Rant: We the Victims

A young adult of Singapore worries about many things. Home prices, their probable inability to afford to comfortably raise a family in the future, dying alone, calories. Chiefly among them and almost always most imminent, is getting a good, stable job and getting started earning their keep.

Getting a job, much less a well paying one, is a serious problem. Politicians and people with flashy degrees and fat paychecks can go on about it being simply a matter of bad timing; that it is just too bad that some of us graduated right when the biggest banks in the financial world were shutting down in the face of crisis. They are right that the timing was indeed bad, but there is a major problem that many fresh graduates face.

The good jobs, even entry level ones, are often looking for experienced personnel, and that is completely understandable. In many companies though, an internship does not necessarily count. The reason for that is that the work that most interns do are not the type of specialised things that regular staff are required to do.

Well, if you aren’t going to let the interns learn the ropes but instead leave them the coffee-bearing duties that result in next to no work experience, then of course you aren’t going to consider interns. These companies have effectively employed labour for next to no money and milked them of their time in exchange for little or no knowledge or viable experience. What happens then? Many university students are faced with the prospect of doing work that they are vastly overqualified for. Between an entry level job that requires experience and a job looking for candidates that are less qualified (and therefore are paid less), graduates are faced with no choice.

And this was all okay as long as the schools were giving ‘credit’ to them. Nobody objected. Neither the companies, who were happy to employ cheap labour by the batch, nor the students, who were happy to just get an easy credit. But is this what schools should accept? Does it not amount to a shortchanging their students?

I’m probably never going to finish this post properly. Back to work.

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