Hail to Thee, Okoboji U! A Humor Anthology on Higher Education

By Mark C. Ebersole | Go to book overview

Turning Back to the Campus

Russell Baker

Rob Bascomburger is not your ordinary overeducated, overtrained college boy writing sniveling letters to the editor and complaining to Government charity officials because he cannot find a job. Rob is the kind of young man who does something about it, as his letter here illustrates:

I am writing to solicit your support for an entirely new kind of American institution. I propose to call it uncollege. Its tasks will be diseducation and detraining. The need for such an institution is desperate. Its contributions to American life will be immense. Please bear with me while I outline the case.

I have been out of college for more than a year now and am still unemployed. I am informed that my jobless condition results from a miscalculation as to the requirements of the contemporary work force which were made at the time I undertook my education.

At that time, the projections foresaw the need for a much larger force of highly educated, highly trained workers than the economy, in fact, now requires. Having become highly trained and highly educated, I now find myself, along with hundreds of thousands of other young persons, economically superfluous. All of us with our overeducated, overtrained mentalities have become surplus people and, therefore, disposable.

When applying for work which requires little training and less education, I am repeatedly rejected on the ground that overeducation and overtraining disqualify me for the job. Personnel scientists have apparently learned that such people adjust poorly to jobs that do not fulfill their expectations and give them outlets for their skills. One gathers that such persons are potentially dangerous malcontents likely to sow unrest, if not revolution, among the less educated and less highly trained workers.

Whatever the explanation, many of us remain "unemployable." Thus we swell the unemployment figures and place a financial drain on the rest of the work force. The solution should be obvious, but until now no one has undertaken to provide it.

It is to establish the uncollege.

I am persuaded that within months of its opening, the first uncol

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