Everyone’s complaining that the economy sucks. They can’t get a good job because the economy’s in the toilet- but they have a brilliant solution! Go back to school to ride out the economy and get another piece of paper that says they’re more educated than their competitors and can stand out from the crowd.
I hate to share the epiphany I had a few months ago, with you- but it has to be done:
You’re going to apply for the same jobs, with the same methods and get the same results. Rely on this and You. Are. Vanilla. You are just as exciting as the Times New Roman, 1″ Margins, Microsoft Word Document you used to tell employers about yourself. Your education has failed you, but not in the right way.
Isn’t that what you paid for? We seem to think our degrees make us unique, competitive, and somehow, our grades make us exceptional and brilliant. But in reality, your university wanted you to be totally UNEXCEPTIONAL so they’d be able to give you a pass/fail rating that was reliable and consistent with your peers.
So, the institution did what it promised (give you a reliable measure of aptitude), you did what you set out to do (adhere to the measures to ensure your aptitude and garner the desired standard product), and now, why is there shock when the product does what’s expected? Your degree is not a golden ticket to anything- it’s simply a measure that you could adhere to standards with basic compitence.
In fact, you didn’t even have to excel in your classes. You didn’t have to do any extra-curriculars, or seek the mentorship of anyone who could challenge you. You didn’t have to do anything but simply show up, and sometimes (the majority of the time) you didn’t even have to do that! Chances are, that is exactly what you did- met the minimum standards to graduate. You most likely depended on your school to tell you what books to read, and what dreams to set for yourself. Chances are, you didn’t give it much thought- because if you had, you might have realized, that your education, as it stood, was a farse in terms of doing ANYTHING AT ALL beyond what it set out to do: which is get you that piece of paper, so you could put that line on another piece of paper, and wait for that dream employer to call.
You, me, and scores of others have unquestionably relied on our educational institutions to make us exceptional for the job market- but that’s not what they’re geared to do. Remember, they sell a product- that piece of paper we all want, and the best way to do that is through conventional means.
A piece of paper that on its face, is completely like the next? Again, the economy hasn’t ruined the market for young job seekers- it just has separated the wheat from the chaff and finally drew attention the growing problem of college-educated mediocrity.
It sucks that the rules have changed- but what’s GREAT is, the rules have changed! We have the internet- we can innovate! At your fingertips (and possibly in your skull already) is all you’d ever need to know. Endless social networks are waiting to be established, and thousands of questions are waiting to be answered. For the low price of $20 or whatever you pay, you have the internet which can help you start the innovative process of re-branding yourself and making your résumé worth reading! In fact, the internet is so awesome, you may not even need a stupid résumé!
Conventionality– whether it be in the education you attained, the methods you choose to get a “good job,” or the path you’re walking down, has failed you. There is a bright, big world of innovation that is happening all around you, and if you are still relying on conventional ideas to get you what you want, you’re going to get conventional results.
Here are some of my favorite innovators. They make money online doing things differently, that challenge them and utilize modalities like Facebook, WordPress and YouTube to MAKE MONEY. Brilliant!
The fact of the matter is- I write this because it’s something I’m working on too. Can you imagine how much it sucks to rally against the complacency creation that is higher-ed, while I am FINISHING a MASTER’S DEGREE? It’s maddening! But the fact of the matter is, I already made my bed, I have to sleep in it- and I’m going to make the best of it. I can’t do much with “half a master’s degree,” nor can I do much by pissing/moaning my way through my next two semesters.
I’m going to learn and do as much as I can in, and out, of the classroom so I don’t waste any of my precious life. I’m not stressing about getting straight A’s (really, someone tell me what good they really do? It doesn’t do any good to have academic honors on a résumé if the stupid thing gets tossed in the trash before it’s read!
There are no promises that my blog (though I am now a problogger, yay!) will ever yield me any long term career success. There are no promises, just risks and you know? I adore that. I don’t know what “use” this blog would be for the mainstream, but I can already tell you that I still haven’t found a use for Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” except to hold up my computer monitor.