Profiles in unemployment: The graduate

August 2, 2009

As part of a Reuters series on long-term unemployment, reporters spoke with  people who are struggling to find work. For other profiles click here and here.

JASON HARPER, 22, Princeton graduate

Jason Harper graduated from Princeton University this year, and has worked for the Weinstein Company, including time on Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” One of his short films was picked up by MTV.

Despite his qualifications, he cannot find a job in advertising. “They are just not hiring. There are hiring freezes everywhere.”

With his qualifications and experience, he thought getting a job would be much easier than it turned out. Despondent, he even tried to get intern positions, but that has not worked either. “The responses that I get back are not that I am under-qualified but on the contrary that I am over qualified.

Like some of his friends, he is now looking abroad and getting more positive responses in Berlin, where he worked when he studied abroad during his junior year. “Much as I want to work in LA, or work in New York, or Chicago, its just shut door after shut door.”

Having made a video when he was working in Berlin that was top viewed on YouTube in Germany for several days, he is also thinking about setting up in business on his own.

“There has been a flattening of the industry with YouTube and viral media capabilities,” he said. “So, I’m beginning to question whether I even need an advertising agency.” With student loans and debts of around $50,000, the problem is finding a way to monetize it.

“We’re at sort of an interregnum right now in society where the old structure, industry ways are broken but the new ones are still feral and are very underdeveloped.”

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