Personally, I think Rowe is absolutely right. In fact, I have been saying this myself for a while. I’ve been teaching at a 2-year technical college for two years now, and for two years, I have watched my students graduate and find jobs right away. Not just any jobs, but good jobs that pay far more than mine does. I keep trying to tell people to stop pushing their kids to go to a 4-year college, and they just look at me like I am crazy.
I think this is part of why our economy is so screwed up. Hordes of Americans are flocking to 4-year colleges to earn degrees for jobs that no longer exist. They are graduating and getting jobs as waitresses and baristas instead of stepping into the high-powered office jobs they thought would be waiting for them once they crossed that legendary stage. Disgusted, many of them are going on to graduate school with the misconception that a Bachelor’s degree just isn’t enough anymore. The Master’s is the new Bachelor’s, right?
Wrong. The Associate Degree in Actually Doing Something Useful is the new Bachelor’s degree. Unless you want to be a teacher or join a similar professional, your potential future employer is far more concerned with what you know how to DO than how many advanced-level college credits you have earned.
If you are thinking of going back to college or have children who are nearing that critical junction, you need to stop and take a good, hard look at what is really going on in the employment world. Evaluate your options. Ask yourself what you really want to do with your life. Then find out if that type of job even exists.
Unless you are interested in being a teacher, or a doctor, or a lawyer, you need to go check out the offerings at your local technical college. You might be surprised to learn that a local employer is just waiting for someone like you to graduate from a specific program so he or she can hire you right out of school. (Just do me a favor and try to avoid corporate technical colleges. They often amount to little more than diploma mills. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)
In the U.S., we are dealing with record unemployment rates while employers are simultaneously unable to find qualified workers to fill high-quality (and often high-PAYING) jobs. How does this happen? Why aren’t we checking to see what kind of jobs are needed before dedicating years of our lives to college degrees that will leave us worse off than when we started?
I have two master’s degrees. I obviously value education. I could never agree that a college degree is a *complete* waste of time for the simple fact that I enjoy spending time around educated human beings. My degrees have been of tremendous value to me. Unfortunately, they have not provided much in the way of monetary value.
I never wanted to be a teacher. However, at this point, I seem to be overqualified to do much of anything else. I am just an adjunct, so I have zero job stability. I never know if I will be overworked next semester or relying on unemployment to see me through to the following semester. I make good money when I am working, but I have to sock away every single extra penny to pay the bills in those in-between-times. Let’s not even discuss the massive student loans that will be hanging over my head for the rest of my life.
Yesterday, I applied for a custodial job that would provide me with steady hours and more time off-the-clock for writing. I am not even joking. Unfortunately, they probably won’t even call me for an interview because I am grossly overqualified for the position.
Do you have a degree but can’t find a job in your career field? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
- What’s life like with only a high school diploma? Scary! (makingfutures.wordpress.com)
- College-educated workers taking jobs that don’t require degrees (charlotteobserver.com)
- Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down (But Myself) (alifetimeofobstacles.wordpress.com)
- Georgetown University’s faulty assumption of over-qualification hiring (pinetreeconomics.wordpress.com)
- STEM Jobs (ppietraszko.wordpress.com)
- Project Win-Win helps students gain college degrees retroactively (blogs.seattletimes.com)
- Many students left school after losing HOPE grants (miamiherald.com)