Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Masters in Public Admin.

A friend from another field with a masters sent in this.
Who I am?

I am Patrick S., I graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a Masters in Public Administration degree. I finished my degree requirements December 2011 and have not found gainful employment since graduating, which makes this the 14th month I've been unemployed.  I have over a decade of administrative, leadership, and project management experience. From the day I attended orientation to the date of my graduation I was assured there are plenty of jobs for graduates with a MPA degree. 

The professors would often mention the promising careers in the public sector that this degree program would prepare us for. That the skills we were learning were invaluable to organizations and their graduates go on to work for local governments and non-profit organizations. That there were more jobs out there then there are people to fill them and we’d have no problem finding work after graduation. The reality is that the job market is scarce, organizations want volunteers, not employees and the MPA degree is considered a terminal degree there was no fallback to going on to a PhD.

I faced a stark realization after graduation because of the lack of jobs is that I presently have over $100,000 in student debt accruing interest of 6.9% and 7.9% APR (depending on the loan type) and a monthly repayment of over $1,150 for 120 payment periods. Given the experience I've had over the last fourteen months and factoring in the two and a half years of my life I dedicated to earning my advanced degree. I regretfully see my Masters for all intent and purpose as a joke and a mistake which has cost me tens of thousands of dollars.

How am I to survive with my massive credit card debt, my overwhelming student debt, and the personal debt owed to friends without gainful employment? I have applied to hundreds of positions with universities, non-profit organizations, and government entities. Only getting to interview for one out of fifty positions I applied to. I've often gotten the response that I am best qualified for the position but I have not been selected for interview. This is not the job market my professors told us about. 

Out of desperation I've found temporary employment for hourly pay through a temp agency. The only job they had was so far enough away from my home that the cost of fuel to commute to and from work costs 25% of my income. Yet I was told by the recruiters I should be grateful to even find employment at all. I am not grateful that after taxes and associated costs of employment I am roughly earning $4/hour which equates to roughly $160 a week take home pay which will barely pay half of my present bills. Which has caused me to use my life savings to live off of because of my present underemployment situation.

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