Thursday, August 06, 2009

College education and job guarantees

Here's Dean Dad's take on the lawsuit filed by a new graduate against her alma mater for "its alleged failure to get her a job":

At the most basic level, colleges are not employment offices. While they often have Career Services offices to help people find jobs, 'help' is the key word. Absent some really serious fraud, there are no guarantees.

Here's the best part of his post:

But the idea of suing the school is worse than merely missing the point. If it were just that, I'd expect it to be summarily dismissed and we'd all move on. My concern is that as an employer, if I found something like that attached to an applicant's name, that candidate would be thrown out of consideration post-haste. I don't need the headache of an overentitled, litigious applicant when I've got plenty of other good applicants who would actually be happy to have the job. A lawsuit like that renders you radioactive.

Is that fair? Maybe, maybe not – again, I don't know if Monroe College overstepped somewhere in this particular case. But as a rational employer, do I really want to take that chance? As a manager, I'm acutely aware that a small fraction of employees consume a vastly disproportionate amount of my time, complaining about everything under the sun. As Robert Sutton noted in The No Asshole Rule, these people drag down entire organizations, even when they're otherwise individually productive. Given a reasonable alternative, I'll take the alternative every single time. This student, whose name I'm not repeating as a courtesy to youth, is branding herself with a scarlet letter. Not a good idea.


  1. Kundan said...

    Frankly, I find enough reasons to support the girl who sued the college. When you have courses like "Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Technology", what is it supposed to mean if not the collection of impressive buzzwords, a perfect recipe for making students believe that this is the program that has the most "scope" because it has everything, Business Administration, Information technology etc. So, when the college asks for a fees of 70k dollars, and names the course like this, and pitches its marketing skills with statements like "our graduates are very high in demand and we have seen more than 120 percent job offers, with our placement being over in 11 hours/11 minutes/11 seconds, the college is then purely acting as a marketing agency. Hence, it should be treated as an agency. Therefore, when the student does not get the job, and the table turns for the school, suddenly, they are reminded of the age old great holy practice of imparting education! Did the college honestly not know that the students are joining primarily and probably only reason for bagging a high price tag to such courses? Did the college authorities not press on the employablility data for advertising their courses? And if you played the marketing game, you behaved like a corporate body, then why to shy away from the responsibilities? Face it, let there be an en masse suing of the universities which offer the courses for the market, charge higher fees, till the universities collectively either close down such departments and focus on education, or they collectively declare themselves as the placement agencies and hence a corporate body and behave like one!