Good.is has an article about the Millenial generation (that’s me and my friends) and how we are doomed to be servers. We are the smartest servers in the world, waiting tables with college degrees. The article ends with a heart-warming idea of improving the working conditions for these smart servers by increasing their wages. I think this is a horrible idea that just promotes the idea that it is okay for students to graduate with a degree in philosophy to become a barista.
Everyone knows you can become a barista, server, bus boy, bar-back, grocer, or [insert minimum wage job here] without a college degree. Improving the working conditions will not only making going out for a meal more expensive, but it will help those over-qualified employees stay where they are simply because the pay is good. That creates a scenario where Mrs. Shakespeare who got a degree in play-writing from SCAD never develops into a play-write. Instead, Mrs. Shakespeare who is perfectly okay at making a cappuccino ends up being perfectly okay with continuing as a barista because the pay is perfectly okay.
I am not saying that those brave souls who commit to a life in the service industry deserve to lead miserable lives in a world of poverty. As a former member of the service industry work force I have first-hand experience busting-my-behind for an underwhelming paycheck. It was exactly the experience of getting an underwhelming paycheck in an underwhelming work environment, with a degree sitting in my back pocket that really pushed me to develop myself further. I’ve been a bus boy, food runner, server, and most recently a grocer. During my time managing grocery inventory I thought to myself “did I really go to college to sort chips and crackers on a shelf?” Of course not! I realized if the seven-year old Ben could see the 24 year-old Ben he would say “What the hell man!?”
If you want college grads to get a paycheck that reflects their intellectual potential you should use their intellectual potential. The education system does not do a great job help students find jobs after graduation. I whole-heartly believe that our generation cannot rely on someone to employ us. So, in this economic climate, we should be taught how we can employ ourselves rather then hoping our dream-job will be waiting for us when we get our degrees.