Prone to Wander

Job Search

Last night I met a professor of International Law at the UNAM who lives in our building. She was really friendly, and we had a pretty long conversation about a bunch of things. What started the conversation was her telling me about when she went to Switzerland to get a master’s degree and perfect her French, English, and Swiss. She then told me how she returned to Mexico City after graduating, but it took her a little over two years to find a job relating to her career. In the interim she worked as a librarian to make ends meet. Then when she finally found a job at the UNAM, she was given an offer that did not include health insurance or any retirement. There was no room for salary negotiation, as they told her that there were people waiting to take this job if she didn’t want it.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example. In my class at the International School at the UNAM we learned that it takes on average two to three years for UNAM graduates to find jobs in the areas of their majors. When they actually do find jobs, the companies that they work for have a very different philosophy of employee retention than what we are familiar with in the US.

I am also surprised by the acceptable business practice of specifying age and gender requirements for open positions.

“Help Wanted: A male waiter, between 20 and 25”

Sometimes I feel like I am living in a big city in the US, and other times I don’t know quite how to relate to a student who is graduating with a good degree but will have to drive a taxi to make ends meet for the next two years.  I think sometimes we (as US citizens) can take for granted the ability to find a good job after we graduate.

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4 comments

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Peter Quinn

  2. BenE

    Good article Josh! I was too disappointed when I visit Mexico and read the classifieds. Most of the Job boards read like a personals ad.

    Secretary: Female between 19-22 of “Good Aspect”.

    A lot of my cousins in Mexico who have finnished their “carreras” can’t find a decent job. The slug their way into a job that pays about maybe $1K a month, if they are lucky. Then with the prices in Mexico starting to emulate the US. You find that immigration to the US is more like fleeing Mexico.

    There are many people with degrees in science, business, law, engineering working in the US for $8-$12 bucks an hour doing hard labor jobs because of it.

    It’s really sad, you could have a degree in Engineering and be a construction worker.

  3. So, by “perfected her… Swiss,” do you mean that she learned Rhaeto-Romansch, or Swiss German, or that she perfected her recipe for a perfect wheel of Emmental?

    Just curious. 🙂

  4. great post, josh! i’d not thought of this… i had no idea the job market situation was that bad there. it’s so interesting to think that such a different culture lies so close to ours.

    thanks for sharing this.

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