Hopefully you’ll never be in this unfortunate situation, but if you’re the guy who studied ‘art’ or ‘comp lit’ in college, you better read this.

The world is a cruel place and through the process of seeking employment, many of your friends may pass you on the expressway to big money. Maybe you made a pit stop at the ‘Peace Corps’ rest stop, or you got hung up with some ‘school loan’ engine problems. Have no fear, you’re not alone.

Now completely disregarding those horrible auto-metaphors, let’s take a look at today’s article from MainStreet.com, about a brave young man’s struggle with these very same monetary inadequacies:

Nick is a 2006 Yale grad who is now working as a research assistant at his alma mater. He earns $40,000 a year and says his salary is in the middle or lower end of the spectrum of salaries amongst his friends.

However, post-collegiate income disparity isn’t always putting a damper on their social lives–he just asks his friends to pay for him. “I’m not shy about telling them they’re paying for me [if we go out] and they’re not shy about doing it,” Nick says. “I don’t have any scruples about taking free drinks” from friends. In addition to “$8 beers,” he also lets them pay for cab rides.

I think we should pause for a brief moment to salute Nick, who has come up with a brilliant solution to all the world’s money problems. Become a deadbeat.

Sure, he might not have any scruples now about bumming a few free beers off some trust fund Yale-ie friends, but what will Nick do in the future? According to the rest of the article:

Nick is headed to law school in the fall, so he expects he’ll get them back for those $8 beers. And, then there’s this: “Half of my friends lost their jobs because of the economic downturn, anyway.

Ouch. Nick comes out on top again! But really, Nick was a terrible case example for this story. The guy went to Yale! He’s obviously very smart or very wealthy. And even still, his $40k a year should not be anything to scoff at. Coming right out of college in the current economy, that’s pretty darn good. But really he’s not even ‘out’ of college. He was still working their as an assistant before enrolling in law school.

I think MainStreet should focus more on the plight of the ‘everyman’. Is there a place out there where a minimum-wage-earning landscaper is best friends with a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund manager? Thatwould be an interesting case study as to how friends deal with money inequalities. It might also be a great idea for a sit-com. “Clipping the Hedges”, maybe?

MainStreet: What Happens When After Graduation Your Friends Earn More Than You?, May 15, 2008