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  • Graduating in This Economy

    89944091_ced0ad12da_oIn Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, it is argued that the year you are born could have a monumental impact on the success you see in your lifetime.  For example, in the 1860s and 1870s, the US economy went through an amazing boom.  If you were lucky enough to be born in the 1830s, then you had an opportunity that others missed out on.   If you were born in the 1840s, you missed those opportunities, and if you were born before the 1830s, you likely were too old and already set in a lifestyle which would have made taking advantage of opportunity difficult.  That may help explain the fact that out of the world’s richest 75 people in history, 14 were Americans born between 1831-1840.

    Are we experiencing a shift?

    Just as a generation can take advantage of the years they were born, you could also be disadvantaged based on the year you were born.  In this economy, is the same type of shift in place now?

    Who would want to be graduating school this year? You’d be entering an economy that is in the worse shape in generations.  Those of us who were lucky enough to graduate before this economic calamity started, have been lucky enough to build up our work experience, pass beyond entry level positions, and hopefully will be able to benefit when the economy finally rebounds.

    Because so many people are looking for jobs right now, entry-level positions are harder to come by. People with actual work experience are likely to take those jobs in order to stay employed, so graduating students are in a position where they’re entering a workforce that has no place for them.  When the economy finally rebounds, those who graduate this year will likely have had fewer opportunities and thus be in a disadvantageous position when opportunities do open up.


    Is this generation going to be the generation who was born after the most beneficial years?  Will we look back at this time and say you’d be disadvantaged to graduate in 2009? That very well could be the truth, but if you are graduating this year, it’s important to put yourself in the best possible position to make it through this.

    -Be open to relocating for your first job, it’s an important one.
    -Leverage your internships and work experience to find a solid first job


    Adam Salamon is Partnerships Director at Bazaarvoice, Inc., blogs about social media, entrepreneurship, and pop culture.


    Adam Salamon is currently Partnerships Director at Bazaarvoice, Inc. helping support company expansion, partner evaluation, and strategy. He was a founding member of Bazaarvoice and has helped propel the company from 10 people to one of the world’s top performing start-ups and social commerce companies. Adam has extensive history in sales and business development and is an avid writer on the topics of social media, e-commerce, and marketing. You can regularly catch Adam on his blog, but he also contributes to Brazen Careerist, Personal Branding Magazine, and Bazaarblog. Adam is a proud graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, with three degrees in Government, Middle Eastern Studies, and Hebrew.

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    4 comments on “Graduating in This Economy
    1. avatar
      Niki says:

      This is so true. Graduating this year is really not a good time, which is why I somehow wish I could go back to school. But I believe it’s all a matter of perspective. There are those who beat the odds even during a rough patch. Good luck to all the new grads out there.

    2. avatar
      David Keller says:

      I already know that graduating in this economy sucks. All you did was state the obvious. Why don’t you try and give some advice about how we can make things better for undergraduates.

      Be open to relocating for my first job? OK, I am open.

      Leverage my experiences to get a job? Duh! You do that in a good economy and a bad economy. So how is this going to help me get a job now?

      You say I have to put myself in the best possible position to make i through this but state no actionable steps. You state the problem but not the solution

    3. avatar
      Derrick Kwa says:

      I think how tough it is is also a matter of what you want to do. Gladwell’s book also mentions Joe Flom, who succeeded as a lawyer because his background didn’t allow him to get into a traditional large law firm – he had to start out at a smaller firm, doing things that larger firms didn’t want to do, and when the world changed, his skill set became more relevant and he became hugely successful.

      And I think that can be said of today’s economy as well. Yes, it’s tough, no doubt about it. But I think there’s also huge possibilities here – possibilities to try new things, to join fresh and remarkable startups, etc. The world is definitely changing – and if you can see ahead, if you can establish yourself in this economy, I believe it will hold you in great stead for when the economy eventually picks back up (and I’m sure it will).

    4. avatar
      Josh Stone says:

      Obviously its not going to be as easy as it was in the 1990’s to embark on a conventional career path, but because of social media/web 2.0 its never been easier to get your name out there. I think its just going to take an aggressive attitude and a little creativity to get work right now.

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