15 June 2010

Wow. Who knew?

I really hate to be the kind of dick who says, "I told you so."

Seriously. I hate it when it's said to me, and I shouldn't be doing it to others if that's the case. But some situations simply cry out for it, and this is one of them.

Not only have I never been to college, I've never even needed to use my high school diploma. Three weeks of trade school, costing a bit over $3,000, and a few years of working hard and keeping my nose clean have netted me a job that pays $80K/yr. I've long been of the opinion that most college degrees weren't worth the time, let alone the money, and the further said degree got from hard sciences, the less it was worth. For this opinion, I've been called many a name and treated like a neanderthal and an idiot.

It appears that I have been vindicated by the latest trends. The full article discusses how all these poor college grads can't seem to find jobs in their fields. OK, that's not a good thing, but really...what did you expect with a curriculum like this?

First up is Jackie Mroz, 22, of Oregon City: “She put everything she had into her studies at the University of Oregon, graduating in 2009 with degrees in international studies and sociology and a double minor in nonprofit administration and African studies. She studied abroad in Senegal, took challenging courses, earned a 3.8 grade point average and raced through college in three years.”

I couldn't make this up! Can you imagine the interview?

"'International Studies?' You mean, International Law? That could be useful."

"Uh, no...International Studies. Like how America is evil and oppresses people all over the world."

"Umm...yeah. OK. 'Sociology'...no help there. 'African Studies?' That might be useful if 95% of Africa weren't completely broke and unable to do business with us."

"But the noble African people just need a chance to...!!!"

"Kid, we're not in business to give chances, we're in business to make money. Which brings us to the last of your subjects of study. 'Nonprofit Administration?' Why would we, a business that exists to make money, hire someone whose sole business-related study consists of learning how to run a business whose sole purpose is NOT to make money?"

"But there are more important things than making money!!"

"Tell that to your alma mater, and ask for a refund of your tuition. They'll be happy to oblige, right? After all, your 'education' is far more important than their revenue. Have a nice day. Next!"

And yet, the one lone kid with an engineering degree has a job waiting for him right out of the gate. Hmm...there might be some sort of connection there. I just can't quite figure it out.

Guess what, kids? It's a different world now. Gone are the halcyon days when you could show someone a degree in just about anything and land a six-figure job...that was back before the global economy went into a tailspin. Folks worldwide are being forced to be pragmatic, and that means they want you to know things that are useful. Your boutique degrees in Wymmynz Studies and Oppressed Victim History amount to exactly zip these days--and they never should have been seen as anything other than evidence that you were an overeducated, egotistical, spoiled child with no concept of the real world.

Seems your parents wasted the GNP of an average third-world country just so you could move back home, work at Starbucks, and bemoan the mean old world that's simply too materialistic and uncaring to truly understand you. I'll admit, it is a shame, but the good news is that there's a way out! One that will benefit both you and our great country.

Go learn a trade from the ground up. Yes, this means manual labor, calluses, dirt, sweat, and it means you'll be treated like a moron until you prove you know something(sorry--you are not a special little snowflake, no matter what Mommy told you). It also means you'll have to think and reason, instead of parroting back the Socially Responsible answer. See, this is what used to be called "honest work." And if it was good enough for your ancestors, it's good enough for you, kid.

You'll learn a lot more than just how to landscape/ weld/ roof/ drive truck/ whatever. You'll learn that not everyone is going to appreciate your oh-so-revolutionary Che T-shirt. You'll discover what a paycheck is, and how much of it is going to people who never in their lives gave a single thought to working at all, ever. You'll likely encounter people who really don't think Marx was the Greatest Visionary Of All Time, who drive pickup trucks with pro-liberty bumper stickers, and might even listen to talk radio. You might even discover the concept of "self-reliance." You know, that outdated and evil and greedy and selfish myth that your Wealth Redistribution 101 prof was always screaming about?

One thing you will learn...that you don't know near as much as you thought you did.


  1. LOL - I took my English degree to a retail store a few months after I walked (2009) because that's the type of job that you get with a liberal-arts education.

    I didn't, however, crash land too hard on that one. Mom and Dad made darned sure, when I was growing up, to teach me that I'm a) not special and b) not above doing the same hard work that they, and our ancestors, did.

    But some of the people who walked with me...oh, do I feel for them. They're still holding out for the mythical $80K/year, entry-level jobs that their liberal-arts degrees allegedly get for them. Hah!

  2. Welcome to my little corner of cyberspace, Sarah. Every now and then, call up your folks and thank them for instilling you with the mindset you need to survive.

    So, have your classmates discovered how to do their own laundry yet, or are they still counting on Mama to get the fixie-chain grease off the left cuffs of their skinny jeans? ;D


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