Monday, May 21, 2007

The learned


Although not a rocket scientist, I do not consider myself a stupid person. But the other day I clicked on one of those annoying Web banner things and ended up spending about 20 minutes taking an online IQ test. The irony was that the entire thing was a scam to sell you the results of the IQ test once you completed it.

Am I an idiot or what?

It just goes to show that, no matter your educational level or IQ, you still need common sense. This is not to say that I don't think education is important. I have a BA in Journalism. Once and awhile I'll scan the job listings out there and I can't help but feel a bit inadequate that I don't have a graduate degree.

In this day and age, it's pretty much crucial that you have the credentials of a college degree to get your foot in the corporate door. The people who adamently diss a college degree are usually those who don't have one. I don't care if Abraham Lincoln was self-educated and Einstein flunked math. If they tried to get a job today, they'd likely be asked to wear a polyester uniform and repeat the phrase, "Do you want fries with that" over and over.*

I also think that college does more than provide the credentials you need to get a job. I'll admit I didn't really know anything when I got out of college. But even if you don't absorb the stuff they are trying to teach you, making it through college and earning (and I do mean earning) a degree teaches you how to learn. When I hit the work force, I started soaking up knowledge like a sponge. College more or less opened up my mind to learning things.

Still, at this point in my life, I can't even imagine going back to school to get my masters degree. It's not that I don't think I could learn anything, it's just that I don't think I have the attention span to sit through a class anymore. I can bearly tolerate the umpteen meetings I sit through in any given week at my job. Plus I would much rather watch the season finale of LOST than write a paper on the joys of channel marketing and ROI.

Maybe my attention span is so short because my IQ is so high. I'll never know. I refuse to send the money to get my final IQ report.

I'm not that stupid.

*Author's note: I am not putting anyone down who does not have a college degree nor do I think there is anything wrong with working in a fast food restaurant (I draw the line at working in a Walmart, however). Hard work is hard work and we all have to live. I just think having a college degree makes it easier to get a job where you can actually afford to live. Despite this disclaimer, I am sure I will offend someone who doesn't have a college degree. I apologize for that, but if you leave a comment to that effect, I will ridicule you without mercy. I mean it. You just have to toughen up. You would have learned that in college.

15 comments:

Hayden said...

I read an analysis last week claiming that, once you adjust for the extra 4 years in the work force and no college loan, a person who finished high school and became a plumber would make more during their lifetime than the average BA.

But maybe that's just BS.

Shandi said...

The disclaimer at the end of this post was hysterical... and very, very true. You WILL offend someone.

As for Hayden's observation about plumbers, she's not far off. I work in employment services and have seen wages go completely against what your college advisor tells you. There are certain skilled trades that pay significantly more than what a college grad can expect within a few years after graduation. For those that just don't have the knack for books, it's a great opportunity.

For the most part, a degree can give you the freedom to pursue a career that appeals to you. I would advise someone to first choose a career path. If the career you want requires a degree, then earn it. If, like most kids out of high school, someone doesn't know what they want to do, they should get themselves into college and start learning. College can help focus interests. As you pointed out, a degree will open doors. Careers that used to require only a high school diploma are now requiring at least an AA.

Our welfare system has really pushed education as means of meeting calworks requirements. So many of welfare recipients are now in Community College. Because most of them are at least somewhat familiar with the education system (having to go to school through childhood), they choose education as the better alternative. The world of work is so foreign to them (multi-generational wellfare families). We've begun to turn out educated idiots who know nothing about earning a living. Expectations are going to become a lot higher for the general public.

An increasing number of employers want more than a college degree. They are usually looking for the working student, the one that gained practical knowledge and work ethic while going to school. They're getting a little tired of the toga party frat boys and bubble-headed sorority bimbos. Most of these grads expect to make 100K right out of school. Ain't gonna happen (well, not in Bakersfield).

*everything I just said is ONLY true of my county.

Tim ID said...

Hayden,
I wouldn't doubt that a plumber would make more than the average BA. But wrestling toilets, snaking drains and mucking about a crawlspace has to take its toll on a person quickly.

Shandi,
You deal with the subject on a daily basis and are a better judge of the job reality of having an education than I. I shouldn't have let my own bias for college eclipse learning a trade as just as good a path as college. Books aren't for everyone. I also shouldn't have put so much emphasis on the job aspect of a college degree. I think it is the learning aspect that can change your life. I personally couldn't imagine trying to get by with just a high school diploma...jobwise and lifewise.

Angel Without Wings said...

I would have loved to have gone to Uni (the Aussie equivalent of college) but being young and stupid, as you are when you leave school, I didn't. I had the brains then but not the motivation. Now I've got the motivation but not the brains (MS does terrible things to your concentration and memory I'm afraid).

I've done a lot of certificate courses because I too love to learn but that's about all I'm up to these days.

BTW I also thought your disclaimer was funny. Tell me how do you feel about Avon Reps....lol. There are about 5 million of us world wide, bet you didn't know that. I have actually seen the looks of disdain on people's faces when I tell them thats what I do, but you know what? I bet I enjoy my job more than most people and I get a good education seeing how the many different people I visit live and operate. In case this is coming across wrong, I am not saying for one moment you would judge me that way. Please don't ridicule me without mercy Tim....giggle.

Shandi said...

Thing is Tim, you live in Seattle while I live in Bakersfield. We're dealing with a different pool of applicants. I'll guarantee you have a higher average income, educational level and lower unemployment rate.

My motto is: "If you want to get OUT of Bakersfield, get a college degree."

And, sorry for the long frig'n comment. I'm not posting on mine lately, so I figured I'd clutter yours up.

R. said...

How do you figure? Most of my neighborhood is blue collar working class. You can be damn sure that they aren't paying off the loans against their trucks, homes and boats in McMoney.

R. said...

Oh, and I once took a supposedly half-way serious online IQ test.

I scored a 70 and the test accused me of not trying because I wouldn't be capable of using the internet otherwise.

I was trying.

iridethebus said...

I'd like to comment, but as we both know, I wasn't really listening.

Hayden said...

believe me, tim, I'm not suggesting I'd want to be a plumber, LOL! I think an occupational requirement must be to not have a sense of smell.

as for education - I've never managed to stay out of school for long. it takes a special breed of weird to go back for a masters in liberal arts after 50. I suspect that, if I live, I'll take classes in my 70's here and there....

Tim ID said...

Angel,
The desire and ability to learn is a virtue. And there is nothing wrong with selling Avon, especially if you enjoy it. I still remember the ad campaign: Avon Calling!

I think it is common for young people to get out of high school and want to shrug off anything else but getting a job and playing adult. I think it is up to parents, relative and teachers to offer them with options: college, trade school, anything that helps them reach their potential.

Shandi,
You aren't cluttering up my blog. What you said makes sense. Perhaps you should blog about it.

So when are you getting out of Bakersfield? :)

R. A psychic astrologer once told me, "There is more to life than bank account and hamburger." He was Norweigan and said this in a fake mid-Eastern accent.

Regardless, you shouldn't assume that the blue coller population around you isn't educated.

And judging from your IQ rating of 70 I should start calling you Rainman :)

Iridethebus,
Let us not forget your arrogance either.

Hayden, my plumber's friend,
You attention span is much greater than mine.

Blazngfyre said...

I couldn't agree with you more Tim!

I myself am not a college graduate, and it is probably THE biggest regret I have.
I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, and when I finally DID figure it out, I was a single Mom with a small child. After he got old enough, I was ready to go back when I found out I was pregnant again.
So, now I wait .... again.

However, I have learned (the VERY hard way) that an advanced education COMBINED with the years of work experience I have would earn me far greater than what I currently earn. It makes me angry with myself when I think about it too much.
I talk with my son about this very thing quite a bit. I try not to lecture him, but I am honest with him. I know i'm getting through because he's already told me that he'd like to pursue a career in Geology.

Now, on the flip side of this coin, I have worked with many "Masters Graduates" who didn't know their ass from a hole in the ground.
Just saying.

So .... ridicule away .... I can take it! lol

Tim ID said...

Blaznfyre,
I won't ridicule you. I admire you for encouraging your son.

And I wholeheartedly agree that a degree alone doesn't qualify a person for anything. But throw in some intelligence and common sense and you have something.

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anna said...

I totally agree that education is important and opens up opportunities. However, I've seen so many educated idiots that the degree really doesn't impress me. I have my degree (a few actually in different fields of study - I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up) and so does my husband. He managed to get his minor in french and you'd never know it by hearing him speak french. The education system is a joke and that's disappointing. Nonethless, when and if I have children I will definitely encourage them to go to university.

Tim ID said...

Anna,It is a good point. Educational institutions need to commit to actually educating people, not trading student loans for a piece of paper.