Degrees

Food for thought on degrees:

I always remember was about a girl who had graduated from Harvard and was unable to find a job she deserved. Instead she was reduced to waiting tables (gasp!) and doing temp work in offices. The story went through her struggles to get interviews and her process of considering alternative career options. Finally she landed a job as a social worker for the city. The piece wrapped up with a quick summary of her story and it was revealed that she had majored in folklore at Harvard.

Whenever the topic of college majors comes up, I always think of that story.

I’m a bit each way on it.  How is knowing about the Pyramids of Egypt and Keat’s poetry going to help you in the mechanical engineering industry?  On the other hand, what if a person is so ignorant, he knows nothing except for how to tap a grommet?  He knows no history, he knows nothing of what the PTB are doing to him?

8 comments for “Degrees

  1. The Blocked Dwarf
    January 12, 2018 at 18:03

    Back in the 80s one of my brothers went to Uni to study Old Norse,Old English and Celtic. I asked him at the time whether such a study was- as fascinating a topic as it is- really such a good idea? What sort of job did he think he was going to get afterwards? Junior under-archivist and Tea boy at the Bodleian?

    He replied that employers -even employers in unrelated fields (ie not Museums and Newspapers), in ‘engineering’ or ‘technical’ fields, valued a 1st Class degree in such esoteric subjects because 1. it wasn’t sociology and 2. anyone capable of learning three extinct languages was experienced at learning, could probably learn to do most things and be relied upon to compose a business letter in correct English.

    I doubt that is the case these days when ‘specialisation’ in subjects is starting earlier and earlier in academic life and everyone has a ‘Right’ to go up to Uni.

    • January 12, 2018 at 23:05

      I too knew a girl who had that combination. She could chatter happily in Olde English. We were colleagues on a training course to become air traffic controllers. It was an intense course with exams – theoretical and practical – that had to score 90%+.

      That young women was chopped. She could not grasp how radar worked. To her (and on her exam paper) it was ‘Magic’. She was a serious sort of girl.

  2. Wolfie
    January 12, 2018 at 18:05

    The Civil Service is full of these people.

    When people asked me why I was studying Theoretical Physics I always said, “it will open every door”. Hard work though.

  3. Mudplugger
    January 12, 2018 at 20:13

    Next time you really need a bloke who can successfully tap a grommet, be thankful that they all didn’t waste three years on the Pyramids of Egypt.

    Chances are you’ll need him long before you ever need Pyramid-man.

  4. January 12, 2018 at 22:04

    I’m just glad all of that is over for me.

  5. January 13, 2018 at 02:06

    If people don’t have the common sense to sell themselves based on their accomplishments rather than their credentials, I can’t toss them more than a few pity points.

    • January 13, 2018 at 06:19

      This was always a key factor when we were recruiting. If they first quoted the grandiose title and that seemed to be the focus, we took a dim view.

  6. Chuckles
    January 13, 2018 at 12:52

    Futtock grunding is a dying art.

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