Gimme a Job—Or I’ll Sue!
CNBC.com News Editor
This week, we have a slew of readings on the employment situation: ADP. Challenger. The Labor Department. And Trina Thompson.
Trina Thompson, who received her bachelor’s degree in IT from Monroe College in New York City in April, is suing the school because she hasn’t found a job yet.
Claiming the university’s “Office of Career Advancement” wasn’t helping find her a job, she’s suing for her $70,000 tuition back – plus $2,000 for emotional damages “because of the stress I have been going through.” (Read her petition to a Bronx court.)
Thompson, who has a 2.7 grade-point average and good attendance record, told CNN she upheld her end of the bargain, contacting companies listed on the university’s Web site. But that only yielded two responses, neither of which panned out.
So why’s she suing? She says the career-development center gave preferential treatment to students with 4.0 grade-point averages.
“They’re supposed to say, ‘I got this student, her attendance is good, her GPA is all right — can you interview this person? They’re not doing that,” Thompson told CNN.
“It doesn’t make any sense: They went to school for four years, and they come out working at McDonald’s and Payless,” she is quoted as saying.
The lawsuit has already touched a nerve in this fragile economy.
“I totally understand her situation,” said Catherine Ortiz, a member of the Support Trina Thompson Facebook group, which has 89 members, many of whom are fellow IT workers. “Schools are taking advantage of people who are hungry for a better future. They sign us up, promise the world and we get stuck with these absurd loans,” she explained.
On the flipside, critics say students today don’t have a sense of responsibility.
“Too many students enter a college or university degree program with a sense of entitlement,” Brian Mark Weber, a history professor at American Military University, wrote on the Examiner Web site. “Unfortunately, people such as Trina Thompson are victims of a society which instills in its children the idea that the world owes them something,” he wrote.
And the “Who Thinks Trina Thompson Is an Idiot?”Facebook group now has more 115 members, more than the Thompson support group.
Member Ryan Hayle felt so strongly, he started a separate group called, “I'll bet I can find 1 million people who won’t hire Trina Thompson.”He’s urging employers who wouldn’t hire her to join. So far he’s the only member, but I’ll bet he recruits more faster than you can say 2.7 GPA!
Then again, she may just get a slew of offers for her entrepreneurial spirit. Remember Joshua Persky, an accountant who landed a job for his bright idea to slap on a sandwich boardand hit the streets of New York?
Karen McGee, the assistant dean for student affairs at Syracuse University, said she thinks this lawsuit will actually have the opposite effect of what Thompson intended.
"I think Ms. Thompson has significantly hurt her chances for employment," McGee said. "She comes across as a whiney, immature person who blames others for her inabilities — not exactly qualities employers are looking for. Her grammar and less-than-impressive GPA certainly won't help either."
McGee said Thompson's time could've been better spent "conducting a proactive job search rather than sitting back and thinking someone is going to do it for her."
The incident has already been spoofed by the Onion.
"I authorized my secretary to get on the phone and offer this Trina Thompson a position in the sales department. This is precisely the type of litigious mediocrity I want on my team!" said “Arthur Sellers, CEO,” a character from the site’s “American Voices” section.
You know, I remember a time when we used to type cover letters until our fingers bled because they got jammed between the typewriter keys one too many times. We may not have been able to shake your hand in the interview, too embarrassed by our bloody stumps, but we had pride. We didn’t wait for someone to hand us a job.
So, what do you think? Vote in our poll above.
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