Truth in Numbers

Harper’s Magazine has a long-running feature called Harper’s Index, where they provide survey results without commentary. The subject-matter of those surveys varies widely, but they are generally thought-provoking, and these recent numbers provided the usual food for thought:

• Rank of “attire” among the leading reasons “millennials” are unsuccessful in job interviews: 1

• Rank of their posting inappropriate pictures on social media: 2

• Average salary earned by a full-time-employed male college graduate one year after graduation: $42,918

• By a full-time-employed female graduate: $35,296

• Percentage of Canadians who believe in global warming: 98

• Of Americans who do: 70

• Of Republicans: 48

The numbers prompt a number of observations.

To my older grandchildren, I will simply reiterate my warnings about posting those pictures of partying on Facebook. Your friends may think that goofy drunk face is funny, but future employers will not appreciate the humor. Nor will they conclude that you really can use the English language if you persist in sharing incomprehensible “street language” sentiments. Listen to your grandmother–and pull up those pants!

To my friends of the female gender, I know that confirmation of the persistence of the wage gap doesn’t really surprise us, but it should at least give us a wake-up call. After years of work agitating for women’s rights and w0rking for equity and equal pay for equal work, we still have a long way to go. Let’s gird those loins, ladies, and get back to it!

To the fearful ostrich-like, head-in-the-sand science and climate-change deniers, I have nothing to say. They don’t listen to experts and they reject both scientific research and the evidence of their own experience. They aren’t going to listen to me. They aren’t going to accept the reality of climate change until they’re sitting on an oceanside beach in Indiana. Thanks to them, however, the rest of us are going to have to work harder and smarter in order to overcome their resistance and enact policies that will address global climate change and–hopefully–avert accelerating disasters.

Happy holidays.


  1. Work even harder for equality, Sheila, because I see a trend towards a retrenchment from the gains of the last 40 years.

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