The New York Times is currently running a profile of Katie and Kristy Barry, twins who moved from Ohio to New York City in order to chase their dreams. As these things often go, their plans aren't quite working out.
Kristy and Katie started out at Marietta College in Ohio , N.R. Kleinfeld of the Times tells us, but transferred to Rutgers' Newark campus during their junior year. They hoped to obtain journalism jobs in New York City after graduating in May or 2008, but the job market has made that virtually impossible, and the twins are now in the same position as many of their peers; straddled with thousands of dollars in student loans and a degree that isn't taking them where they'd hoped it would.
Kristy currently makes $800 dollars a week as a bartender. Katie, on the other hand, was fired from her bartending job "after landing in Cancun to begin a vacation. Her boss said she played the music too loud." Times commenters, reading the piece, seemingly wanted to fire her from this article for taking a vacation in the midst of what is played up to be the job search of her life, which I suppose is a somewhat fair argument.
At one point, Kleinfeld notes that "their dream is to work together in sports reporting or have a TV show, but they are flexible. They talk of teaching piano, or inventing, say, a lipstick-case microphone." The first time I read this, I laughed, hard. The second time I read it, I rolled my eyes. The third time I read it, I just sighed and felt a bit sad. It's not bad to have dreams, mind you, but these women are 24 years old, and the lack of reality in their grand plan strikes me as a bit tragic. Not only because it seems like their family is somewhat rooting for them to fail and come home to Ohio, but because, in many ways, they represent the lack of preparedness that many students have upon leaving college and striking out on their own for the first time.
There should be a required course for everyone during senior year of college called "Nobody Owes You Anything," wherein your professor informs you that the economy is terrible, the job market sucks, and your degree is no longer an instant ticket to a dream job. The course should also force students to come up with a backup plan (or several) should they find themselves in a position where they have to make ends meet while waiting for their big break to arrive. The Barry twins are trying to do this on their own, and while the article makes them sound enthusiastic and creative (Katie plays her sax in Times Square for business cards), they don't come across as terribly well-prepared. "I need a life coach to come in and tell me what I'm doing wrong," Katie admits.
And so the Times leaves us with this tale of two suburban girls, still struggling to find their way, paying nearly $3,000 a month in rent (along with their brother and his roommate), drinking Starbucks at every turn, and trying to figure out how to make it in the big city. It's a piece that pokes a little fun at everyone who watched a romantic comedy about makin' it in the big city and believed every word of it. It should be good for a few laughs, at least, but in the end, the reality of it kicks in, and suddenly it doesn't seem so funny after all.
Jobs Wanted, Any Jobs At All [New York Times]