Sooo…I’m 60, male, white and I have a great job, earning $150k for doing what I love. So yell at me for a bit longer if it helps. But I don’t hate you — I don’t say a single one of the things you’re predicting I’d say. I have a son (born in 1991) who went through college — who has more student debt than you do — and landed me with about twice as much parent plus debt.
He’s lucky — he picked a career path that happens to be a good one right now — and his internship was ‘counted’ as experience so he walked out of college and right into a $75k job that he loves.
I get it that you’re not one of the lucky ones. FWIW, I think that education is a fundamental human right — and it should be paid for by central government from taxes raised from businesses that employ people with degrees.
I work in the tech field (I write computer games software) and I’m embarrassed at how few females and non-whites we employ — but to be brutally honest — no matter how much we’d like to employ people like that, we just don’t get enough experienced people applying for jobs — and we have to take what we can get…which is overwhelmingly white males.
Lack of experience — and the catch-22 that goes with it — is a MAJOR problem. In my line of business, experience is everything. Programming skills can only be gained by experience — and an experienced programmer is 20 times as productive as an inexperienced one (a fact of life) — and only costs us 2x to 3x more in salary. If we took recent college grads— we’d go broke — so we can’t — no matter how socially responsible it might be.
Your remark about living in LA is a key problem here. And, yes, it’s another catch-22. The jobs you want aren’t there — and you can’t get out of there to move to where the jobs are because you don’t have the money — and without a good job, you won’t get the money. Damn.
I think you should apply for jobs — in your chosen field — outside of LA. I don’t know where the right place is — but it’s not there. Apply for jobs in other countries if you have to. When you get a job offer, beg, borrow or steal the money to relocate (ok — don’t steal it — pesky thieving millennials — get off my lawn!). You’ll be able to pay it back real quick once you’re earning a passable salary. You might even get lucky and find a company who’ll pay you some relocation expenses.
What you’re facing isn’t a long series of difficult challenges — don’t look at it that way. You have ONE and only one challenge — getting that first job in the field you’re qualified to work in. Focus on that and only on that. Once you have a job offer (in outer-Mongolia — or wherever) — I’m quite sure the other things will fall into place. Meanwhile — do SOMETHING to keep actively working. Volunteer to do stuff for free…something as close to your field as possible. If you want to work in cancer research — volunteer to do fundraising for cancer research or something. This looks better on your resume than “Worked at McDonalds”.
OK — well, you’re obviously smart — you’ve probably thought of all of those things already — I’m probably not helping much — but I’m certainly not criticizing you, hating you or otherwise disparaging you. I feel your pain — I feel the pain of every smart person who did “the right thing” to better themselves and isn’t getting a good outcome from it.
If you have a passion for your chosen field — express it — promote it — do whatever it takes to get a toe-hold. Once you get that toe-hold, everything else should fall into place.