Everyone wants a college education because every older generation has said: A college degree is what got me here.
That still rings true even for me because without my business degree, I would have never even had an opportunity to snag my dream job in the first place.
(Of course, I also worked like a mofo after snagging said dream job instead of slacking and coasting, but that’s another discussion for another day).
For me, the reasons why people who have college degrees but can’t find good jobs in our economy are usually one, some or all of these reasons:
1. THEIR DEGREE HAS NO MARKET VALUE
This is the biggest one for me.
They got a degree in Fine Arts, but had no intention of becoming an artist, a teacher, or understanding what they could actually do with a Fine Arts degree.
Or even if they got a degree in Computer Science but it was so general that when they left with this rather coveted IT degree, they did absolutely no research into what areas of IT actually need people and how to get into said high-demand areas.
They just got the degree, thought they could flash it at any company and get a job. Yeah, right.
No demand, and too much supply = Hello minimum wage!
What sucks the most is that you could have just skipped all that schooling and student debt, and worked at that minimum wage job right out of high school.
2. THEY HAVE KNOWLEDGE BUT NO IDEA HOW TO APPLY IT
Memorizing a textbook and being able to recite every word in one, is not the same as being able to use what you have learned.
For me, this is where the biggest unknown factor comes in. Someone who really sucked at memorizing textbooks and learning stuff by heart, can have that single spark of logic or ability to trump all others in a real world setting when things are not so neat and clean.
This applies to any job, really. Even if you read about past examples of business failures, I was always taught in class that even if something failed in the past for that company in that particular period, it doesn’t mean that it will fail again today.
A very rigid school education (I am thinking of Asian countries here) prevents such creativity to blossom and punishes those who don’t conform to textbook rules, which is partly the reason why I suspect many Asian countries can’t seem to get a leg up over Western ones in terms of innovation, design and sheer risk-taking.
3. THEY PAID FOR THE DEGREE
I lump degrees that are done online, via correspondence or any school that doesn’t have any kind of standing or ranking in any lists of schools into this category of having “paid for the degree”.
That is not to say that people who come from these schools are stupid and unable to get great jobs, but it does mean that people who come from these schools and are ambitious will have to work harder and smarter than others who went to schools that are considered ‘real’ schools. It will also take them longer to reach the top, but it is not impossible.
From my experience and understanding, the name of the school matters a lot less here in North America than it does in Europe, particularly in France.
You could be a college graduate and still make it in a company without someone at the top saying:
So-and-So school? I haven’t even heard of it, forget it, we’re not even going to consider hiring that person.
…yet if it comes down to picking from the crop of a decent college versus a no-name one, companies are going to fill up on candidates from a college they know and respect versus one that everyone considers you just paid to get a degree from.
There are maybe only 3% of colleges at the most that are worth attending, and who really offer a real education where the diploma means and says something.
They’re capitalist enterprises looking to cash in on this hunger for a college degree even though you could barely understand what you were being taught in high school, and flunked out on your entrance exams which barred you from getting into those 3% of schools worth attending.
A college degree is not the same as the next, particularly if it is thought to have done ZERO filtering on its candidates and therefore just took anyone in who had an itch to rack up a lot of student debt.
I am particularly appalled by basic English mistakes being made from so-called college graduates or MBA graduates who are native English speakers. I really can’t believe that you can obtain an MBA without having learned the difference between your and you’re, or their, they’re and there.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Armed with either a degree with no market value, a fake one from a school that just took your money or lacking in how to apply all of this knowledge juggling around in your head, you have 3 options:
- Go back and get a real degree in an area with a higher demand for those skills that companies want
- Go to a technical school (e.g. trades) and become a plumber, electrician and pick up a skill that society needs
- Suck it up and work hard at your minimum wage job, in the hopes of rising in the ranks over the years