A Letter To The Class Of 2010 (Not A Typo)

Dear Class of 2010,

I'm sorry to say that your time in the sun is fading fast. Those of you who have gotten comfortable in your job at the country store, instead of continuing to pursue a job in your field, are now facing the reality of being yesterday's news. You ask, how can this be?

The newest model to hit the workplace is the Class of 2011. The paint is barely dry on these kids, yet employers are placing down payments (also known as signing bonuses) to ensure they get the latest and greatest available.

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the growing trend of companies remaining loyal to this year's fresh crop of grads. Those who graduated in the middle of the worst recession in recent history, the class of 2009 and 2010 have found they no longer have the appeal of those behind them.

Accounting firms like Ernst & Young hired 2,800 undergraduates and graduate students this year—22% more than in 2010, according to Dan Black, Americas director of campus recruiting. Black points out that unless members of the class of 2009 or 2010 have gone back to get a masters, they are going to have a tough time finding a job. "We might hire some of them, but we feel beholden to the folks who are graduating this year," states Black.

"No fair!" you might be crying. Well, eventually it was going to happen. Someone younger was going to take your place. But who knew it was going to happen so quickly?

You can groan and moan or you can take matters into your own hand. You can get serious about your job search, as each year you wait will have a compounding impact on your earning potential. Begin by:

Being the grownup-Tell your parents to stop subsidizing your lifestyle, as it's unlikely you will be able to sustain this level of living when you finally land your first "real" job. This dose of reality will ignite the fire you will need in your belly to overcome these odds.

Stepping away from the computer and making in-person connections with working people, who can help open the door for you. Then walk through.

Conduct a job search as if your livelihood depends on it. Oh wait, it does!

Take all those pennies you've been saving (you have been saving, right?) and hire a Job Search Coach or Mentor to help you get your life back on track.

Yes, it's not fair that those that are younger and less experienced are the ones being pursued by employers. However, there is something good about being the underdog. You can slip into the winner's circle when no one is looking. Go forth Class of 2010 and pursue your dreams!

© 2011 Human Resource Solutions. All Rights Reserved.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions and author of the new book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey). Visit Roberta's Blog or her Linked-in Group Suddenly in Charge! Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, HR Matters.

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  • Roberta Matuson

    I agree with some of what you say David. However, entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. In my opinion, if you want to be a successful consultant, then it's best to have experience in the subject matter that you are consulting in. Think about it. Would you jump out of a plane with a sky diver instructor who has never made a jump? Most of us wouldn't. And most businesses wouldn't hire a consultant who doesn't have a track record, especially when so many people do.

    Creating a business, is an entirely different story. You'll have to be prepared to risk and sacrifice a lot over the next few years to launch your company.

    It may be time to look at Plan B. This may mean moving to another location, where the economy is a bit stronger. Taking a summer internship, where you will be able to demonstrate you are worthy of a full-time offer. Accepting less money than you think you are worth, knowing that starting salaries aren't what they used to be for many disciplines.

    My fear is that many people will do nothing, as it's more comfortable to sit and complain to one another than it is to take action.


  • David Kaiser, PhD

    Better than trying to get a job, when the very concept of job appears to be slowly fading away, take the opportunity to build a career as a consultant, free-lancer, entrepreneur, while you are still young and less likely to be tied down by kids, mortgages, car payments, etc. Find something you love to do, and then find a way to make a living at it (there is no shortage of books on how to start a business or create a revenue stream). THen you will have much more control of your own destiny (it won't necessarily be easy, but then, having a job isn't exactly easy, either). The best revenge, they say, is loving well.

    David Kaiser, PhD
    Time Coach for Authentic Leaders

  • Kimani Jefferson

    Sounds like time to flock over to the Left Bank and write some books! And the old is new again...maybe I have that backwards in this case. Good luck guys!