Experience Counted once upon a time
Once upon a time, there was this guy in his early twenties. He graduated from high school and decided he would go to college and get a degree. His parents had never gone to college before, so he knew he was already doing better than they had. Two years later he had earned an Associate degree in his chosen field. Shortly after that he found an employer that was willing to give young professionals a chance to work and once they had proven themselves they were given more responsibilities. The pay wasn’t a lot, but it was equal to the education and experience of the employee. He got married had some kids. Added some cars and a mortgage. Basically, he had gotten caught up in life. The only way he was able to keep up financially was because his work experience and performance were valued by the employer.
Flash forward a couple of decades
The same guy, was so wrapped up in work and trying to maintain a lifestyle that he didn’t realize the job requirements were changing. Over the years he had taken a few classes to update the skills he needed to keep his job. He later discovered that no matter how well he performed, the layoffs came anyway. The recession hit a lot of his colleagues as well.
The importance of paper
After he had gotten over the shock of losing his job, he discovered that the minimum requirements for the job he once held was raised from Associate Degree to Bachelor Degree. He found out that he no longer qualified for the job he was doing before. To make matters worse, there were a lot of other workers in the same boat as he was. They too had gotten a break without the benefit of the formal education and learned in the school of hard knocks. He found out that there was a whole generation of workers who had joined the workforce after him, that had earned their Bachelor Degrees.
The good thing is that smaller companies are sometimes willing to take a chance on someone who does not have the formal education but has the experience and the talent to back it up. He had to look longer and harder to find that next opportunity, but he did eventually find one.
The moral of the story
The paper is important. It represents the formal education and all that comes with it. Many employers who contract with the government are required to hire employees with a minimum of a Bachelor degree. Sometimes, even that’s not enough.
Experience is important too. Along with experience comes wisdom. The practical application of knowledge. This comes from doing work in the real world.
The sad truth is that many young adults of today are repeating this story. They receive their high school diplomas. Get a taste of money, start to buy things on credit, fall in love. Before they know it, life sneaks up on them and they become slaves to their choices.
I’m suggesting that the twenty and thirty somethings choose a better path. Listen to those who have been down this road before. They have the experience and wisdom. If you ask them, they might even share with you some sage advice.
Choose to not be slaves of credit. Choose to wait on life changing decisions until you have finished ALL of your formal education. Believe me, it is so much harder to finish these things when you’re trying to support a family, your creditors and keep your lifestyle.
Consider this, today’s Bachelor Degree is yesterday’s High School Diploma. It used to be that you could get invited for an interview with just a diploma and relevant experience. This may still be true for service oriented jobs, but if you’re planning on going into a management, technical, scientific, engineering or academic field, you need to have that Bachelor degree as a minimum.
If you agree or disagree with this article, please post a comment. I want to hear what you have to say.
Make sure you share this article with every twenty or thirty something you know.
Hopefully, it will inspire them to finish their formal education before they make any other life changing decisions.