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.