Choosing to major in any of the humanities disciplines brings with it many intellectual challenges and rewards. You learn a new body of knowledge, how to think, read, and write about it critically, and how to engage in disputes over its issues in productive ways. You also take on the challenge of justifying your major to your parents.
The youngest workers, the ones who grew up alongside the latest and greatest technologies, have always been assumed to be more skilled in their use. It's probably been like this since the invention of the typewriter, but it's increasingly true now, in an era when most office jobs rely on digital technologies that adapt seemingly by the minute. In addition, today's young workers are more educated than ever before, boasting more years of education than any previous generation. There's just one problem: recent research shows that Gen Y workers in the U.S. are anything but highly skilled.
By now, we probably all know someone who struggles with student loan debt or job woes. Many of us young folk went to college hoping to make our dreams come true, only to find ourselves saddled with enormous debt and no job prospects. Young grads are still having trouble nailing down that first professional job, and many people aren't working in the industries they trained for. It wasn't exactly a walk in the park for older people either, whose careers went kaput and they had to go back to school or get new training. Stories from the Great Recession are many among us.
Humans are fascinated by the worst-case scenario -- the blown job interview, the botched salary negotiation, the bad college choice. It's not always schadenfreude, either. By analyzing the bad things that could happen, it's easier to prepare and avoid them. This year, PayScale's most popular posts were the ones that helped readers dodge disaster.
Four years ago, I was sitting in my college dorm in Conway, Arkansas, wondering why paying $39,290 a year possibly made sense. I had come to college with hopes that it would make me a better person, but I soon realized that I would learn far more by going out to experience that world, rather than paying people tell me about the world. Disillusioned with school, I left.
Recently, billionaire investor Mark Cuban declared that fixing the student debt crisis is the most important thing our government can do to restore the national economy. His idea: cap federal student loans at $10,000 per student, per year. Few would argue that student loan debt isn’t a problem of epic proportions, but Cuban’s explanation of the crisis and his solution resulted in mixed reactions.