Times are undeniably tough for unemployed graduates, but Angela Fortin of Burkburnett would have never imagined that it would take this long to land a job after graduation. Fortin comments, "All the way through school I was always a straight a student. I graduated with a 3.9 GPA so you always feel like you're smart, of course you can get a job. That is not true at all."
Fortin went to Midwestern State University for two years then graduated from the University of North Texas in 2009 with a major in French. After graduation Fortin moved back home with her parents in hopes she would get on her feet and pursue her dream job, which is a translator for larger corporations. "For a while I thought I could just wait it out and do the minimum wage thing. Give it a year and live at home then maybe they would be more job opportunities. That didn't pan out."
Fortin ended up getting a job at Subway to get by and gain work experience. "It was really strange because everyone was saying congratulations and I'm like my life is over. Now I'm a fast food worker which is fine but not what I went to college for." Fortin's not alone because she is part of the growing boomerang generation. A poll conducted by consulting firm, Twentysomething Inc shows nearly 85% of graduates will move back home for support.
And like many, Fortin is still trying to start her career.
Fortin's search is going on three years now. She says its difficult to stay focused and she's even starting to question whether her degree was the right way to go. She says, "It's extremely disheartening to be two and a half years out of college and think if I get in at Walmart, maybe in five years I can make manager. Nobody ever tells you that that's a possible end game for your college education."
Bill Scantlin is the Business Services Manager at Workforce Solutions North Texas. He works with unemployed Texomans every day and see's first hand how this boomerang generation is struggling. And in Fortin's situation Scantlin feels the universities do a great job of educating students on subject matter, but do a poor job on preparing the students on how to go out and enter the employment arena. Scantlin comments, "In this day and age when we have so many people competing for so few jobs, if you don't have all the tools in the tool box you're at a great disadvantage over those who do."
Scantlin says right now the national average shows it will take someone 14 interviews to land a job. And for Fortin she is struggling just to land a few. Fortin says, "It's extremely disheartening to send out ton's of resumes and just get no feedback at all. That is mostly what I've gotten is just nothing.
But young adults are not the only ones facing struggles when they boomerang back home.
Parents can also take on loads of financial stress. More and more parents are refinancing their homes or dipping into retirement money to continue to support their children. Dr. Pam Midgett, Councilor Director at Midwestern State University says, "Eventually all the stress will start to take a toll on how that person feels about themselves, child or parent. To come back and negotiate daily living with parents is going to take some patience on the young adults part and patience on the parents part too."
But in most cases Dr. Midgett says the unemployed graduate will tend to struggle the most and often times will feel embarrassed, and that could lead to depression. Dr. Midgett says, "You never think something like that is going to happen to you. So initially they are surprised then after a while they begin to feel disappointed and frustrated."
And it is starting to take its toll on Angela Fortin. "I would like to be paying rent to them. I'm using their space, I'm using their electricity, and I'm eating their food. I've tried to pick up slack doing chores because you just feel useless and like a little kid. You start to feel like maybe you can't do anything and maybe all the education was worthless."
Fortin hopes current students learn from her situation and gain knowledge and work experience throughout their college years rather than after. She also wants students to be aware of the job market and what degree will land you a job right out of college. She adds because in her case she had to learn the hard way.