Several days ago I attended a conference where several small companies were presenting themselves to potential investors. It is common for such events to be attended by university students interested in small businesses and startups; often interested guests will be in the audience as well. I met two young men there, both graduates of graduate programs, one in geology from Cornell, one in bio-engineering from Carnegie Mellon. Both were there for possible contacts, the mysterious "networking." Neither had been employed since graduation and both were supporting themselves with small jobs.
It is unsettling to see competent people, well educated and presentable, who can not get work. And indeed these are difficult economic times for many reasons. But there was something else at play, at least with the geologist. He had gone to job fairs while in school and had been called back for a second interview by a major oilfield service company but he had missed the interview. It had been in conflict with a rowing event he could not miss.