ADVICE FOR CLASS OF 2011

113 comments

Posted on 5th June 2011 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

I sure hope Kevin doesn’t major in one of these subjects. He’s starting out as a computer sciences major.

The 10 Most Worthless College Majors

College is a great place to learn and have fun. But let’s not kid ourselves, some degrees are as useless as the plot in a Michael Bay film. Here’s a list of 10 degrees that may be interesting, but do jack shit for you in the real world.

10. Art History

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Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: With an art history degree you could maybe curate an art gallery or work at a museum or .yeah, that’s it. That’s all you can do. And seeing as how every art gallery and museum I’ve ever been to has exactly one dude sitting quietly at a desk reading a New Yorker and eating a food that requires chopsticks, I’m going to go ahead and assume there’s not a lot of positions open in the field. That means you’re going to have to venture out into the corporate world. And let me inform you, when you’re interviewing with Bob from the HR team at Wal-Mart who’s wearing a tie that has the twin towers smoking with writing underneath that says “We Will Never Forget, your art history degree says to him “I’m a commie a-hole who thinks I’m better than guys with 9/11 ties.

What Job You’ll End Up With: After your parents boot your ass from your bedroom to make room for anything that’s not your bedroom, you’ll wander towards the nearest coffee shop and get a job there, which will allow you to meet artists who will thank you for allowing them to put fliers by the cash register that inform people of their upcoming show that touts “the combination of art and flute.

9. Philosophy

philosophy.jpg

Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: This isn’t ancient Greece: No one is going to pay you money, or allow you to sodomize their attractive son, in exchange for your knowledge of existence. Never has there been an employer who’s said “Man, we’re having all kinds of problems, I wish we had someone on our team who could reference and draw conclusions from the story of Siddhartha that would pull up our fourth quarter numbers. I took many philosophy classes and it involved reading and smoking a shit pile of weed. You don’t need to pay 20,000 dollars a year to do that. All you need is twenty dollars and a library card.

What Job You’ll End Up With: Thanks to your extensive knowledge of philosophy, you’re now self-aware enough to know that most jobs out there will make you totally miserable. So most likely you’ll wait tables part time and hope someone starts paying you for the bi-monthly entries on your blog.

8. American Studies

american studies worthless college degrees

Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: If you’re not named Achmed or Bjork or G’Day Mate this isn’t a degree, it’s the last 18 years of your life. If you really want to study us you don’t need to go to some stupid class, you need only to sit back and watch a two-hour block of Must-See TV to understand The American. After doing my own research, it seems that this mysterious creature is a pot-bellied humanoid with a hot wife and bad credit who has a penchant for low-calorie beer, Chilis, Applebees, TGIFridays, Denny’s, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Dave and Busters, Steak and Shake, Chilis (again) and Red Lobster. Oh and he can totally demolish a White Castle Crave Case in, like, 20 seconds. OK, now give me my degree.

What Job You’ll End Up With: To take your American Studies degree one step further, you will be qualified to do 40-50 years of “graduate work cleaning tables and taking orders at a Chilis, Applebees, TGIFridays or Red Lobster. Or possibly Denny’s.

7. Music Therapy

music therapy worthless college degrees

Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: I didn’t even know this was a major until I found it on the Appalachian State website. According to their actual explanation of this major: “Music therapy is the scientific application of the art of music within a therapeutic relationship to meet the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals. Which is a big, fancy way of saying “We’ll teach you how to make a mix tape. I guess I, too, am a qualified music therapist because my “Summer Jams “95 tape I made in the 10th grade totally rocked my house party. All my friends told me that kicking it off with Wreckz-N-Effects “Rump Shaker followed by Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise totally met their physical, mental and spiritual needs to help them get wasted on my dad’s Schnapps and Drambuie.

What Job You’ll End Up With: After realizing that yoga studios and elderly homes don’t pay people just to come in and set mood music, you’re sadly going to end up putting your degree towards burning a fire to keep warm because you are homeless.

6. Communications

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Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: Go into a communications class on any given day and it’ll smell like dried semen and booze. Reason being, communications is the major for anyone who wants to graduate, but doesn’t want to stop getting totally wasted on weekdays. Here’s the bad news, if an employer is going to hire someone to help decipher how human beings communicate, he’s going to hire someone with the letters “Dr. before their name, not the person who first checks to see if a class is offered online, then when they find out it’s not, let’s out a “gaaaaay bro.

What Job You’ll End Up With: You’ll go to several job interviews that turn out to be pyramid schemes, even though at first you won’t realize this and come home and tell your parents, who you still live with, “They said I’ll probably be making six figures in less than a year just by selling these beer cozies.

5. Dance

dance worthless college degrees

Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: Despite what “Dancing with the Stars and “High School Musical may tell you, there aren’t a lot of dancing jobs out there,so you better be good because there aren’t any gigs for mediocre dancers. Outside of New York City or some crap in LA there is absolutely nothing you can do with a dance degree that doesn’t involve actually dancing for money. And since the Des Moines interpretive dance movement hasn’t really taken off yet, you have a better chance landing a job as an 8-Track repairman or a member of the Beatles.

What Job You’ll End Up With: After moving to New York and trying out for Hello Dolly! or Damn Yankees or any of the other seven Broadway plays that want dancers and not landing a single one because you got your dance degree from Ball State, you will find ample opportunity to show off your choreographic skills at one of the city’s many strip clubs. You’ll just need to change your name to Crystal or Bambi and you’ll be able finally live out your dream as a dancer. (Mom and Dad will be so proud!)

4. English Lit

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Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: If someone can spend a weekend with a box of Cliff’s Notes and have only a slightly less conversational knowledge of what you spent 4 years studying, you probably don’t have the most employer friendly degree. Having an English Lit degree is like being a member of the Kansas City Royals: No one cares and the best you can hope for is every once in a while someone buys you a beer because of it.

What Job You’ll End Up With: You can read and comprehend, so that gives you an advantage over 99.5% of the people that peruse Craig’s list job listings. Therefore, you’ll most likely end up landing an entry level position at a random small company, or showing up to your interview and being raped repeatedly by a group of masked men.

3. Latin

latin worthless college degrees

Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: Not only does no one speak this language anymore, but we already have all the Latin that exists in the world. There’s no new Latin that’s hot off the presses that needs immediate translating. I’m no business major, but majoring in a language that doesn’t exist anymore doesn’t sound so good for job security. And I’m sorry to break the news to you, but the world doesn’t need someone to translate The Bible or the inscription on the side of a Post Office or El Loco Latino’s “Latin House Party.

What Job You’ll End Up With: Since you majored in something that doesn’t exist, you’re going to have two jobs. Your first one will be as the annoying pretentious guy who gives everyone the Latin etymology of every big word he hears at every dinner party he attends. Your second, and most lucrative job, will be as a Subway Sandwich Artist.

2. Film

film.jpg

Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: No one in hollywood gives a shit that you made a short film about an alcoholic albino that discovers the meaning of life through the help of a retarded child. Unless that retarded child was played by the son of Harvey Weinstein, your film or degree will be as pointless as the last three seasons of Lost

What Job You’ll End Up With: If you’re lucky, you’ll have an uncle who can get you a job as a production assistant on CSI Miami, where your time will be spent making coffee runs and finding whores that will let David Caruso pee on them.

1. Religion

religion worthless college degrees

Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: Sorry God, but a major in Religion is about as worthless as St. Brice (The Patron Saint of Stomach Aches.) Even Duke University can’t put a solid sell on this degree: “A major in religion offers intellectual excitement and can be a pathway to a liberal education. OK, you sold me. So now I get to shell out about a hundred thousand dollars so I can know what to wear to a Shinto ceremony and learn how many virgins Allah will give me if I blow myself up in an Israeli square? If it’s OK with you, I’ll keep my money and stick to my sinning-a-lot-now-and-repenting-on-my-deathbed plan.

What Job You’ll End Up With: This one is tricky. On one hand you’ll probably end up working behind the desk of a Christian Science Reading Room. But on the other, you may end up with everlasting peace and spiritual enlightenment. Let’s call it a draw.

113 Comments
  1. DavosSherman says:

    Marsh just graduated with a BS in business and a major in information systems with a certificate in application development. It took her 10 years she did it while raising 2 kids, building (literally) a house and moving a couple of times after we sold the last house we built.

    Without a doubt Kevin has picked a super field! I think IT and permaculture will be it.

    Heads up: I’m sure Penn is super but I went ballistic on Marsha’s college president over her schooling because I had to teach her how to code – they failed miserably. Some dean lambasted Ford because of the Taurus and I let him know in no uncertain words that their Information Systems program was a Ford Taurus.

    5th June 2011 at 12:21 pm

  2. DavosSherman says:

    Oh, I should do an article titled “The New Economy”. It was the term some moron governor used during the graduation commencement speech he gave. Let me tell you: Faber is right, we are effing doomed. When you hear about Master’s being given in Homeland Security you know that the new economy is comprised of morons going to school to get 100k of debt so they can manage workers they hire off ads on piza boxes to perpetuate the trashing of our 4th Amendment rights while molesting our wive’s and children so a$$holes like Deepak Chopra can sell naked radiation body scanners to his moron buddy Obama.

    5th June 2011 at 12:26 pm

  3. Muck About says:

    LMAO! I’ve got a grandson with a BA in art who works as a barista at Starfucks.. Cost about $100K that’ll never be repaid, lives with a totally neurotic witch of indeterminate gender (I do know it’s really small, skinny and cries continuously – especially on Facebook) and plays with a rock music band for nickels and dimes that puts out noises like a scalded cat on steroids. Sigh…. Good kid though.

    MA

    5th June 2011 at 12:31 pm

  4. Reverse Engineer says:

    Actually, Religion is probably a good degree, at least if you get the Reverend title. Holy Men do well during tough economic times, plus a bonus is Churches don’t pay Property tax.

    IT will possibly get you a job, except of course you will have to do it for the same wage they pay the Geeks over in Pakistan. Then of course, when the electric grid collapses you will have to return to college to take Abacus101.

    Agriculture would seem to be the best major these days, or Police Science. The Gestapo will no doubt be hiring for a while.

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 12:38 pm

  5. Muck About says:

    @DavosS: I didn’t know you were also an owner/builder! That’s great – there are not very many of us around. Annette and I build four homes (one in N. Idaho, 3 more on Maui) and I never enjoyed a DIY project more. We went to Shelter Institute in Maine back in ’80 and saw what one could do with a bit of work and much less money!

    Hired hammer swingers by the hour when the beams were too big to lever into place but we did it all from dirt to roof. Jeez, it takes a long time to get above ground level, doesn’t it?

    MA

    5th June 2011 at 12:41 pm

  6. scott says:

    Where is ‘journalism’? Surely there can be no more worthless degree than a degree that purports to show you how to report on subjects you know nothing about. Yes such amazing positions are still available but unless you look like Lindsay Lohan or performed oral/anal sex on The Rodhamster or her husband you will not be given one. That the entire newspaper/magazine and TV news industries are themselves in terminal decline means your only real chance of ever finding paid employment in the field will be to join a ‘journalism school’ faculty and entice others to spend their money in this academic ponzi scheme.

    5th June 2011 at 12:42 pm

  7. Reverse Engineer says:

    “We went to Shelter Institute in Maine back in ’80 and saw what one could do with a bit of work and much less money!”- Muck About

    Isn’t this about the time you tell us how you made $400/hr by building your own McMansion in Hawaii while Stargazing on Da Goobermint payroll?

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 12:49 pm

  8. DavosSherman says:

    @Muck About: After I built this 1800 sqFt home I learned of Earth Rammed. Biggest misstake I ever made. Be interested in hearing about the dirt roof!

    It is pathetic that most of the work gets covered up, like it never happened.

    5th June 2011 at 1:07 pm

  9. Buckhed says:

    Well having a film degree is a little inaccurate. My cousin has a film degree from USC film school. He makes about 200K as a film editor etc. for Dreamworks. In addition my brother works in the film industry as a lighting guy…he averages about 175K a year.

    5th June 2011 at 1:23 pm

  10. Buckhed says:

    What I don’t understand is how Universities let these kids rack up tens of thousands of dollars in loans when they know that a history degree won’t get you a job paying very much. I guess the parents and the universities are blind douche bags.

    5th June 2011 at 1:25 pm

  11. English Rose says:

    Don’t worry about Kevin’s future Admin.

    He will be conscripted up into the Army of the Illuminati to lay down his life in order to make the Middle East safe for democracy. God Bless America.

    5th June 2011 at 1:32 pm

  12. ssgconway says:

    With a used laptop and even a 56K dial-up connection, one can use http://www.gutenberg.org to download virtually any book in the public domain, and if one has an MP3 player, many of these have been recorded by volunteers and posted at http://www.librivox.org. (Used paperback editions of the classics are cheap to giveaway, for those lacking in the technology department.) The cost of obtaining a good, basic education, at least in non-technical subjects, has never been lower. CLEP tests for virtually all lower-division common-core subjects – English, math, natural sciences, humanities, economics, and so forth – cost very little (free to military, VA reimburses vets for the cost) and can be used to get 3 to 6 credits per of semester credit each. An associate’s degree should cost less than $1,000 for someone who is capable of pursuing independent study.
    Doing that much on one’s own should help to focus the individual on what they love best, and it ought to be a good selling point for that first prospective boss, too.

    5th June 2011 at 1:40 pm

  13. ssgconway says:

    For those with an interest in technical subjects, MIT Open Courseware (http.ocw.mit.edu) offers older versions of their classes, free, to anyone who wants to download them. This isn’t for credit, but one could get an MIT education, minus the actual in-class time, if one wanted to. An MIT grad had posted 800+ videos at http://www.khanacademy.org. These are short courses in how to do quadratic equations, the principles of finance, and just anything else you can think of that’s numbers-based. They’re free.
    If you need a degree, Governor’s Western University, Thomas Edison State College, Charter Oak State College, Excelsior College and other accredited, legit schools exist to service the distance education market. There should be no reason for the average college student not destined for an elite school (and its’ alumni connections) to have to rack up $100K in debt when a degree – and more importantly, and education – can be had for so little cost, if only the effort is made to obtain it.

    5th June 2011 at 1:47 pm

  14. Reverse Engineer says:

    You know, even going back to the 70s, you always had pundits making fun of “worthless” College Majors like Art History or French Literature, etc. In the subtext of this argument is the belief that the ONLY worthwhile College Majors revolve around Science and Mathematics in some fashion.

    Thing is here, as the Chinese are finding out with Engineering Ph.Ds working in Retail is that you really don’t need that many Scientists and Engineers and Programmers. In fact as we move along in this spin down, its likely we will need a lot fewer than we already have unemployed, so IMHO it is a myth that such majors are really any better than the ones the technophiles make fun of.

    In reality, people will need to learn practical skills, which generally are not taught in college anyhow. What College really should do is teach you how to THINK, and while learning science and math is a part of that, its not the whole ball of wax either. You can actually learn quite a bit if you major in Latin. This allows you to go back and read many texts never translated into English which cover many aspects of Economics and Politics we struggle with today. I hate the fact I have to depend on the writings of other people who interpret these texts as a means to understand them, and now I personally wish I had taken Latin instead of some of the advanced math courses I took.

    Similarly, while Majors like “Journalism” or “Communications” are watered down versions of the more basic English Major, learning how to write and how to compose logical arguments is extremely important in almost all jobs that have an intellectual component to them. Lawyers have to write briefs, you have company meetings where how well you express yourself verbally can make the difference between whether your proposal is rejected or accepted, etc. The fact many Scientists and IT folks cannot express their ideas either verbally or with the written word often limits their impact and ability to move up the corporate ladder from just a grunt programmer to a Head Honcho position.

    Languages in general can be a very good Major in college, if you are adept at learning them. This was not my strong point, but my Illuminati Spawn college girlfriend was very good at it, and although she majored in Spanish, she also learned French, German, Russian and was working on Chinese when we broke up. She went to work in the Diplomatic corps (typical Illuminati profession), but she could easily have gone to work for many Multinational companies where being a polyglot is a very valuable skill. She wasn’t a dummy in math either, I actually met her freshman year in Calculus class. Helping her with Integration by parts is actually how I finally got into her pants. LOL. However, she spent most of her college years learning more languages, while I learned more math. Either choice is a valid one though, or at least it was back then.

    I’m not a big fan of majors like Art History, but in fact for many years Artsy types found employment in the field of Advertising. Yes such jobs are likely to be disappearing here rapidly, but as I pointed out in a prior post in this thread, so will IT jobs. So is an IT degree really going to be that much more valuable than an Art History degree? I doubt it. Both of them will be working in some other field likely not all that related to what they majored in college in. That is if they can find a job at all.

    Even in the Sciences, I remember all us folks studying Physics and Chemistry tended to look down on Geology majors as being “Rocks for Jocks”. However, Geology majors found work in the Oil Patch and in Mining, which overall has had a better employment outlook over the years than say Aerospace Engineering, which has been hammerred many times over.

    Anyhow, having read the sort of article written in the OP many times over since the 70s, I don;t really think there is all that much truth held in it. Precisely what it is you study in College is not as important as refining skills which help you to think, to communicate and to understand the world and the people in it. Far as finding a job goes after college, this is going to be increasingly difficult no matter what you major in, and its not all that clear that AN maor is worth the kind of money you will have to shell out to get a Sheepskin anymore. Taking the $100K or so you have to shell out for a College education and buying a nice little Doomstead Farm out in the Ozarks is probably a better use of the money. However, old ideas die hard, and the idea a College Education with a Science and Math focus will provide you better opportunities in the future is one of them.

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 1:51 pm

  15. Spirit of '76 says:

    The undergraduate education taken from a reputable college was never intended to train a student to “make money” let alone “get a good job”.

    The purpose of studying at college was to improve one’s mind to make a better leader. History, religion and foreign (classical) languages were necessary to learn the successes and failures of previous generations. Literature was the means of communicating the humanity of these lessons which facts alone could not.

    Graduate and post-graduate degrees were obviously intended to further a professional career. Both levels, undergraduate and post-graduate were still the privilege of the few. And why not? Most men are followers. Why on earth would they even desire to study at college?

    It is most unfortunate for us that, thanks to the GI Bill and its explicit validation/affirmation of the egos and expectations of the Huddled Masses of Ellis Island, only recently departed their peonage and serfdom of the “old country”, college study was confused with wealth, class and prosperity.

    What the Wretched Refuse did not understand is that Yale, Harvard and even the local cow-college were attended by wealthy families because they were already wealthy and could afford to send Junior away for several years. College study was never intended, designed or expected to transmute poverty into substance.

    But the undeniably corrupting influence of free greenbacks ran its predictable course: GI’s flood campus looking to make money (that’s why their parents came here, after all, to “America Where the Streets Are A-Paved with Gold”) and to “make up for lost time” — time fighting the war.

    For their part, college administrators were only too happy to accept those greenbacks and indulge their earnest, if vulgar, new students, creating all manner of “product” for them to “consume”.

    Voila! You have Earned and are now Awarded an Official Degree of Success, and are hereby Accorded all Rights and Privileges thereunto Pertaining.

    If you want to make money, find a need and fill it. If you want to learn to think to be a better man, a better citizen and a better leader, study the liberal arts at a school with good teachers and fellow students of good character — while living off the family fortune.

    No offense intended, I’m just sayin it is what it is.

    5th June 2011 at 1:55 pm

  16. cahuitabeachbound says:

    I tried opening a quaint Latin American Studies shop in the French Quarter but it didn’t work out.

    5th June 2011 at 1:57 pm

  17. StuckInNJ says:

    I understand his point. He’s being very practical. Kudos for that.

    But making fun of the Arts, Literature, Dance, Film, Philosophy, etc. ….. kind of a shame, really.

    Wonder what this author does for relaxation? Watch a computer programmer generate code?

    5th June 2011 at 2:03 pm

  18. StuckInNJ says:

    ssgconway

    A GREAT BIG thank you for the most excellent links you provided. You’re an awesome poster!!

    I was aware of the MIT site. Have taken several of their courses. It’s a fantastic site.

    But I was not aware of the Khan Academy site. Wow. That looks terrific, too.

    5th June 2011 at 2:22 pm

  19. Muck About says:

    RE: Went to Shelter Institute for first qtr of 1980.. Built a home and went back to college in N. Idaho ’80,’81,’82. Moved to Maui in ’83. Took 3 years to find a buy a piece of land there that wasn’t for sale (i.e. look up the owner of the property you want in the tax records, cold contact and cash offer) and build the first home there ’86, ’87, ’88. Next homes were grown in sequence from there through ’94 when we went back to Kwajalein when I got sick of driving up that volcano every day.

    ‘nuf history? I still stand by the $400/hour after all the dust settled, we retired and sold the various places. It would be at least another 50% ($600/hr) if I had rented them out for a few more years and gotten sucked into the wondrous updraft in real estate from 2003-2006.. Two of the homes have since sold for $1.2 mil and $1.5 mil since we sold them and retired on the perfectly reasonable and honest capital gains back in ’97.

    I could be talked into building yet another owner-built home but I like where I am too much to go pioneering again. Beside that, while I know I’m only 40 yrs old (inside), the extra 33 years on the coach is beginning to limit me a bit. You know, shock absorbers stiff, bent frame, windows starting to dull from all the bugs in the face, things like that.

    But I could still do it.

    MA

    5th June 2011 at 2:37 pm

  20. StuckInNJ says:

    RE

    Your last post is one of the better ones you’ve written.

    I swear — I’ve never seen anyone oscillate as violently between smart and stupid as you.

    5th June 2011 at 2:50 pm

  21. Reverse Engineer says:

    @Muck About

    I am sure you still could. You just wouldn’t get anywhere NEAR $400/hr for doing so, in fact you would LOSE money by doing so. It would cost you more in materials to build the place than you could sell it for in the current market, or for the forseeable future.

    Like the idea Science and Math majors will net return on your College Investment, so also the idea that Do-it-Yourself Homebuilding can earn you a net return on the investment is an idea that dies hard in the mind of a Silent. However, I will agree that do-it-yourself Doomstead building, while it won’t return you a monetary reward equivalent to the money you spend to build it is probably a better investment of the money than a College Education is.

    If you do want to go into DIY building again, I suggest you start building a nice Sailboat in your backyard, and map out the Navigation to Tristan de Cunha, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. House building is dead for a while here, there are way too many of them already.

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 2:50 pm

  22. ssgconway says:

    You’re welcome, Stuck. without CLEP, I wouldn’t have graduated, and I’m happy to pass the info along. Spirit of ’76, you’re right – an ecucation should teach one how to live (and how to learn and think), not how to make a living. The Humanities were called ‘The Road of Kings” by the French, because they inculculated those traits of thought and habit that a leader would need to govern himself, as well as others, and to take a long view of things.
    The GI Bill did provide many with an opportunity which their brains often merited more than their pre-war circumstances, but colleges did sell out to the Almighty Dollar. (Federal ‘defense’ research grants had even more of a corrupting effect, as the best professors went into research and left teaching to grad assistants.) It’s not so much the Ivies that were affected by the expansion of the colege population as it was State U. and the smaller liberal arts colleges, since the Ivies exist as much for networking as for educating. (“I Am Charlotte Simmons,” by Tom Wolfe, is an excellent novelization of what an elite campus is like today.)
    I agree that the classics are necessary, and that mere vocationalism creates narrow, technocratic minds to whom the ‘big picture’ is irrelevant or imcomprehensible. (I majored in History & Poitical Science and advised my pre-med daughter to switch to Art – she’s gifted in it – so I’ve put my money where my mouth is on this one.) Training is something that an employer should provide; we mow have accustomed corporations to expect someone else – public schools, jobs training programs, etc. – to train their workers, instead of them selecting and hiring those they’d commit to training themselves.
    We have forced the young to think in terms of degrees ionstead of education because they think that they have to have the former to get a job, and the latter is of secondary importance, as ling as they have run-of-the-mill or better skills. They may earn degrees without being educated and they may be able to secure work, but will they be good citizens?

    5th June 2011 at 2:51 pm

  23. Reverse Engineer says:

    “I swear — I’ve never seen anyone oscillate as violently between smart and stupid as you.”- Stucky

    I pride myself on being difficult to pin down in this way :-) Thanks Stuck.

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 2:56 pm

  24. ssgconway says:

    RE, your post is excellent in spelling out what value the old-line majors have, and how many of the new ones are just truncated, vocationalized versions of the oldies. You reminded me of something I’d read about Steve Jobs: The Apple font library is partly the result of his having taken, before dropping out, a community college course in calligraphy. It’s hard to know how the acquisition of an education, even a small thing like calligraphy, may play out, but at least it does not have a shelf life, as many of the trendy majors probably do.
    Ivan Illich talked about this in his book, “Deschooling Society.” we create passive consumers of ‘education,’ when we should instead strive to teach people to be able to teach themselves. Dorothy Sayers made much the same point in her, “The Lost Tools of Learning.” I made this point at work (my day job deals with implementation of job-training programs) and found myself, as expected, a bloc of one, as it runs counter to the current wisdom to challenge the validity of a vocationalist education model. (The Soviets found that abandoning their ‘Gymnasium’ model, a leftover from Czarist times, for a vocational one in the Khruschev era, left them always chasing sunsets, as they would plan and execute programs that were obsolete by the time they produced graduates, and the instrstial skill shortages they intended to address continued, even as they churned out graduates with obsolete skills who had to be re-trained, as they lacked the foundation to teach themselves. (Denis Soltys documents this in “Education For Decline.”)
    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    5th June 2011 at 3:03 pm

  25. StuckInNJ says:

    ssgconway

    You are correct about the Steve Jobs story. He told it at a Commencement Address to Stanford grads in 2005. IMHO, it’s one of the best speeches ever. I even copied it to my hard drive and have reread it several times over the years.

    Copy and Paste below. I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I have.

    ========================================================================

    I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

    The first story is about connecting the dots.

    I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

    It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

    And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

    It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

    Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

    None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

    Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

    My second story is about love and loss.

    I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

    I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

    I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

    During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

    I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

    My third story is about death.

    When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

    Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

    About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

    I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

    This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

    No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

    Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

    When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

    Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

    Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

    Thank you all very much.

    5th June 2011 at 3:25 pm

  26. StuckInNJ says:

    ssgconway

    If Steve Jobs ever talks about Paragraph Breaks then I’ll send you that as well.

    BTW, it looks like this.
    enter_key.jpg

    LOL

    5th June 2011 at 3:29 pm

  27. Smith-n-Jones says:

    In college, I double majored in English and Germanic Languages and now I make a good living as an IT Project Manager. I spend 80% of my day writing emails, providing reports to management and solving problems, not necessarily technical ones. I minored in Latin.

    Majoring in Computer Science is not the ticket it once was. Those Bangalore programmers are really good and they work their asses off for 20k. Besides, American universities are notorious for emphasizing Java, Visual Basic, and other high-level application environments that are fast becoming commoditized. In India and China, they teach programming, advanced algorithims and data structures and stuff like that. Those people are very good and very cheap. Besides, being a code jockey only works for a few years. Then you burn out. Try getting an interview at Google if you’re pushing 30. Fat chance. Bottom line: you move into management or you go away.

    What you really have to do in college is grow up, learn to think, get along with people, meet deadlines, and become a responsible adult. The rest is up to you.

    5th June 2011 at 3:32 pm

  28. jmarz says:

    College is overrated. Your work ethic, drive, and ability to build relationships/networks will provide more success than a college degree. A degree is a commodity and we have an abundant supply of college graduates with a very small demand for them. For those looking to attend school for a degree outside of sciences and engineering, they will most likely be strapped with debt and no job when they graduate. The internet is incredible. Many can self educate themselves for free by using sources on the web while getting real world experience. I”m not saying fuck college but rather changing my perspective on college. I think the quality of a college education is declining and I feel like college discourages independent thought and entrepreneurship.

    Unfortunately, those who are looking to work for a company will most likely need a degree to even be considered for a job. This is beginning to change but it is sad that so many kids are going to college and getting worthless degress in hope that they might be the lucky one who lands a job in an economy that is deteriorating. If you are going to do the college thing, at least pick a major that will have supply/demand fundamentals in your favor. I graduated college in May 2010 with a degree in finance. Not a good major but I didn’t have the intention of getting a degree to get a job although, I do work for someone currently since I don’t like the economic landcape that I see for our country in the near to medium future. My intention was to get an education that would benefit me as an investor and business owner in the future. I used what I learned from college with what I learned from self education and applied it to my work experiences. I learned some good stuff in school but success is not determined by one’s ability to get a degree. It is fairly easy to get a degree. Success is determined by simple, common sense factors such as being a good listener, working hard and smart, and understanding how to treat people right. I’ve learned over time that one’s ability to build relationships and great networks is far more valuable then any degree. This becomes even more important in our current economy as so many college students graduate continue to add to the supply of grads looking for jobs that are very limited.

    I am pretty passionate about education and my outlook on formal education is starting to change. I used to be all about college but now I’m starting to see the ROI go downhill. Times are changing and we need to change how we view education. I’ve learned more from my self education and work experiences than I have from my college classes. As college tuition continue to surpass inflation, one needs to analyze the current ROI for a college education before taking the plunge and enslaving themselves to debt that may take them forever to pay off. My generation is clueless and primarily attend college for the degree rather than the education. This is the core problem.

    5th June 2011 at 3:33 pm

  29. DexterMorgan says:

    Even the technology degrees today (IT, engineering, hard sciences…) are no guarantees of success. IBM is one the greatest exporters of American jobs there is. As I’ve said before…a good software engineer in India makes about $11,000 a year…..

    5th June 2011 at 3:45 pm

  30. ssgconway says:

    Thanks, Stuck. Jmarz, you’re right about the ROI for a typical college degree. It’s declining, fast. I am all for obtaining an education, and if a degree helps, one that’s 100% CLEP ( http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/about.html ) it’s still good enough for any mundane purpose. It’s the education that matters. I like to think of “The Count of Monte Cristo” and how the old man educated Edmond while they were in prison with what a university graduate of that day would’ve been happy to have – several languages among the attainments passed on. It’s not a good use of time or money to spend four years on an extended drunk, just sliding along, majoring in something no one had heard of 40 years ago, or acquiring a skill that, as you point out, can be had by any employer with a T1 line to Bangalore. Well said.

    5th June 2011 at 3:49 pm

  31. Muck About says:

    @Stuck: I’d read that Jobs speech once before but thanks for posting it as I enjoyed it just as much this time as last. I’m going to send it along to my oldest daughter who lost her husband (at 53) last year and is dithering and flapping about what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

    It might furnish her some good insights, so thanks again.

    MA

    5th June 2011 at 3:52 pm

  32. Muck About says:

    @ssgconway: Thanks big time for the links you posted. I’d heard about MIT’s course postings but never explored the possibilities.. I’ve bookmarked them both as more superb links to use when I need to stir up my grey matter (happens pretty often too!).

    MA

    5th June 2011 at 4:04 pm

  33. Reverse Engineer says:

    ” It’s not a good use of time or money to spend four years on an extended drunk”

    Not sure I agree with that. If you can get a loan to Party Hearty for 4 more years here it would be a hell of a lot more fun than standing on Unemployment Lines or getting your nuts blown off by an IED in Afghanistan.

    The Bennies of a 4 year extended drunk in College are many. For instance, Arizona State University is currently Ranked as the #1 Party school by Playboy, and here is a photo of the Cheerleading Squad

    asu_cheerleaders_lingerie_party1.jpg

    4 years of this are memories you can take with you for a Lifetime :-) It certainly was the part of College I remember best and value most anyhow. LOL

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 4:08 pm

  34. Reverse Engineer says:

    one more try

    asu_cheerleaders_lingerie_party1.jpg

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 4:09 pm

  35. Reverse Engineer says:

    Oh well. Use your imgaination. LOL.

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 4:09 pm

  36. StuckInNJ says:

    Nothing makes me happier than a Satisified Muck !! So, you’re welcome.

    I am sorry and sad to read about your daughter’s loss. I hope the article brings her some insights yet undiscovered. My thoughts go with you and her.

    FWIW … Jimmy Valvano’s ESPY speech — when he was dying of brain cancer — is for me one of the very best motivational speeches for dealing with loss, and the attitude one should have …

    5th June 2011 at 4:21 pm

  37. TeresaE says:

    While I was headhunting, my heart broke for students with useless majors. They came out all bright-eyed, smiley-faced and ready to launch into a 50k-100k management job with no experience and a paper from their college showing them the “entry level starting salaries.”

    I was usually the first person to have to tell them the truth (HR people lie their asses off, under the guise of protecting themselves from lawsuits), but because it was the late 90s, and unemployment was less than 3% and a wide open job market, these kids found decent jobs, but they rarely ever found jobs in their majors, nor for over $28k (which was what most 4 yr degrees with no experience started with).

    BUT, you left out the new reality. For all those grads with worthless degrees there is hope.

    It is called the federal, state and local government – with a few megacorporations thrown in looking for the high-turnover grunts to work seven days a week.

    It is unbelievable to me how many government workers I know that were Liberal Arts majors.

    So, for a few more years if lucky, these kids should keep their legal records clean and apply all over the government. Great gig while they can get them.

    5th June 2011 at 4:39 pm

  38. Reverse Engineer says:

    Teresa, Goobermint jobs are going to be eviscerated right along with the private sector ones, at least until as a last ditch effort Da Gooberint tries a WPA style “Workfare” program. The late 90s paradigm of so-called “useless degrees” reminds me oh so much of the kind of thinking Muck About purveys here, it is centered on a pardigm that no longer functions and will never function again. Your whole concept of how Gooobermint works is so thoroughly parochial it sometimes boggles my mind, and I do not often confront you directly on it because mostly you are not the confrontational sort here so I leave you alone. But crap, these kind of posts ust really want to make me PUKE. You do not have a clue what is going on here at all.

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 4:47 pm

  39. ssgconway says:

    You’re welcome, Muck. Tersa, I have to basically agree with RE here. (My day job is is gov’t.) Liberal Arts majors are better suited to write policy issuances, administer contracts, monitor program compliance, etc. It’s all verbal, some number stuff thrown in, and is what the Chinese designed their Civil Service exams around under Wu Ti, what the Prussians based theirs on (they even tested for calligraphy, as it shows attention to detail), what the English strove for when they professionalized their civil service system under Lord Monkton’s direction, and so on. This has That said, government is in recession, budgets are being cut, early retirements and un-fillable vacancies will be followed by layoffs (they happen now at the local level; I coordinate getting unemployment ins. and job search info to laid-off workers, so I know, firsthand that this is so.), and pension funds are, in many cases, in ruins. There are only a few places where the government is expanding, employment-wise, at the sub-Federal level, and they generally involve a uniform. The days of education majors who find that they don’t like teaching finding a steady paycheck in government are over, and they aren’t coming back in the forseeable future.
    Where I agree with Theresa is that many grads are unprepared for what their schooling makes them worth. I experienced that after the Army, when I took my new degree and found an $8.00 per hour job, ca. 1989, and since it beat working in steel warehouses and bars, I took it. Colleges do a great job of filling kids with fantasies about making $60K out the door; the reality for those lacking in a hard skill, connections or something else to set them apart from the pack is what you saw and what I lived.

    5th June 2011 at 5:28 pm

  40. ragman says:

    Plastics. “The Graduate” 1967.

    5th June 2011 at 5:47 pm

  41. cahuitabeachbound says:

    True story. We were siting around the dorm first year about two weeks into it. I was flipping through the class directory looking at the various courses being offered. Next to the classes mentioned were the various professors: Professor Woo, Professor Jones, etc. Not thinking I blurted out, “Gee, Professor Staff sure teaches a lot of courses”. I never lived that down the remaining four years. People would ask me if I was taking any of “Professor Staff’s” classes.

    5th June 2011 at 5:53 pm

  42. efarmer says:

    A month ago we had two daughters graduate from an Iowa univ. Because it was in the middle of planting corn, we didn’t plan any formal party, so ended up at their favorite watering hole. It was actually a fairly mature crowd, a couple of profs and such.

    One of the gentleman we talked to was in the financial office and we kind of laid into him for the huge debt that kids are graduating with and the unrealistic repayment of it in many cases. He made it quite clear to my wife and I that that was none of his concern. His job was to get kids into college and find a way to loan them money. His job was to make the college money, nothing else.

    At least he was honest. But we left thinking he was a real skumbag.

    EF

    5th June 2011 at 6:57 pm

  43. llpoh says:

    Add Black Studies to worthless majors. Also sociology.

    5th June 2011 at 7:14 pm

  44. ssgconway says:

    I’d have to agree with you on that one, EF. That’s what makes college so much like a racket. Textbooks are another sore spot with me, and I’m sure that your daughters had a lot of $200.00 books that were obsolete before she could re-sell them to the bookstore. I hope that the open-source textbook movement catches on with at least a few schools. It would give them a price advantage over their peers and that might force the others to do the right thing. http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/ and http://www.lulu.com are two sources for them.
    BTW, one more link: http://www.training.fema.gov/IS/
    It’s for FEMA’s Emergency management Institute. you can take free courses online from them on disaster preparation topics ranging from general personal preparation to how to deal with animals in disaster situations. A lot of the courses are intended for emergence managers – how to get grants, manage the state-federal coordination, etc., but a fair number are of use to regular folks. They can be turned into college credit, for a cost, but taking them is at no charge.

    5th June 2011 at 7:14 pm

  45. Rod says:

    Ha Ha Ha…

    This is just GREAT and oh so true !
    I need a good laugh to break the cycle of unrelenting disaster.

    As I always say, Gen-Y is the first human generation without a future…

    Colleges should have degree courses in Twittering and Facebooking and Masters degrees in leading pointless empty mallrat-junkie lives. LOL…

    5th June 2011 at 7:20 pm

  46. efarmer says:

    Ditto on the textbooks, ssgconway. As much out of control as medical costs.

    One of our girls “rented” an organic chem book for $75. Saved her hundreds. But what a crock of crap.

    EF

    5th June 2011 at 7:23 pm

  47. llpoh says:

    I believe that the problem doesn’t lie with the major chosen, but rather lies with the fact that the overall quality of the education received sucks. For instance, when I went to school we took 33 courses in order to graduate. Only 8 could be from your major area, be it Engineering or Art History. You had to have math through advanced calculus. You had to chose a foreign language and become fluent. You had to complete 4 English classes, two which were compulsary and 2 electives. You had to take 4 science classes. You had to take 2 computer classes and be able to program competently. You had to have some social sciences.

    So for every graduate you could say this without hesitation: they could write to a good standard, they were competent in advanced math, they could speak a foreign language fluently, they could program a computer, and they had a good science and social science foundation.

    Today, what skills could an “Art History” major demonstrate from most colleges? None would be my answer. So really, to have any hope of getting valuable skills, you need to major in science/engineering/business/accounting/math. But even then the odds are that there will be a lack of many of the basic “skills”.

    Colleges no longer seem to focus on providing an education, but rather are more focused on placating the students and in providing them a degree.

    What a waste.

    I am advising my son/daughter to major in a technical field and augment that with a masters. I am not confident they will be properly educated, but at least they should have some marketable skills at the end. But they may well not listen.

    5th June 2011 at 7:27 pm

  48. Reverse Engineer says:

    I can’t believe nobody mentioned the most worthless Major of All so far. Economics. A Black Studies Major with a Minor in Twittering knows more than an Economics Ph.D. from Princeton.

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 7:53 pm

  49. DavosSherman says:

    @ssgconway

    “A GREAT BIG thank you for the most excellent links you provided. You’re an awesome poster!!”

    +1 to what Stuck said!! I love learning, taught myself to fly, build homes and program computers I EFFING HATE SCHOOL!

    @Stuck: Thanks for the Job’s post. One of my favorite movies is “Pirates of Silicone Valley”— book is good also.

    5th June 2011 at 8:37 pm

  50. Muck About says:

    @RE: You can – today – achieve an economics degree at the Doctoral level by reading – twice, front to back – Von Mises’ “Human Action” and Friedrich August Hayek’s books from #1 through #17 (http://hayekcenter.org/?page_id=9), in order of publication, skipping none and repeating as necessary until comprehension is complete.

    At that point, you will know as much as is known about how money works, human beings behave and why and why Governments can never manage money.

    If you wish, you can go on to advanced learning by reading Henry Hazlitt’s multiple brilliant works and finish up with Harry Browne’s “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World”.

    If you still don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground economically after that small effort, you may then admit you’re a dumbass and give it up.

    MA

    5th June 2011 at 9:23 pm

  51. Reverse Engineer says:

    @MA

    As I said in another post, IMHO Austrian Economistas are just as clueless as Keynesians when it comes to managing the economics of scarcity. Beyond that, I have extreme difficulty accepting as wisdom the idea that a Gold backed currency could resolve our current economic woes; or even that it could have prevented the collapse we have occurring here now. Rather, the collapse simply would have come sooner. Anyhow, the whole bizness is based on faulty assumptions of intrinsic value which conveniently ignore real problems of resource constraints at the same time. I would consider an Austrian Economics Ph.D. with a dissertation on von Mises and Hayek to be just as worthless as a Keynesian one, or a Black Studies major for that matter.

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 9:42 pm

  52. Reverse Engineer says:

    Here is a job for the 2011 Graduates. Navy SEALS are hiring!

    RE

    Navy needs more SEALs
    NAVY SEALS

    June 19, 2007|By Paul Vercammen CNN

    These helmets represent SEAL recruits who didn’t make it through the training.Just as a new wave of Navy SEAL recruits on Coronado Island, California, crawls out from under barbed-wire obstacles, muscles burning and sand sticking to sweat, the Navy has launched an aggressive recruiting campaign to expand the maritime special forces to their highest levels ever.

    The target is a total SEAL force of 3,038 in five years.

    “We need to grow our special operations forces across the services,” says Navy SEAL Capt. Roger Herbert. “And for the Navy that means an additional 500 SEALs.

    “My job is to grow the force, to get more guys through here, but never reduce the quality.”

    The SEALs, which stand for sea, air and land units, were formed by President Kennedy to carry out secret operations. They were the first American troops to set foot in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and they are assigned some of the most dangerous, and secretive missions, in the military.

    Because the SEAL training includes 5½-mile swims, sleep deprivation, bone-jarring obstacle courses, constant running, climbing, jumping, diving and other tortures, historically just 25 percent of the recruits graduate to become Navy SEALs.

    But that number jumped to 32 percent last year, because the SEALs are targeting young men who have a better chance of enduring the mental and physical challenges of training, according to Herbert.

    Jake Williams just graduated as his class honor man and flashes a tooth-paste commercial smile when asked how he prepared for the SEALs’ notorious training on land and water.

    “I ran a lot, swam here and there,” Williams explains. “When I was old enough, I got certified so I could go scuba diving. I did a lot of outdoor rock climbing and that kind of stuff.”

    The SEALs are now encouraging extreme-sports enthusiasts and athletes from a variety of sports to try to prove themselves in an ultimate contest of attrition, the SEAL boot camp.

    “We’ve got to bring in the right candidates,” says Navy SEAL Cmdr. Duncan Smith. “So we’re going after water polo players. We’re going after wrestlers. We are making people who may not traditionally thought of a career as a SEAL, we’re making them aware of the opportunity to serve in Navy Special Warfare.”

    SEAL recruit Christopher Maddox played soccer and baseball in high school and now wears the brown T-shirt that shows he’s survived SEAL Hell Week and is tantalizingly close to graduation.

    “A lot of people come here, and they’re all different shapes and sizes,” Maddox says. “It doesn’t matter. You could be in the best physical shape of your life and not last one day here.”

    Once a SEAL recruit decides he cannot take the pain anymore, he must walk up to a bell and ring it. The end is called “ringing out.” The failed recruit then puts his helmet on the ground. The green helmets sit in a row. The last names are prominent in white letters.

    The helmets stay lined up until graduation — stark reminders to every SEAL of how few recruits survive.

    5th June 2011 at 10:25 pm

  53. Apollo says:

    @all

    I am truly disappointed by all you self-proclaimed wizards of useless college degrees.

    10 useless degrees (or majors) listed. But not a hint on the most, the ultimate, the absolutely worthless degree ever granted by an education institution anywhere on Earth:

    ECONOMICS

    5th June 2011 at 10:53 pm

  54. Reverse Engineer says:

    @Apollo

    I beat you to that comment. Its above here about 10 comments back.

    “I can’t believe nobody mentioned the most worthless Major of All so far. Economics. A Black Studies Major with a Minor in Twittering knows more than an Economics Ph.D. from Princeton.”

    You need to read more carefully.

    RE

    5th June 2011 at 11:06 pm

  55. sensetti says:

    @RE

    How much longer can this feds kick the can down the road? Years, months, weeks, its all a scam so when does the end come. When does the dollar collapse and the crisis in the US street begin?
    Give your best guess your on a roll
    thanks

    6th June 2011 at 12:16 am

  56. llpoh says:

    sensetti – you are obviously new here, so I will be as kind as possible. RE has NEVER gotten a prediction right. NEVER. Let me repeat it once more just in case you missed it: RE HAS NEVER GOTTEN A PREDICTION RIGHT. He will probably be happy to give you some sort of timeline, but whatever he says, it is safe, or even mandatory, to bet against it.

    I won’t be so nice next time so wise up. You only get away with being a dumbshit once.

    6th June 2011 at 12:32 am

  57. Reverse Engineer says:

    @sensetti

    As llpoh mentions, I haven’t had great success lately with predictions, though I did call the Oct 2008 collapse correctly after watching Bear Stearns implode in March of that year. Since then I have consistently underestimated the ability fo Da Fed to prop up the markets, so this whole bizness is taking longer to play out than I figured it would. Each time I see a relatively large Black Swan come in for a landing, I tend to think that will push us over the edge like Bear Stearns did, but so far the Geniuses running Da Fed laptops have been able to paper over even Swans as big as Fuk-U-shima. (BTW llpoh, how’s that Nip BAU by December prediction working out for you? lol)

    As llpoh also mentions though, I don’t mind continuing to speculate on the timeline because its the most important immediate question of our time. The two biggest economic Swans circling over head right now would seem to be one of the PIIGS defaulting in Euroland or CONgress here being unable to agree on a Debt Ceiling hike by August. Thing is, if you can see a Black Swan circling, its not really a Black Swan because its predictable. Real Black Swans blind side you out of nowhere.

    On the political end, MENA remains a Powderkeg with an already lit fuse, and once things heat up in Saudi Arabia that would be very difficult thing for Helicopter Ben to paper over. However, NATO is pretty much fully invested now with all the cool Hardware to rain Death From Above on any Towel Heads not toeing the line, so unless somebody gets an itchy trigger finger on the Nuke Button down there, they probably can keep the Oil moving another couple of years maybe. The Israelis would seem the likeliest candidates to pitch a Nuke out if the current border clashes with Syrians escalate. Israeli Border Guards iced around 38 Protestors/Refugees trying to cross the border yesterday, some of them apparently children from some reports I read. Mainly I think these people are simply trying to escape the escalating civil war in Syria, but the Israelis don’t want ANY more pesky Towel Heads on their patch of land first granted to them by God, then handed back to them by the Brits after WWII.

    On the Geological & Cosmological Event end, as I mentioned my Earthquake monitoring program shows increasing activity all along the Ring of Fire now, a Chilean Volcan blew yesterday and of course there are many locations along the Ring due for a Big One. Los Angeles being swamped by a Tsunami or San Francisco reduced to rubble would certainly be a major Black Swan.

    Now for the WAGs. I think that after whole lot of Drama that even I would have trouble orchestrating up, CONgress will increase the Debt Ceiling before the clock runs out in August. This should keep the Dollar from immediately imploding, though it guarantees further and accelerating depreciation. I do think there will be a major crisis in the Euro by October or so, which will then set off another Banking crisis. However, I don’t underestimate Helicopter Ben’s Printing ability anymore, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he flooded the system with a QUADRILLION digital FRNs to swamp the system in liquidity. How that would play out I have absolutely no idea, but it can’t be too good.

    I think the SNAP Card program will continue to work and continue to expand over the next 2 years moving into the POTUS Race. No matter what Swans land here, by the time the Campaign is under way you should start to see more of the kind of political action we saw up in WI a few months ago. I think the Demopublican National Conventions will be a freaking ZOO. We don’t have any Hippies now, but we do have plenty of angry fat assed Tea Baggers and angry fat assed FSA recipients who will likely be shouting each other down in the streets. I also would not be at all surprised to see some sort of Assassination attempt made on some candidate (Ron Paul?).

    By the end of 2012, I think we will be accelerating rapidly in the Collapse. So I stick with my Mayan 12/21/2012 Date, although I don’t really think we will see Los Angeles slide into the ocean precisely on that date. LOL. Really, the Collapse has already occurred, its just a question of Degree here as to when it really will spin out of control.

    Bottom line, you still probably have about 18 months to get your Bugout Plans in order or set up your Doomstead. Above all, remember the last place you want to be when TSHTF is in the Big Shities. If you are stuck near one because you still have a good paying Job in one of them, then be sure you have made good Bugout Plans. I highly recommend having Preps stored outside the Big Shities in the homes of relatives or friends who live in more rural locations. Also have multiple Transportation Plans to get there. Start of course with always having your gas tank topped off, and if the place you are going to is more than a single tank of gas away, have the additional gas in extra containers. Plan routes off the Interstates, these are Choke points if its a Rapid Crash. Have alternate routes planned and all the maps you need in Hard Copy, in case there is an EMP. Try not to stop at all for any reason, have a porta potty in your car or van. Avoid Cops and Roadblocks, run a Police Scanner all the time as well as a Radar Detector and keep your CB scanning all the time also. You will pick up lots of information from Truckers if any of them are still on the road when you make your Bugout. Obviously this only works if there is not an EMP.

    Don’t count on your GPS being operational. If it turns into some kind of declared Martial Law situation, Da Goobermint will likely shut down the commercial end of the GPS system so only the Military can use it. It would be a good idea to Practice Drive the Bugout so you recognize the landmarks and turnoffs you will need to make.

    If you do not get out in time and Da Goobermint has limited Travel by automobile, then be prepared to hoof it or use bicycles over a period of weeks to make it to your Bugout location. Have lightweight camping foods and cash in small bills. You can carry a few Gold coins also, those might be useful for bribing Cops in extremely dire circumstances. Carry a Gun, obviously. Mainly just a small handgun for personal defense, you don’t want to be lugging heavy automatic rifles and shotguns. Those should be stored in advance at the Bugout Location.

    Other option if you are in a Coastal City is having a Sailboat or even Power Boat ready to go, even a trailerable one will do. In the case of a power boat, like the car make sure its tanks are always topped off with enough fuel to get you to your Bugout Location. Obviously, you are limited in this case to other Coastal areas, but if I was say in New York Shity, I would look for a bugout location on the coast of Newfoundland for instance. On the West Coast, I would head for the Fjords of British Columbia.

    Will you have to make this Bugout by 12/21/2012? Probably not, but you sure will be kicking yourself if you haven’t planned it out and you DO need to do it. Not everyone can move out right now for many reasons. However EVERYONE, even people with the most limited means can plan for the day they have to Bugout quickly. If your means are extremely limited, this just means having a backpack with essentials, a small tent and a bicycle, along with whatever cash you actually have. Everybody should have that, even if you have a car. You might have to abandon it at some point. You’ll DEFINITELY have to abandon it once the gas runs out and there is none to buy anyhow.

    I can’t predict the exact date we will see things really get bad, I just am completely convinced that they will get really bad, and definitely inside the next decade. Prepare yourself mentally for that day, so you know what to do and do not panic. If you have made all your preps and plans and execute them well, you will do better than 99.99% of the population. Then even if it doesn’t work out, you can go to the Great Beyond knowing you did the best you could to survive Armageddon.

    RE

    6th June 2011 at 2:05 am

  58. howard in nyc says:

    muck

    i’ve tackled your reading list, but in the wrong order. i picked up harry browne’s book about five years ago. and upon your suggestion, i started plowing through human action for the second time the other night.

    i’ve been slacking on hayek, and i started with ‘the road to serfdom’ (of course), but since that one, i haven’t been thorough or systematic. and the only book of hazlitt i have is ‘economics in one lesson’.

    now i know why you make so much sense.

    here is a good hayek story, how he handled inflation: http://brookesnews.com/072304hayek.html

    Picture%2001.jpg

    6th June 2011 at 2:22 am

  59. English Rose says:

    Actually RE, last year you also correctly predicted the civil disturbances in the Middle Eastern and North African Theatres.

    You are the only poster that could write “Bottom line is”, and then write 50 lines underneath it!

    :-) I’m sure that pissed LLPOO off no end.

    6th June 2011 at 4:13 am

  60. llpoh says:

    I almost forgot – English Rose, you ignorant slut.

    Sensetti – hopefully you now understand why you have to be chastened. If you ask RE a question, even one llike what time is it?, you get 2000 words fired back, 1999 of which are indecipherable. Do not let it happen again.

    6th June 2011 at 4:21 am

  61. llpoh says:

    ER – predicting conflict in the middle east is like predicting I will have a dump after my first cup of coffee tommorow. You ignorantsocialist slut.

    And yes it pisses me off. Let there be war.

    6th June 2011 at 4:26 am

  62. English Rose says:

    Let there be war? Typical fucking Yank. Honestly, war mongering even over the internet!

    I don’t do battle of wits with unarmed opponents such as yourself LL POO. :-)

    Why don’t you stick to wanking over your bank statements?

    6th June 2011 at 4:55 am

  63. flash says:

    Learn a trade i.e. skill first and then seek education.
    Plan for the worst , pray for the best.
    If you can build , hunt , grow and cook you’ll be miles ahead of the pack.

    6th June 2011 at 6:39 am

  64. ssgconway says:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north988.html

    Dr. gary North has written, as he does again today (see above) about how to beat the college racket. His ideas morror much of what’s been written here already, but he’s quite thurough and has lots of links. Enjoy!

    6th June 2011 at 8:35 am

  65. sensetti says:

    @ RE

    not new here I read TBP everynight before going to bed. I enjoy the banter. Thanks RE

    6th June 2011 at 8:41 am

  66. Shadows says:

    These are not worthless majors. The author of this list seems to think that the only thing you study for a bachelors degree is the major, and that your major locks you into a career. When has that ever been true? Of course the majority of the classes in any BA from a particular college are the same, which is why employers, if they require a BA often won’t specify any one in particular. A dumb major, to me, would be something intellectually vacuous, your wasting time and money if you aren’t learning anything. My all time favorite has to be Canadian.AmericanStudies, yes that is real, I noticed it on a drop down list of possible majors when I was applying to Western Washington University a year ago. What the he’ll do you study in there, I wonder, History of Hockey 201? Music of Canad: Rush & Justin Bieber?

    6th June 2011 at 8:53 am

  67. Novista says:

    Stuck — thanks for the Jobs speech. Impressive.

    jmarz — many good points there. As for me, I never got beyond an associate degree from the University of Cincinnati — and that was playing the game of “self=development” at Ma Bell. But I had an ambition that didn’t need a college education then, with a technical background and an FCC radiotelephone license, that was the inroad to the niche area of television and radio engineering.

    Skills got me my first TV employment, then later helped build the original Ch. 19 in Cincinnati. Went to Saudi Arabia as a contract engineer on their govt. broadcasting system. Back to the U.S. Next, offered a contract out of the blue for American Samoa. From there, to Australia for ‘a while’ that turned out to be permanent. LOL.

    Almost everything I’ve learned that counted was from self-education. In my spare time, another niche, mostly writing on technical areas, one book published, scores of articles (not great pay but hey! it keeps the wolf from the door) and four years doing a column for a computer magazine.

    Opportunities abound, but you have to work to find them.

    RE — mating ‘managing’ with Austrian economics, well … I’m surprised MA and howie didn’t tear your testicles off and make you eat them. I’m too gentle for such praxeology.

    @ textbooks — apparently the new crop have ‘codes’ in text necessary for completing assignments. And they change for subsequent editions, thus used textbooks have no value.

    6th June 2011 at 9:33 am

  68. Reverse Engineer says:

    @ER

    Oh yea, I forgot about the MENA prediction. Far as the “bottom line”, it was just a pretty looong bottom line. LOL.

    @sensetti

    I recognized your handle. I was aware you are not a newbie even though llpoh didin’t recognize it. He has some memory and reading comprehension issues.

    @ Novista

    Managing economics does not necessarily require predicting human behavior in complex situations. It mainly requires that you can be reactive to whatever those behaviors actually turn out to be. Sort of like being on a sailboat in a storm, if you get hit by a powerful wind gust you let up on the sheets and it keeps you from getting knocked down.

    Anyhow, my main problem with buying Austrian Economics is that some incredible idiots buy into it. Have you ever read Jeff Harding’s stuff on the Daily Capitalist? Talk about me getting predictions wrong! This guy was writing how the weekly Friday Bank failures were a sign the economy was recovering!

    Besides that, Austrian Economics aficionados all seem to be Gold Bugs. Antal Fekete, FOFOA, Muck About here. I’ve written numerous essays on why I do not believe metals are a solution to our monetary problems. I’ve yet to read a decent argument deconstructing those essays. The problems lie in energy and resource management and distribution, not in the choice of monetary instruments. Metals have the same problems with the paradox of thrift that fiat does, actually probably worse since the tendency to hoard them seems even greater then with fiat. Anything which is saved like that doesn’t circulate as currency well. Creating derivative instruments (theoretically gold-backed paper or digicurrency) suffers the same problems fiat does, and Banksters and Pols are just as likely to corrupt that.

    Anyhow, in an environment of Surplus and steady Growth, lots of economic systems can work, though some are more efficient than others at exploiting the resources. No economic system insofar as I know has been successful in managing Scarcity and Shrinkage. That is why Warfare evolves out of these situations.

    RE

    6th June 2011 at 10:22 am

  69. Administrator says:

    Gold up $10 today and is now 1% from its all-time high in the history of life on earth.

    The much touted collapse of precious metals by deflation doomsters has failed to materialize.

    Mr. Perfect Predictions strikes again.

    6th June 2011 at 10:54 am

  70. newsjunkie says:

    I’d like to see more intelligent, ethical, mathematically inclined, young people go into Criminal Justice, specializing in financial crimes.

    6th June 2011 at 11:06 am

  71. Reverse Engineer says:

    We haven’t had the margin calls yet :-)

    Not to mention those pesky Derivatives. Did you read Tyler Durden’s piece over on ZH?

    The Real “Margin” Threat: $600 Trillion In OTC Derivatives, A Multi-Trillion Variation Margin Call, And A Collateral Scramble That Could Send US Treasurys To All Time Records…Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/05/2011 21:42 -0400

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/real-margin-threat-600-trillion-exchange-derivatives-moving-central-clearing-multi-trillion-

    RE

    6th June 2011 at 11:07 am

  72. Shadows says:

    I’m pre-pharmacy. It appeals to my personality type, it can go anywhere, and people will always need medicine. It’s not something lots of people can flood into, a la law, as a Pharm D is much more difficult than a JD. It has a pretty sweet ROI, too, by the way. Yes, it’s one of the “hard sciences”, but I don’t view the liberal arts as worthless by any means. You never know when the knowledge you can gain from a rigorous liberal arts education comes in handy. I’m the type of person that tends to know a ton of esoteric trivia about a wide range of topics, to the point that people, if they need to know something will always tend to ask me first. I just enjoy learning…but like Jmarz said, I can do that WITHOUT completing a bachelors in English Lit.
    I supplement what I learn in class with education I give myself in my spare time, on websites like this. Not to say that the liberal arts requirements I had to complete weren’t interesting, but I probably could have learned them myself on my own time.

    Bottom line, higher education should really only be considered if 1.It is necessary for your career path (in my case) and/or 2. You are genuinely interested in learning.

    If you think a piece of sheepskin will automatically raise your earning potential, you are being quite optimistic. Witness all the BA’s and law degrees working jobs with pay below the national average today. I have a suspicion that much of a widely-touted income gap between college graduates and high school graduates simply consists of the college bound being more intelligent and ambitious to begin with, rather than anything the universities add to them. And unless you are the scum of the Earth, and intend to work at Goldman Sachs, there is no reason to work yourself to a soulless shell in high school and spend the big bucks to go to Harvard. Why pay 200 grand for an education that’s really not much different than what you can get at Cheapass Regional State School, or even a community college? And if you claim it isn’t, than why do they allow you to transfer credits, hmm? The truth is that most of the prestige of “good” schools is simply the reputation they have as the places Smart People Go, rather than any superiority in their educational program.

    6th June 2011 at 11:23 am

  73. Muck About says:

    @howard’nNY: Thanks.. Harry Browne probably made the biggest difference to my life’s path as I read it when it was first published and it was like a BIG LED lit up.. He is truly an original thinker. As far as Von Mises, Hazlitt and F.A. Hayek are concerned, the last two are the pupils of the first, so hearing echoes is normal.

    @RE: You did it again, telling people what I promulgate which you obviously still don’t have a clue.

    Not in any particular order, I believe in the following: honesty to self and everyone else no matter what; stay out of debt at any cost (i.e. accept whatever reduced “standard of living” you have to in order not to borrow); Be totally, 100% responsible for your actions and words. If you fuck up, say after me, “Gee, I fucked up and I apologize for that!”.; be kind to women and children (no sexism here – I’d want them to be kind to me too!) and dogs. Fuck cats.; never stop working to be a better, more informed and nicer person (this one is harder to do than the rest); never stop learning new things; never stop working at something…….

    I fully accept the fact that the paradigms under which I grew up, worked and (mostly) prospered have and are changing. But that’s ALWAYS been the case as time marches on. Things change, success is a moving target and you work (WORK) within the paradigms that exist now – and a good chunk of the paradigms that I worked through are still as good as the list above is.

    But there are new ones; mainly too many rats in the box and since WWII, far less freedom as our government morphs into the monster that T. Jefferson predicted it would before he put his life and fortune on the line signing things (that are now ignored) back in the 18th Century.

    That’s what I lay out here whenever the urge strikes and you shut up long enough… LOL..

    MA

    6th June 2011 at 2:41 pm

  74. Reverse Engineer says:

    @Muck About

    Can I shorten that down for you?

    Truth, Justice, and the American Way. The Adventures of Super Muck About!

    41QKGT81VCL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

    Good Old Fashioned Family Values! That’s what we need here. The Golden Rule! The 10 Commandments! Hey, while your at it, how about Utopia? And of course good old fashioned Free Market Capitalism!

    Sorry Superman, Fuk-U-shima is spitting out Kryptonite and the Dream World is turning into a Nightmare. Your experience was all an illusion, courtesy of the thermodynamic energy of Oil. Now we gotta mop up the mess the dream left behind, and that is not going to happen with good old fashioned famly values. Sorry.

    RE

    6th June 2011 at 3:18 pm

  75. TeresaE says:

    @RE,

    so glad you believe I haven’t a clue.

    All I know is what I see, learn or uncover

    And I know from mucking through a nine year “downturn,” that the government will keep on hiring until the music stops.

    I also know from my HR background, they will only (primarily) hire college grads. Hell, my town is currently looking for a four year degree to fill an entry level clerk job that any eighth grader could do.

    Because those grads with gumption and brains and worthwhile majors tend to run from the government, and because I interviewed hundreds of government workers and reviewed 10x that number of resumes, I know that the government does hire worthless degrees.

    I do agree with you that once the shit hits the fan (and none of us know when that actually happens, hell it is already way past how long I thought the fraud could go on) there won’t be government jobs. But, for today, there are MANY. Federal is hiring everywhere, states are hiring sales tax auditors and building inspectors.

    You are right, I’m not very confrontational on the internet, mainly because I learned long ago that beauty fades, but stupid is forever.

    Finally, this is not the first time you have stated I make you puke.

    You are welcome

    (I’m figuring all the purging is great for your waistline).

    6th June 2011 at 3:51 pm

  76. Reverse Engineer says:

    Teresa, do you even READ the Newz? As I said, clueless.

    RE

    State, local layoffs to hit record levels
    By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney June 6, 2011: 12:32 PM ET
    State and local government job losses are expected to soar this summer as teachers are laid off.

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Don’t look to state and local governments to prop up the job market.

    To the contrary, this cash-strapped sector is set to go on a record-breaking layoff binge when the new fiscal year starts on July 1.

    33917PrintComment
    State and local governments are forecast to shed up to 110,000 jobs in the third quarter, the first time the blood-letting has risen into the triple digits, according to IHS Global Insight.

    “We’re on a downward path,” said Greg Daco, principal U.S. economist at IHS. “It’s not looking good.”

    State and local government employment has been a drag on the economy all year, averaging a loss of 23,000 jobs a month over the past three months. Meanwhile, the private sector has created an average of 180,000 a month during the same period.

    In May, public employment shrunk by 29,000 jobs, mostly at the state and local level, while businesses created 83,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday. All told, the sector has lost 510,000 positions since its peak in August 2008.

    States still cutting
    Though tax revenue is starting to rise, states are still wrestling with multi-billion-dollar budget gaps. Federal stimulus funds helped minimize job cuts until now, but that money essentially runs out on June 30.

    So states are planning to slash funds for education, social services and local governments, as well as downsize their payrolls even more, in the coming fiscal year.

    And that’s the good news.

    The bad news is that local governments are in even worse shape. Not only are they losing state aid, but they are finally feeling the fallout from the mortgage meltdown. Property tax assessments, a major funding source for municipalities, have only started to drop.

    Hiring slows, unemployment rises
    Caught in a fiscal bind, local governments will have to reduce personnel expenses since it is the costliest part of their budgets and they’ve already slashed their programs and services.

    “We’re at the tip of the iceberg,” said Christiana McFarland, the National League of Cities’ program director for finance and economic development. Cities “don’t have many options at this point.”

    Teachers and school staff will bear the brunt of the layoffs this summer, as hundreds of thousands will likely be laid off around the nation. The national job numbers should reflect the hit in July and September.

    It’s not uncommon for state and local governments to take longer to emerge from a recession. But usually by then, businesses have ramped up their hiring. This time around, private sector hiring has remained soft, making government cutbacks that much more painful.

    0:00 / 2:15 State workers jump ship
    And it will likely take at least a year before the state and local government job market revives, economists said. Until then, they are waiting to see the extent of the downsizing.

    “The only question is ‘how much worse?,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

    6th June 2011 at 3:55 pm

  77. Reverse Engineer says:

    Here’s another one for you.

    RE

    State employee jobs declining
    More eliminations expected when proposed budget begins July 1

    8:00 PM, Jun. 4, 2011
    Written by
    Mike Hasten Filed Under
    News
    Local News
    BATON ROUGE — Layoffs, resignations, retirements and position eliminations chopped more than 7,000 jobs from the state payroll between the day Gov. Bobby Jindal took office and Dec. 31, records obtained from the Department of Civil Service show.

    And judging from the governor’s proposed budget and amendments adopted by the House for the fiscal year starting July 1, more job eliminations — many requiring layoffs of state workers — are on the way.

    The proposed budget slices jobs in most departments of state government. Not all positions in state government are filled. Departments often have more positions than people, but over the years, that number has dwindled.

    “It’s not been this low since the Roemer administration,” State Civil Service Director Shannon Templet told the Senate Finance Committee Friday as it examined her office’s budget.

    In 1991, former Gov. Buddy Roemer left office with 82,051 employee positions in the executive branch of government.

    Civil Service records show the state had 93,554 employee slots when Jindal took office in January 2008 and 86,429 on Dec. 31.

    Templet said Friday there currently are 82,842 full-time and part-time employees, just 791 more than 20 years ago.

    In the current year, more than 1,900 positions were targeted for elimination, Templet said. “This fiscal year, 727 were laid off. That’s people.”

    “We’re down about 4,200 people” overall from previous years, she said, and “when they hear layoffs are coming, people retire or quit.”

    Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Michot, R-Lafayette, said he has heard for years “cabinet officials say ‘I can’t do anything because Civil Service ties my hands.’ If there are bad apples, they need help getting rid of them.”

    Templet said Civil Service “reformed itself” in the past few years and created a more flexible system. “One size fits all doesn’t work any more.”

    One problem she is seeing, though is “there is certainly low morale” because state employees are facing a second year with no chance of getting a merit pay increase because of state budget problems.

    “State employees get a bad rap,” Templet said. “They are dedicated, hard-working employees. They are thankful for their jobs.”

    Denying any chance of a raise, though, “is not the best HR practice.”

    Unless a system is created that would reward employees for hard work, “the morale problem would be exacerbated,” she said. “We’re already below the marketplace. The further we fall behind, the more that increases.”

    The Civil Service Commission has twice sent to Jindal a “pay for performance” plan, but the governor rejected it. She said an adjusted plan is being developed that will be put up for public review in October or November and then voted on by the commission in December.

    An examination of state employment during the past five administrations shows a rise and slight fall of state employment prior to Jindal taking office.

    Jean Jones, deputy director of Civil Service, said the department keeps track of employees, but “our role is not to determine how many employees are needed. Any time a new program is created or service is offered, it usually requires more employees.”

    Governors and their administrations over the years have created numerous new programs requiring staffing.

    For example, following the 9/11 attacks, Gov. Mike Foster’s administration beefed up the Office of Emergency Preparedness into the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

    After Hurricane Katrina, Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s administration established the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

    Civil Service records show former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ fourth term saw the fastest growth in state jobs in the past 20 years. He expanded the 82,051 of Roemer’s administration 8.65 percent to 89,148 by the time he left office in 1995.

    Gov. Mike Foster’s first administration increased the number 1.87 percent to 90,819 in 1999. After established GOHSEP and other programs, there was a 3.06 percent climb in employees during his second term.

    When Blanco came into office in December 2003, there were 93,601 state jobs on the payroll. As she left four years later, there were 0.05 percent fewer positions, at 93,554.

    6th June 2011 at 3:59 pm

  78. TeresaE says:

    They are only talking about layoffs, not actually doing them. And to answer your question, no, I don’t find much of a compelling reason to read NY’s local news.

    Michigan has been through this SIX times in the past eight/nine years. Basically, we haven’t cut ANYTHING, hell, in many areas we have added workers, departments and bigger budgets.

    I know they are yelling like chicken-little and I know that a janitor here, or a file clerk there has lost their great gig. And yep, they sure aren’t re-filling many positions lost to attrition.

    But actually SHRINK, the workforce? Don’t make me laugh.

    Maybe New York has run out of lane to kick the can, but I have faith for them for now. If Michigan can put off any actual changes (not to mention California), then there is hope for the NY workers.

    You apparently are of the belief that magically states are going to fix their problems. I am of the belief that kick the can, play fast and loose with numbers and continue to avoid the pain that NEEDS to happen won’t happen. At least until it HAS to, and we are a way off from that.

    6th June 2011 at 4:16 pm

  79. Reverse Engineer says:

    The way in which they have avoided the layoffs in all the prior years was by accessing the Bond Market. The Bond Market is at melt down stage now. Da Fed cannot buy State and Muni Bonds without a massive QE, and the Chinese sure aren’t going to buy them.

    So I will make a bet with you. There will be extensive Goobermint layoffs after July 1st, which will get the kind of business which went on in WI a couple of months ago rolling in quite a few states. Loser has to put the Dunce Cap on in their next 10 posts after September 1st by adding a Dunce Cap pic, OK?

    dunce_cap.jpg

    RE

    6th June 2011 at 4:29 pm

  80. StuckInNJ says:

    It appears that we have FEWER government workers in 2009 than we did in 1962.

    http://www.opm.gov/feddata/HistoricalTables/TotalGovernmentSince1962.asp

    Of course, it Gub’mint supplied data so who the fuck knows how accurate it is.

    TotalGovernmentSince1962.asp

    6th June 2011 at 4:51 pm

  81. Reverse Engineer says:

    Wow Stuck, great Cleanup Hitting! Tag Team on Teresa!

    the-rockers.jpg

    RE

    6th June 2011 at 5:17 pm

  82. Reverse Engineer says:

    BTW, its not surprising that total Goobermint workforce decreased in size. Computers are a big part of that. Lots of number crunching jobs in the IRS were taken over by computers, and the military also needs fewer clerical personnel as a result. Computers also allow Social Workers to carry bigger caseloads.

    What is even more important to realize is that during the period from 1960 to 2010, FSofA Population nearly doubled from 179M to 307M. So in fact, Da Goobermint workforce is a much SMALLER percentage of the population now than it was in the 1960s.

    Teresa as usual is clueless, spouting anecdotal information based on her ideological beliefs. The facts show otherwise. Below is the table Stuck tried to put up in text format

    Year Executive branch civilians (thousands) Uniformed military personnel (thousands) Legislative and judicial branch personnel (thousands) Total Federal personnel (thousands)
    1962 2,485 2,840 30 5,354
    1963 2 2,498 2,732 30 5,260
    1964 2 2,470 2,719 31 5,220
    1965 2,496 2,687 32 5,215
    1966 2,726 3,129 33 5,888
    1967 2,968 3,413 34 6,416
    1968 3,020 3,584 35 6,639
    1969 3 3,040 3,499 36 6,575
    1970 4 2,944 3,104 38 6,085
    1971 4 2,883 2,752 40 5,675
    1972 2,823 2,360 42 5,225
    1973 2,781 2,289 44 5,113
    1974 2,847 2,198 46 5,091
    1975 2,848 2,164 49 5,061
    1976 2,833 2,119 50 5,002
    1977 2,840 2,112 53 5,005
    1978 2,875 2,099 55 5,028
    1979 2,823 2,063 53 4,939
    1980 4 2,821 2,090 55 4,965
    1981 4 2,806 2,122 54 4,982
    1982 2,770 2,147 55 4,972
    1983 2,820 2,163 56 5,039
    1984 2,854 2,178 56 5,088
    1985 3,008 2,190 58 5,256
    1986 2,966 2,206 55 5,228
    1987 3,030 2,213 58 5,301
    1988 3,054 2,176 59 5,289
    1989 3,064 2,168 60 5,292
    1990 4 3,067 2,106 61 5,234
    1991 4 3,048 2,040 64 5,152
    1992 3,017 1,848 66 4,931
    1993 2,947 1,744 66 4,758
    1994 2,908 1,648 63 4,620
    1995 2,858 1,555 62 4,475
    1996 2,786 1,507 61 4,354
    1997 2,725 1,439 62 4,226
    1998 2,727 1,407 62 4,196
    1999 2,687 1,386 63 4,135
    2000 4 2,639 1,426 63 4,129
    2001 4 2,640 1,428 64 4,132
    2002 2,630 1,456 66 4,152
    2003 2,666 1,478 65 4,210
    2004 2,650 1,473 64 4,187
    2005 2,636 1,436 65 4,138
    2006 2,637 1,432 63 4,133
    2007 2,636 1,427 63 4,127
    2008 2,692 1,450 64 4,206
    2009 2,774 1,591 66 4,430

    RE

    6th June 2011 at 5:29 pm

  83. llpoh says:

    ER – I have seen the aresenal you bring to a battle of wits – a straw and two leaves of toilet paper. You really need to control your delusions of grandeur before they get you in trouble. You ignorant slut.

    6th June 2011 at 5:33 pm

  84. English Rose says:

    ll poo

    You need to keep your wits about you …

    it’s spelled “arsenal” you dickhead.

    Wanker ;-)

    6th June 2011 at 6:47 pm

  85. Tim says:

    @ ER – I’m going to take the opposing view here, too. I live in a border city in Texas. Construction work here has BOOMED for the last 4 years, with little sign of letting down. Military spending and Border Patrol are the two biggies. They are building Ports of Entries, Border Patrol Stations, Bridges across the river, and ramping up the local military ranges like nothing I’ve ever seen. I think the number of dollars spent on construction is half a trillion (?) Fortunate for me and my family, as we benefit directly from Goobermint spending. But someone, some personnel has to occupy the new facilities. And, it’s not like they’re closing any existing facilities down.

    One difference I think I may have picked up on is the difference between local/state and Federal spending. The states and local entities cannot print money, so they’re constrained by an actual budget. The Federal Gov’t has a technology called the printing press which enables them to print as much money as they want, in order to continue with their obscene and dim-witted wars on this/that/the other thing. (CAVEAT: I didn’t read for comprehension, I just scanned the headlines.)

    So, maybe it’s a possibility the non-money printing governments HAVE to perform layoffs, while the money-printing Government can continue to hire at will, until the whole thing comes crashing down, in spectacular fashion.

    search%3Fq%3Dhindenburg%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D709%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=446&vpy=375&dur=508&hovh=206&hovw=245&tx=123&ty=107&page=1&ndsp=28&ved=1t:429,r:16,s:0&biw=1280&bih=709

    6th June 2011 at 7:12 pm

  86. Tim says:

    I can see I’m a dim-witted fool who cannot insert jpegs into the post. It was going to be the Hindenburg.

    6th June 2011 at 7:14 pm

  87. llpoh says:

    ER – you ignorant slut, how would you know – you ignoramus Brits spell ass arse, favor favour, etc. etc. The time has long past that you Royalists can teach us Colonials anything.

    Tim – if you are taaking the side opposite RE, then by definition you are not a dim-witted fool.

    6th June 2011 at 7:21 pm

  88. StuckInNJ says:

    Fuck the banks.

    6th June 2011 at 7:52 pm

  89. ssgconway says:

    In Michigan, not filling vacancies and early retirements 91 fill for each 2 retirees this time around) have kelp total state civil service employment under 50,000. (It was 50,000 in 1970 and we had a smaller population then.) The workforce has shifted, as well, to be much more heavily skewed toward Corrections than it used to be, with correspondingly fewer in other positions. Corrections Officers do not need degrees; many of my night-school students have been C.O.s trying to earn degrees so that they could move up, or out, of their jobs. There are about 15,000 in the system, and they are the single largest classification in MI state gov’t.
    While bureaucracy does tend to expand (see “Parkinson’s Law” for a humorous, but basically true explanation of how that happens), limits were reached some time ago, at least in Michigan, where our 10 years of recession have exhausted every one-time fix, gimmick and shell game that they could dream up. The stimulus funds only delayed the inevitable. The game of ‘kick the can’ is indeed over. If layoffs, now happening at the local level to cops, firemen, teachers, etc., do not happen, en masse, in MI state gov’t, it will be because the money is saved elsewhere – via pay & benefit reductions, etc.
    Getting back to education, per se, if one does want to attend college in a traditional manner, Berea College has never charged tuition in over a century of its existence. http://www.berea.edu/ is their website. They primarily serve the poor of Appalachia, and their students work for their education by serving Appalachian communities. If you can get admitted there, it sounds like a pretty good deal.

    6th June 2011 at 7:58 pm

  90. Reverse Engineer says:

    @Tim

    There is no doubt that part of the “stimulus” of the Helicopter Man’s funny money has gone into various “shovel ready” projects. Obviously with construction among the hardest hit industries, some Goobermint construction projects have dropped in to fill in the gap. Quite true up here as well, I know quite a few locals who are working on projects on the Military bases up here.

    However, those folks aren’t Goobermint workers, they are Private Contractors hired by Da Goobermint to do these projects. Teresa’s argument was with respect to Goobermint workers, not spending by Da Goobermint on Bridges to Nowhere building.

    Have they started building any big Concentration Camps down there yet? I did read about the Human Waste Reprocessing Facility in San Antonio.

    Cities Fueled By Human Waste – San Antonio Goes Brown, Not Green
    ——————————————————————————–
    24839_2_468.jpeg

    Note the nice Green Color? Here’s another picture from inside the plant

    soylentgreen.jpg

    RE

    6th June 2011 at 8:02 pm

  91. Reverse Engineer says:

    ER got your knickers in a twist llpoh?

    knickers-in-a-twist1.jpg

    RE

    6th June 2011 at 8:07 pm

  92. llpoh says:

    367842085v2_225x225_Front.jpg

    ER is a mental midget, and it is so easy to piss her off. She makes DP look like Einstein. Here is a photo of her at work:

    midget-stripper.jpg

    6th June 2011 at 8:25 pm

  93. Punk in Drublic says:

    LLPOH
    You think just because English Rose is a butt ugly halfling stripper she is dumb? That is sexist.

    6th June 2011 at 8:38 pm

  94. llpoh says:

    Punk – no indeedy. I apologize for the confusion, and to all butt-ugly midget strippers out there. It is mere coincidence that she is a butt-ugly midget stripper and also happens to be dumb as a rock. I never wanted to imply that all butt-ugly midget strippers are stupid – just English Rose. This is ER without her make-up on:

    resize_670989_ugly-woman1.jpg

    6th June 2011 at 8:48 pm

  95. Punk in Drublic says:

    That is good, I’m glad for the clarification.

    English Rose, I am very sorry to hear about your condition. To suffer traumatic brain injury on top of all of that. These are hard times, even the best butt ugly midget strippers can fall to shame and wind up giving hand jobs for a bus token and half a can of spam. Fortunately for you, I know that Smokey is a very wealthy and….. eccentric man. I’m sure he would be very interested in getting to know a woman of your….. girth.

    6th June 2011 at 9:17 pm

  96. llpoh says:

    Punk – I am sure ER has plenty of experience hanging onto 11.5″ poles.

    6th June 2011 at 10:08 pm

  97. Iowan says:

    Some useful advice to those going to college in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields would be to use the system for what they can get out of it. For example, a lot of engineering programs have significant resources devoted to helping students find internships that last from a summer to a whole year.

    Another thing for a science or applied science major to do would be to get involved in a professor’s research program early on. I’m sure a computer science major could benefit from the extra coding experience, and all can benefit from learning how to think with the scientific method. Critical thinking skills were once called survival skills…

    And for people in fields like IT and computer sciences where there are thousands and thousands of schools that offer degrees in the material, would certainly benefit from minoring or learning the subject matter in a different field. I bet there are some jobs in computer modeling of fracking for hydrocarbons for people that like coding and know something about geology…

    6th June 2011 at 10:57 pm

  98. English Rose says:

    My name is David.

    Hint to llpoo…. that’s a man’s name you ignorant cunt.

    7th June 2011 at 12:19 am

  99. LLPOH says:

    ER – If indeed you are David, then I apologize.

    Perhaps you might want to consider a more manly name, if indeed your name is David. How about British Pansy? No, no, too masculine. What about Lacy Lucy? No, still too masculine. Well, then, how about Pommy Princess? That’s it – perfect. Captures your manly essence perfectly, you cross-dressing-too-stupid-to-come-up-with-a-gender-appropriate-pseudonym ignorant slut.

    7th June 2011 at 12:38 am

  100. LLPOH says:

    ER – and I am sure I am right about your proclivity to hang onto 11.5 inch poles, whatever your real name is.

    7th June 2011 at 12:40 am

  101. Buckhed says:

    LLPOH….maybe he calls himself English Rose because he has a connection with Elton John….that English cocksucker .

    Here’s Elton singing about him.

    7th June 2011 at 1:21 am

  102. llpoh says:

    Buckhed – I just about wet myself laughing. Thanks very much.

    I cannot believe a man would name himself English Rose, so I am still betting she is a she.

    7th June 2011 at 1:26 am

  103. British Bulldog says:

    ll poo

    Bite me Winnie!

    7th June 2011 at 2:28 am

  104. Buckhed says:

    British Bulldog…I guess in England you don’t know how to spell certain slang terms, you need to know it’s spelled weenie. Your’s is called a weenie because it’s under six inches. I on the other hand have a cock because it’s over eight inches….I’m quite proud of it too. I would send you some pictures of it on Twitter but I did that already to get a dickhead democrat in a hell of a lot of trouble.

    7th June 2011 at 2:55 am

  105. llpoh says:

    Isn’t that cute. ER has a little friend. Fat, slobbering and stupid. Surprise surprise.

    7th June 2011 at 3:11 am

  106. Reverse Engineer says:

    Here is ER doing Charity Work in Nigeria in the 90s. She is revered among Nigerian Schoolchildren as the “Mother Theresa” of Nigeria.

    Peace-Corps-Volunteer-What-is-it-Really-Like.jpg

    Here is a picture of ERs Great Great Great Grandmother from France, Joan of Arc

    Joan-of-Arc-leelee-sobieski-321507_600_742.jpg

    Further back in history, ER’s maternal line has been traced through mitochondrial DNA analysis back to an Amazon Princess Gabrielle

    renee-o-connor-as-gabrielle-in-xena-warrior-princess-playback-image-2.jpg?1250755376

    Gabby was a Lesbian

    tumblr_lj5r48NlM61qiecfro1_400.jpg

    but she was captured briefly and raped so her Mitochondrial DNA was passed on eventually to Joan of Arc

    renee-o-connor-as-gabrielle-in-xena-warrior-princess-playback-image-3.jpg?1250755386

    Good and Evil fought a long battle in ERs geneology until Pure Good and Pure Evil were separated between ER and Blythe Masters.

    RE

    7th June 2011 at 4:22 am

  107. British Bulldog says:

    @Blockhead…..

    You’re a really interesting guy. What are they called between 6 inches and 8 inches?

    7th June 2011 at 9:26 am

  108. Colma Rising says:

    English Rose (dave?) And British Bullock:

    Any bets on how long before Princess Kate starts banging a Sheik?

    7th June 2011 at 11:38 am

  109. English Rose says:

    Coma Tose

    Your best bet would be to contact a bookmakers/betting shop. Do you have them in America?

    I bet you do, really big ones. Big Mother Fucking Betting Shops.

    Good Luck. Don’t bet your underwater house on it though.

    7th June 2011 at 1:03 pm

  110. Buckhed says:

    British Bulldog said:

    “You’re a really interesting guy. What are they called between 6 inches and 8 inches?”

    In Britain BB they’d be called tourists . If most British men awoke at night with a hard on and bumped into the wall on the way to the loo, they’d break their noses .

    7th June 2011 at 1:09 pm

  111. llpoh says:

    This is the offspring you get when you cross English Rose with British Bulldog:

    really-ugly-dog.jpg

    7th June 2011 at 7:15 pm

  112. Colma Rising says:

    ER…

    Underwater house?

    Really? Well, I guess that’s funny when I imagine llpoh’s pic saying it. Other than that I should mention Harry Potter Blows.

    I still imagine you as the imp from 300…

    7th June 2011 at 8:28 pm

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