata.
And yes, desperate and precarious finances, along with a possible subconscious foreboding of doom and gloom for the world and universe, may guide you into the arms of your Love, but you’re young, Life is unpredictable and increasingly absurdist, so stay detached and evolve as a person into your 30s.
Unless, they have supreme New England Brahmin genetics, then, you know, marry for the money, because Boston is beautiful…
5.) Once You’ve Become MM&Bized, You’re simply a Slave To The Wage
Remember all those collegehood fantasies of having a life and career devoted to some sort of soul-nourishing pursuit, something of strenuous intellectual rigor, a position that for eight to ten hours of day wasn’t being hunched at your desk in the cubicle catacombs of Corporate America? Well, now, you exist to stave off foreclosure, divorce, child-support payments and repossession of your favorite German automobile.
To remain employable, to simply survive, in an age of permanent underemployment, unemployment, downsizing, off-shoring and automation to sustain voracious Corporatist profiteering, you will be forever dutiful, compliant and observant to all the Policy and Procedures as stated in The Company Handbook, just like one of those smiling Businessperson Collaborating With Multi-Ethnic Colleagues Around A Table in some stock-photo.
6.) The City
The epochal thrill of graduation rushes some into the illusory glamor of The City, whether it be some global megalopolis or regional, cultural capital.
Restless, you wish escape, divesting yourself of those childhood bedroom blankets, The Parentals, neighbors and communities of perceived bigotry and conservative isolation, envisioning the cluttered streets and high rent as some ascendent enlightenment. In seeking diversity, inclusion, or whatever else Academics prattle on about, you will ultimately find yourself in some nano-brewery with highly-educated friends of Asian, African, Middle-Eastern, American and European descent all favoriting and retweeting the same films, music, beers, causes, all blandly objective, all deadeningly homogenous.
No matter where you go to find your authentic self, Humans are the same. So, fuck The City and its conspiring, self-obsessed-corporate-careerists and their phoney intellectual class counterparts of sneering cosmopolitan worldliness. Seek small communities, maybe a village. Not gentrified, marketable neighborhoods that have been curated by glitzy Range Rover driving Realtors. Find an area where people have actual lives, not ones that are culturally relevant lifestyles, like, oh, Analyst, Broker, Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Politician, Federal Reserve Banker.
Remember, The Cities were once of the poor, rich and middle classes. All of them mingling and prideful; wary, but welcoming of each other. Now, these socio-economic strata are of increasing combustibility. And as Leaders of the Corporatist class and their henchman of the Political Class progressively, selfishly, deem The Cities as their own paradisiacal boroughs… Well, the shit is gonna go down.
Right now, Class of 2016, If you’re able to latch onto a career or job, a steady income, eking out an existence, somehow, somehow, Save Your Money. Pay-off as much debt as you possibly can. Because, when no bank owns you, no boss will either. Then, you will be Free.