I'll put it on the table: I have a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc. - 4 year degree) in Electrical Engineering (more like a CE/EE/CS degree) from The Technion in their Haifa, Israel Campus, and graduated cum laude, and I have a qualified engineer certificate which theoretically allows me to write software for guiding missiles (or other flaw-free software) and give my signature that it is flaw-free. Nevertheless, right now I'm looking for part-time jobs as a seller/vendor in icecream parlours, candy/snack stores, cafés/restaurants/bars/etc. or even as a street sweeper. Lots of places in Tel Aviv, Israel are now advertising for this, and this seems like a good way to earn some money, as well as interact with other people and get inspired which will really help me with my creative writing and my essays. And I can buy an Android smartphone (nothing really better now and some people have successfully installed GNU/Linux chroots there) so I can type stuff for later incoporation into my desktop and laptop devices.
So why not work as a software developer? I don't mind getting a job as a software developer or a hardware developer or whatever, but lately employers in Tel Aviv and vicinity have become extremely picky: you go to an interview, answer most technical questions nicely, and don't get hired. Furthermore, even if they like you they are often very domineering: don't work from home, work 10-12 hours a day, only full time, don't play computer games at all (I only played some card Patience/Solitaire and Sokoban and not for long and still got flack), don't go to Facebook/Twitter/Google-Plus, we don't want you accessing imgur.com (too muchu traffic to there so let's firewall it) etc. etc. Thing is - the junior developers are kings (see the link for the Joel article), and you should leave them alone to their elements to get shit done at their own pace, and using their own resources instead of being a control freak. If, as a boss, my developer watched porn for 6 hours a day, while still being available on the forums for questions, and spent 2 hours creating great code that is functional and beautiful, I would be happy, and give him a full salary. But finding such enlightened employers is a big problem.
Software was the first field where workers were in constant demand, but now it seems that other fields are headed the same way here in Tel Aviv and other major centres of commerce worldwide: the food outlets, the music industry, photography, and soon - writing, acting/drama/film and then hopefully also modelling, and then if we can get past the normal and silly legal barriers - also more brick-and-mortar industries. Right now I've decided to make a transition
from a software developer to a writer/Internet-entertainer/amateur-philosopher - a field where I feel I produce better results and also something that people will find cooler and sexier (although like I note in the article, the fact that I wrote a Freecell solver has impressed some really cute and intelligent chicks), and will have a larger influence. I still see knowing programming and other software development as an absolutely necessary means for that, just like I can no longer survive without knowing how to read and write English. Everyone should know at least HTML/XHTML/etc.
What I'm trying to say is that one should avoid Fatalism. People can improve for the better. I spent six and a half year doing my Elec. Eng. degree in the Technion and it cost me a lot of
frustrations, but I'm still alive and have constantly become a better person - more competent,
more able, smarter, wiser, and with a greater capacity for love and friendship. As long as
you're not dead and still have some health in you, you will do fine. My suggestion to someone
who got a Ph.D. in literature is to realise that that may make them a really awesome programmer
, or a bartender, or a candy store vendor, or a secretary, or a sys admin, or anything else
that they will find a job at. Don't think "I'm too good for that" because like they say in Hollywood "There are no small roles - only small (= small-minded) actors." You can be an awesome superheroic person even if you're just a factory worker.