You know how sometimes you're just walking down the street, minding your own business and being a generally decent human being, when suddenly you walk by the pet store or animal shelter, and see that the evil pet store/animal shelter people have put giant cages of adorable baby animals out on the sidewalk for you to fall in love with? It is impossible not to stop and coo, is it not? And then, while you're making kissy faces and trying to touch those super soft velveteen OMGSOCUTE baby animal ears through the wires, something in the way those poor, helpless creatures looks at you takes hold. It is your duty--nay, your CALLING--to rescue these tragic, ADORABLE things from the cruel hand fate dealt them. To take them home and give them the life they deserve. All of them. I mean, how could you choose just one baby animal? Impossible! Wrong, even!
I'm currently hiring a lab tech, and it's kind of the same thing, except for the bit about touching their ears. That may be illegal, not sure. NJC has no shortage of fresh-faced post-grads who may have actually held a pipettor in their lifetime, and for that I'm quite fortunate. My ad generated nearly 40 responses, and I've interviewed at least 7 or 8 candidates, many of whom I'm sure would be a great tech. I want to hire them all!
It's killing me, then, having to tell most of them that I can't hire them. The complete and utter suckage of the economy is right here, in my face--there is no reason any of these people should be unemployed. Wide-eyed and 22, agreeable and eager, college educated, they would probably be good at anything. And I mean, I was there, sort of. When I was 22 I was working in a lab for free, pulling espresso at Starbucks for $7.25/hr, and working the day shift at a sad, sad little bar in Berkeley. I remember going into the Dollar Store once and thinking, everything I own is going to have to come from here.
But at least I had a job(s). And I was applying to grad school and everyone I knew in Berkeley was sort of in the same financial place, and also there were no iPhones or much of the crap people (including yours truly) feel compelled to own these days. It was easier to be a young person. I think it's different now, and going through all of this with the Occupy movements as a backdrop has been...meaningful, in a way that I did not expect. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to bring someone truly exceptional into my lab to help me get the next stage of my career going, but I am also sad for the people I won't be bringing into the lab, and I'm sad for the shitty situation most recent grads have been thrust into. Hang in there, you guys, and hopefully soon our country will find a way out of this ridiculous mess.