There are far worse things than being a three-point receiver.

I admit it. I was also an envious post-teen, one of those academics who every time I saw their high school classmates get their first salaries, buy their first cars, and indulge in whims that wouldn’t be out of my reach until much later. , I wondered what I had done wrong. The worker at BMW, that stereotype of the time, was me enemy unspeakable. “You’ll see in a few years,” my mother would say, but she couldn’t see anything.

Until the years pass and I see it. There is no envy more stupid than that of the privileged, although he cannot see beyond his own navel, sheltered in the myth of meritocracy. But if I studied a lot, but if I had made an effort to get good grades and study what I wanted, but if I deserve it and they don’t. Those were the pre-Crisis years, when climbing scaffolding was truly believed to be a shortcut to abundance. But the friends of my high school friends were like that: adults, without studies but with a car, when I was a mindundi that I didn’t have no more bus card.

The tragedy of the college student is that he is where he does not belong

Through the years of crisis, I finally felt understood. Journalists started (we started) to publish profiles of young talents with three degrees, two masters and a course abroad who could not find work or were forced to accept “unskilled” jobs (pardon the ‘expression). We identified with them because it was actually us. The tragedy of these stories was not that they were unfairly paid jobs, but jobs that did not correspond to them, that were reserved for others. To the poor.

These articles have always attracted attention, because they touched a very sensitive point in the Spanish collective imagination. of the betrayal of expectations middle class. In some cases, the disappointment was financial: with the price that the masters cost us!

What appeared much less in the media were the workers who had remained in the streets, all those friends towards whom he felt a desire that turned into relief at not being in their place, perhaps because the Spanish bourgeoisie (i.e. all but the Kings) did not identify with them. As my teenage idiot thought, they hadn’t made it, they didn’t deserve it. the problem was his.

The myth of two thousand years. (EFE/Rolex Del Pena)

This week circulated on social networks the umpteenth installment of this series which told the story of a young 23-year-old biotechnology student who had to work as a storekeeper and considers that she will only be able to become independent at the age of 30. . The accounts keep coming out. The fine print of these kinds of stories that usually don’t have a sequel is that it’s possible that in a few years that person won’t be doing so badly, or at least, not as bad as others.

The author of the article titled “deceived generation” to that of the young woman, and I’m starting to think that the “cheated generation” must be the longest generation in history, because it’s mine, those born in the 80s, and the yours, that of people born in the late 1990s. The story of generational deception is already too long, perhaps because it is based on a misconception: that injustice does not lie in the fact that there are bad jobs, but in the fact that these bad jobs are not filled by the working class.

Academic Suspicion

Societies oscillate between illusions and disillusions, and today we distrust the university as much as our parents (and grandparents) trusted it, because value what you don’t have more than what you take for granted. The university has been for several generations the main gateway not only to social advancement, but above all to cultural, professional and social possibilities until recently reserved for a few. The main bet of millions of families, who saw with excitement how their children could go where they couldn’t.

Disappointment led us to a modification of the almost nihilistic totality

For this reason, the stereotype of the “three pass restocking” has become so deeply embedded in the Spanish imagination, as a symbol that something had gone wrong. The so-called meritocratic pact that paved the way for the post-Transition era, which ensured that the university guaranteed us a privileged place in society, had been broken. The logic was as follows: an immigrant or a person without studies, if they earn badly as storekeepers, they are in their place, the company functions perfectly. If this happens to a university student, the social order has been corrupted. It’s not about dignity, it’s about whether you belong or not.

Eyes were not turned towards the labor market, nor towards companies, what are they going to do if they can hire doctors at the price of the Smic, but towards the university. Why did you betray us? This disappointment has gradually led to an unwarranted mistrust, which is accompanied by an amendment of the totality until it almost falls into an immobilizing nihilism. It was well summed up recently in a TVE program by the sociologist and political scientist Joan Navarro: “Before the main inheritance that a father could give to his children was a university education, today university education has much less worth that your father can pay you the rent of a house”.

Suspicion before betrayal. (EFE / Fernando Villar)

Ato career it’s not worth anything” It’s a phrase we’ve grown tired of hearing, and I suppose it delights companies that have to sell master’s degrees at increasingly unaffordable prices, so much so that the middle and working classes take mortgages to simply aspire to get a job. Even setting aside the fact that the university should be much more than an employment agency that “guarantees” a job, it is lie. According to him SEPEthe number of long-term unemployed without studies is more than double that of university graduates (48.97% against 23.36%).

Let no one be fooled by the headlines that claim that the unemployment rate for vocational training graduates is lower than that for university students: this alone it’s among the young, among other things because they enter the labor market earlier. For now, as INE data shows (thanks to colleague Martha’s Law to find the data), university students suffer from long-term unemployment which represents nearly half that of FPs (3.1 against 6.2%).

Thinking that not everything matters benefits those who are already starting from privileged positions

There is something very dangerous in the ease with which we accept that the university is useless, how we lend ourselves to devaluing it by repeating subjects, by defending that it is not serious to do this or that thing because meritocracy doesn’t work and, therefore, there’s nothing what can we do It’s an elitist trap because it takes away from the majority of people the main tool they had to improve their conditions, no only economically, but also socially and culturally. I eat well He said Lucas Gortazar, “children of the lower classes are compensated to go to university, it is very clear. To say that studying is useless is fake and classic“.

This is the danger of completely mistrusting meritocracy through exceptional narratives. To think that not everything is of exactly the same importance only benefits those who are already starting from privileged positions, because it discourages others from looking for alternatives. For decades, children from the lower classes entered Spanish universities like never before, leading to the greatest educational and social improvement in the history of our country. Finally, those who didn’t have to be there because their place was another took up positions that were reserved for a few.


I met a friend from Complu the other day. Maybe we complained together fifteen years ago that soon we could be nothing but low-paid hoarders, but ultimately we weren’t. He told me the same thing he had been seeing for a long time. That after all this time we university students had managed to open a breach for ourselves, but those of us who had not, they had trouble. The bourgeois myth of the sock boy with three careers disappointed by the university makes us forget the sad reality of the worker who spends decades chained to humiliations until one fine day he finds himself with nothing.

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