Taking the Plunge

Saad Mahmoud is a Rice engineering grad. Instead of fielding $60,000-a-year job offers, he's been trading manual-labor skills for rent-free living -- while waiting out one of the worst job markets in two decades.

Despite Rob's disappointing job search, he takes some pride in knowing his parents have finally agreed to change his old bedroom back home into something else, proving he really isn't going back.

"My family's been real supportive," says Rob, "once they realized there was no way in hell I was going to move back to New Jersey."

Rob and Saad sit in Rob's living room, surrounded by the memorabilia from Rob's job search. Despite the ironic quips and jokes, there's something about the two of them, and indeed about all of the graduates, that's endearing. After years of summer vacations and lives meted out in school years, they're finally in the adult world. And they're dealing with it.

Rice graduate Rob Gaddi finally got a job at Baylor after a year of searching -- paying almost $30,000 less than he was expecting.
Daniel Kramer
Rice graduate Rob Gaddi finally got a job at Baylor after a year of searching -- paying almost $30,000 less than he was expecting.
UH's David Small says graduates must lower expectations in a rough job market.
Daniel Kramer
UH's David Small says graduates must lower expectations in a rough job market.

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