I See Here You Graduated With 2 Degrees at the top of your Class ... But Your Just Not Right for this Position!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is probably a posting that is going to make most people scratch their heads, a few others disagree, and almost everyone very unhappy with me and my opinions ... but hear me out first!

The other day I was speaking with one of my co-workers, Kelly, about the fact that all of the girls that work at the front desk of a Marriott hotel in the city of Nashville have graduated from college with at least one degree but are stuck working a job that put them well below the poverty line. You would think that we would be in better positions by now wouldn't you -- and that isn't to say that we haven't tried. The reality of our situation is that we spent 4, 5, or even 6 years at an undergraduate institution getting a traditional degree in order to make us more marketable and better suited for the work force. But, after graduation and during the myriad of interviews we all went on before we landed behind the desk of a Marriott we found that a Bachelor degree (or two in my case) and a good internship wasn't enough to get us in the door of a decent company. There are a few who make it through, but most of get halted and can only look at the promise of a bright future due to our matriculation through double paned shatter proof glass.

College, all though it provides you with some very valuable life experiences and can be ideal for the transition from the parent's house to one of your own, is no longer the solution for higher education in a new society where jobs require more precision and technical know how that traditional colleges and universities provide through their curriculum. Don't get me wrong, there are some career paths that require it ... but most now do not. The fact that I read and could analyze Stephen Hawkins doesn't make me a great manager; the fact that I can create the compound for the chemical flavoring of wintergreen gum doesn't mean I would be a good hospital receptionist; and the fact that I passed organizational theory and introduction to non-profit organizations doesn't mean that I would be the best candidate for a position as office manager for the American Red Cross here in Nashville.

Anyways, as Kelly and I were talking we realized that those in our generation that are doing well for themselves and aren't struggling as much through this economic crisis are those that opted for a trade school or vocational education. Now, I can imagine what most of you are thinking at this moment ... Me? Go to a Trade School? Yes! You! Go to trade school!

Requirements for jobs isn't the same as it was in the past ... a college degree in almost anything made you ready for most jobs. However, now days, there a trade schools and specialty schools for almost everything ... you can't just have a high WPM in order to be a secretary you need to have gone to college and taken a required amount of courses for business administration and secretarial services along with all of the requirements of the past; you can't just work as an apprentice in your dad's auto shop in order to become a mechanic you have to go to a specific trade school; you can't just have basic knowledge of computer software in order to work at the front desk of a doctor's office, you need to take classes in order to pass a certifying exam. With more rules and federal regulations, certification exams, specific requirements for different positions.

I had a college professor, Dr. Hardy, he once said, "The only thing that will separate you from everybody else when you graduate from college is the fact that you should have read 130 more books than they have." When we sit down and think about it, what more do I know now that I didn't know before or couldn't have learned if I didn't go to college? Don't strain yourself over the answer but it isn't much. Some of the most intelligent people I've ever met never graduated from college and, furthermore, some of the most educated people that I've met lack intelligence. No people, experience is what is key and trade schools are like an apprenticeship ... they get you ready for what you're going to face in the work force.

Leaving high school it was preached that a college degree would be the beginning of a very bright future, but all that I see know is that my 2 degrees have held me back. Instead of the 5 years spent in college and the $100,000.00 spent I could have focused my time on a specific career. For those of you on the college search now, my only suggestion to you is that you know what it is you want to do before you make the decision to actually go to college and then make sure that a college or university is the best route for achieving that goal ... what you will find now days is that there is a more direct path that will make you better prepared for your future.