IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Posts Tagged ‘College’

Calling all other non-degree-rs out there

Posted by IT Pilgrim on October 29, 2008

Calling all other non-degree-rs out there …

I think its time to call to order an unofficial and hereto-for ignored community out there. The non-degree-rs.

Whenever people meet in a professional setting, they always have to exchange college information, where they went, when, like it is what defines them as a person. I have always found that sad, and am still amused at the shock I get when I say I never went. More and more though, I am seeing my own kind out there, the few, the proud.

So here comes my wakeup call … your degree, where you went, your graduate school time, that does not a rockstar make. Ladies and Gentlemen, you want to be the company rockstar? You want to be the name that companies fight over and throw money at? Your degree will never do it for you. In fact, it can be a hindrance. You see, while you were at the local college kegger, the non-degree-rs were working. Often work two or three times as hard to prove that they were more than capable of doing the job you were bidding your time for. Usually starting off as minimum wage workers, we push and claw and teach ourselves to make our own path to the top.

It is not some piece of paper that makes a rockstar. Far from it. Rather, it is the attitude, the work ethic, the tireless drive of a self-made man or woman. That’s the real American dream. I personally, spent evey waking hour cramming my head with any technical book I could get my hands on. That tireless drive to constantly learn more, faster than your competition, to always be improving your skills, to trade sleep for knowledge. That is what make the rockstar. I am far from alone in this. I survive job cuts that few others do, by always having some new skill to throw out, by proving I can take over new jobs that others balk at. Its that breadth of experience, from doing all the crappy jobs that the people with their degrees couldn’t be bothered to do that makes the difference.

So when I see loads of people going back to college because they have trouble finding a job, I cant help but be confused. Why? Perhaps, that, really is the difference, the willingness to reach, to grab whatever it is you want. I can’t say how often I’ve gotten jobs, that on paper, one would never think I was qualified for. What that has taught me is that a job description is kind of like a keyword search, an attempt to grab anyone or anything that might be even remotely related. so what’s the point of this ramble you might ask? The point really, is that piece of paper can define you, if you let it, but so can the lack of it. Sometimes shear audacity and drive conquer all.

And as to what you can do with that degree, see below:

Photo by davekellam via Flickr


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Your College Degree Does Not Make You Better Than Me

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 16, 2008

Just a simple request this morning, hang on while I climb up on my soapbox, OK. Don’t act like your college degree makes you better than me, it doesn’t.

I get this a lot, usually from some insecure person who isn’t willing to work as hard as I am. I know, I am stereotyping, but it happens often enough that I have made my own stereotype for it. It all started on Wednesday morning …

An ex-coworker came over, and he was angry because he didn’t get a promotion. The reason he came over to me, was because I had floated through that position about a year ago. I thought he was asking advice, but he wasn’t. Right before he stormed away, I get the words, “You never should have had that position, you didnt deserve it, and I do. ” “What?!” I sputtered at him. He looks back over his shoulder, down his nose at me, and says it, ” I have a college degree and you don’t.” I couldn’t help it, I laughed, I laughed until I was in danger of falling out of my chair and rolling on the floor Homer Simpson style. His degree …wait for it … art history.

So, you’ll have to excuse the soapbox, but how does that make him better for an IT position? I couldn’t help it, being the shy, demure girl that I am, I had to ask, why that made him better for that job than me. His response honestly shocked me, that it showed he was a more balanced and committed person, that a college degree implies a more advanced level of learning and social skills. What?! Really now, you’re kidding, right?

Alas, no, he was not joking. If this was the first time I had seen this attitude, it probably would not have bothered me so much. Over the years, I have made it a habit of asking, what is your degree in? I often find people in IT with anything from art degrees, to theater and music degrees. From this I have found that some people think that their having acquired a degree makes them better. Why is that? Why is it that going to Frat parties while I was working make them a better person?

I wont beat the dead animal anymore here, but i firmly stand by this … Getting a college degree does not make you a better person. If you don’t know what you want to do, don’t waste your money, just get a job. Later in life, when people try to rub it in your face, just smile, and ask them what their degree is in.

Photo Credit: Mike Raybourne

Posted in Life in IT | Tagged: | 3 Comments »