Last week, Herb Gardner, a recently-graduated biology student, finally concluded his several-month job search, having found work as a low-level assistant at a humble nursery in El Cajon. While observers note that Gardner’s new job pays poorly and is largely a dead end, Gardener maintains that he is “at least a starving biologist and not a starving artist.”
Gardner emerged from college triumphantly, planning on entering the workforce armed solely with his new STEM degree and no prior work experience or plans to attend graduate school.
“Yeah, I’ve got it all worked out,” said Gardner in an interview shortly after graduation. “I got a good GPA these past four years since I didn’t distract myself with things like internships or labs. And I read about graduate school on Buzzfeed, so I can tell it’s not meant for me.”
After months of fruitless labor, Gardner discovered that he had been naive to think that his degree and GPA alone would earn him the attention of employers.
“I don’t understand. I mostly just followed what ‘The Sandlot’ told me – if you build it, they will come – so I left my resume on some websites and waited for the offers to flow in,” said Gardner at the end of summer. “I tried all the best sites: Indeed, Reddit, Craigslist … nothing came up. I think my problem is I searched for jobs on Bing. Maybe I should try Ask.com instead.”
Opposed to getting into even more debt, Gardner considered other alternatives to fulfill his parents’ wishes. “For now, I’m working a full-time job at Star Nursery in El Cajon, which is close to my degree I guess,” Gardner explained, leaning against a cart of shrubs and poinsettias with a vacant look in his eyes. “Like, I could be in a lab or some shit solving cancer, that’d be pretty cool, but I’m just … pulling plants on a wagon. But I mean, it pays the bills, you know? Well, like, two of my five utility bills, but I’m sure my parents can cover for me.”
Gardner’s parents were apparently not aware of Gardner’s predicament and were bewildered when asked for comment. “I work two jobs because we put all of our money into his education, and he’s off peddling tomato seedlings in El Cajon?!” exclaimed Gardner’s mother. “I just don’t understand why he would do this to us. He got a Bachelor’s, in a STEM field no less, shouldn’t he be out there solving cancer or something rather than wasting his four-year education on shrubbery?”
“I mean, it’s not a total waste,” Gardner responded, chuckling nervously. “Sometimes people ask me about plants and stuff, y’know, like college totally paid off, I think, but, you know what they say: it’s better than
graduating with an art degree.” No further comment was given due to an interruption from a
To give further insight on the issue, a fellow graduate with a degree in graphic design recounted their life right after college. “Yeah, I got a job through an internship at this start-up company I worked for last year, and now I’m one of the senior graphic artists there. It pays the bills, you know? I also have an art exhibit gig coming up in December which is pretty cool. It’s all challenging work, but at least I’m doing something that I enjoy and am good at, rather than being miserable in a field I’m only mediocre in.”