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Rant & Rave

By Bryan Langley

Tuesday, February 8, 2000

College grad in Catch 22

SINCE I graduated in May, I have become convinced that Hawaii's business sector exists for one sole purpose: to make my life a living hell.

In almost comical fashion, I am subjected daily to such an endless stream of Catch 22s that even the late author Joseph Heller's head would spin. The only difference between my life and his book is where war set the tone for the insanity of his novel, for me it's the stagnant condition of our state's economy.

For example, I applied for a bill consolidation loan. Having supported myself through my time at the University of Hawaii, I accumulated a significant level of high interest debt. A consolidation loan, I reasoned, would help me reduce the amount I spend each month on interest, thereby allowing me to pay off the principal faster. Sounds like a good enough reason to approve, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, "the bank that says 'Yes, We Can,' " couldn't say yes to me.

The loan representative explained that because I work through a temp agency, they couldn't consider the income from my current, full-time position. They could only look at the income from my part-time job as a waiter in Waikiki, which is only about half of the total. To approve the loan, they said, I would need to find a permanent full-time job.

But I didn't sign on with a temp agency because I had no skills -- I did it precisely because I was having trouble finding just that -- a good-paying full-time job. What I'm lacking, I've been told by interviewers, is experience gained by completing an internship.

But companies want only undergraduate students as interns. While in school, I wanted to do an internship, but couldn't afford it. (Working two part-time jobs while going to school full-time left me with barely enough time to cook a ramen for dinner.)

Sometimes, I can only let out a sigh and laugh at myself. Oh, the bittersweet life of a Mainland transplant! But this garbage about not being able to find a job that pays a college graduate a decent wage is really frustrating!

It's funny. Some kanaka maoli bitterly, almost maliciously, call for the haole to "Go Home." Sometimes it seems I'd be better off accommodating them.

Bryan Langley came to Hawaii from Chicago
in 1995. He graduated in May from the University of Hawaii
at Manoa with a BBA in international business,
and is pursuing a full-time job.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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