We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
All of us in positions to employ people know that a college degree, in many or most cases, is meaningless credentialism much of the time, these days.
For life-enrichment or for the hard sciences, college can great, especially if money is no object and if the kid is a natural scholar. The latter is, at most, 5-6%.
In choosing friends, we might prefer people who know a lot about a lot of things, but for employees one applies different metrics. We train all of our own people, including our paralegals. We use a marine corps boot camp system. Many wash out, but are better for it. Some even thank us for letting them discover what level of effort and learning is expected from work in the for-profit world.
Many times, college is a negative from a business standpoint. We exist to make money honestly and nothing more. When we hire, all we ask ourselves is "Can this person make, or save, us money?" And in case they do not, can we let them go without a lawsuit? I would never say that we avoid women, older folks, or minorities, for that reason because there are laws, but we have had enough expensive troubles with that in the past. We just want the highest performance and we want you available 24 hrs/day if needed, no excuses.
Do an extraordinary job, exceed expectations, go the extra mile, make yourself attractive, and spread good cheer? We will reward you handsomely with money, benefits, love and appreciation.
When we hire new lawyers (rarely in recent years, unless they come with deep portfolios of corporate clients), of course they have degrees. We ignore their degrees, bearing in mind that legal work required degrees only recently (historically). We see people with recent law degrees working in Starbucks and living with their parents.
All real law is learned in apprenticeship, preferably under a genius mentor. All real learning is, ultimately, self-education.
I was a soldier during the Vietnam War, a staff writer at a daily newspaper, the operations manager at an African wildlife preserve, a consultant to several Fortune 500 companies, a VP at one of the world's largest banks, and the CEO of a supplier to governments around the world. I never filled out a job application (excluding the military). I never wrote a résumé. Nobody ever asked me if I went to college. (I did.)
My contacts opened doors. My reputation generated offers. My expensive wardrobe and my dog-and-pony show closed deals (business is theater).
- DEC (Jungle Trader)
DEC (Jungle Trader)
Ah, if only business behaved that way. I suppose small business still does.
Larger businesses have HR people who are there to make sure the proper applicant has had the necessary indoctrination prior to being interviewed. An applicant with a degree now days must have been subjected to numerous hours of feminist thought, if white and male, they must also have acquired substantial amounts of guilt for things they never did - such as rape, slave ownership, misogyny, homophobia, etc.
They should feel guilty about getting paid and still having disposable income after taxes.
All applicants should have a sense of entitlement and no work ethic, although no ethics at all seems to be preferred. Productivity is a dirty word, the job is there to provide you with a living wage and the opportunity to network and socialize.
Vince, you're focused on the low rungs of the ladder. Raise your eyes higher, much higher--above the HR department. Some people reach top management (in big as well as in small companies) when they are in their 20s. They don't do it by waiting in line.
Winners spend every available moment expanding their knowledge and polishing their skills. Winners are creative. (Creativity is merely asking a series of questions and providing the answers.) Winners think outside the box. And they make proposals rather than apply for jobs.
Forget about the HR folks. Give the CEO a plan to significantly boost sales. Give the CEO a plan to enable his company to expand into Asia or Africa inexpensively. Show top management ways to turn existing activities into new profit centers.
Often the CEO will say no. Once in a while the CEO will say yes. Sometimes the CEO will say, "No. Here's what I need." In that case, all you have to say is "I can do that for you."
Think like an aristocrat.
DEC (Jungle Trader)
I don't ignore a degree if I have nothing else to go on.
I can't imagine letting a degree/nondegree cause me to neglect reliable information about concrete accomplishments.
That requires going against more than a decade of institutionalization and conditioning at all but the most elite prep schools. Some are escaping it by home schooling, but even many of those replicate the conditioning.
George Orwell's observations that also fit non-elite schooling:
This business of petty inconvenience and indignity, of being kept waiting about, of having to do everything at other people’s convenience, is inherent in working-class life. A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive role. He does not act, he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that ‘they’ will never allow him to do this, that, and the other. Once when I was hop-picking I asked the sweated pickers (they earn something under sixpence an hour) why they did not form a union. I was told immediately that ‘they’ would never allow it. Who were ‘they’? I asked. Nobody seemed to know, but evidently ‘they’ were omnipotent.
A person of bourgeois origin goes through life with some expectation of getting what he wants, within reasonable limits. Hence the fact that in times of stress ‘educated’ people tend to come to the front; they are no more gifted than the others and their ‘education’ is generally quite useless in itself, but they are accustomed to a certain amount of deference and consequently have the cheek necessary to a commander. That they will come to the front seems to be taken for granted, always and everywhere.
Yes, we should break this hold, but most won't even recognize they are enthralled.
I am always amused when a picture from the wizard of oz is used when folks are talking about a diploma. In the movie the wizard hands the scarecrow a diploma. The scarecrow puts the diploma upside his head and says, "the sum of the square of the sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the sum of the square of the third side." This is an absolute untrue statement. So the diploma is
worth nothing. It is a right triangle not an isosceles triangle where the sum square of two sides is equal to the square of the third side. Never heard anyone mention this.