Education Versus Experience

UnknownHello Everyone,

Although I have been thinking about this topic for a long time, the will to actually write today’s post was inspired by a recent comment.  My book is currently in its formatting stage, so I also have some down time from that as well.  More on this soon…

The topic of education versus experience is of such great significance in society and I feel that because most of us are so used to believing what we are told about education, it is not really discussed or analyzed.  We are told, no fed, that if we go to college we will get a great job, right?  Then why is it that so many graduates cannot find work?  Why is it that college graduates are going back to work at jobs that they did in high school?  Why is it that employers are expecting job applicants to have the degree, yet they want them to have several years of experience as well?  Please tell me how this makes sense.  Because what these employers are telling me is that along with the degree that these graduates have spent thousands of dollars for, they must somehow miraculously find some time within those 4-6 years of school to have the “experience” needed for the job.  What these employers are also telling me is that a college degree is not enough.  Somehow, someway, these graduates must be provided with the necessary “experience” for their career choice.  So what does that mean?   Mandatory vocational school (which means more money that these students don’t have)? Or perhaps a reconstruction of the education system in which students are given the necessary courses and training for their career choice.  Why is this not being done already?  I feel that it’s because it is not the students that truly benefit from this twisted system.  They are told that they must go to college to get a good job, and when they graduate and cannot find a job, they go back to school in the hopes that an advanced degree will get them somewhere.  Yet, that doesn’t work because they are still lacking the “experience,” and so in the end they are forced to work at low-rate jobs in order to pay back loans that accrued throughout the years. Crushed and Shattered dreams.   It is so heart-breaking when I listen to stories of college graduates that had big dreams and much hope after school only to have them crushed and destroyed by the contradictions of the “real world.”  And with that goes their happiness and the increased rate of depression in college graduates.

What we are not telling our students is the truth. It’s not all about the economy as we are told. A degree will only get one so far.  Once one graduates they may have to start at the “bottom” in order to get where they want and gain the “experience.”  And if they don’t want to start at the “bottom” they better do a lot of praying or depend on the ridiculous, unfair but true scenario that someone they know will them get in. What I don’t understand about the necessity to have experience for a career is why companies will not take the time to train their new employees.  There are of course the select few that will train the new employee for up to two weeks, and that’s great, but not all companies are the same.  One may say that this is because companies do not have the time to do so.  And what I say to that is this is one of the issues that we have as a community: we are not taking the time to help each other, and it’s always one person for themselves.  There are so many college graduates that are eager and longing to get out in the working field, and therefore I can assure you that most will do whatever it takes to make sure that they do their work right and learn quickly because of the happiness and relief of being in a job.  Besides, if one is educated, they will surely learn quickly, correct?

Because of the issue with needing experience with education, a lot of people are lying on their resumes. Say for example that you were reading Mr. Doe’s resume and he has all the experience and education needed for the position, and the interview went great, and you decided that you want to hire him right away. Even so, you still take the time to interview the rest of the candidates. In the end, you do in fact hire Mr. Doe.  Now because Mr. Doe lied on his resume, he knows absolutely nothing about the job that you hired him for.  You noticed this a little and decided to give him some time to get his act together, but that doesn’t work.  Then you spend some more time contemplating the fact that you hired someone who had no idea what they were doing, and some more time in figuring out what you should do next.  Eventually you fire Mr. Doe and you have start the hiring process all over again or try to recollect candidates that were runner ups.  How’s that for a waste of time? I’m not saying that this happens all the time, but I have seen something very similar to this situation in my own life.

There are times when education is not that significant.  For example, there are several people working for the state that do not have a degree or have an associates degree and they are making much more money than those who went to college. That is because some commenced working for the State as a clerk or what not, and over time, much time, they receive a higher position due to their experience (and knowing people for some).  These type of workers are deemed successful by societal standards and are respected based on their experience and job position. Not their education.  How interesting. Then there are those (who count for many people in my life) who did not go to college, and are working what in society deems as “lowly” or “blue collar” careers.  I’m talking about the construction workers,  waiters/waitresses, store associates, etc.  Most assume that because these people did not get a “proper education” that their thoughts and words and hearts and passion are insignificant, meaningless and pointless.  As I have mentioned in my previous posts, these people, and I’m speaking for those in my life, are the most intelligent, kind and wise people that I have ever known. They work harder than those in a “good job” and their viewpoints on life are so much more interesting and thought-provoking than those with an “education.”  It makes me so angry to see the way these workers are portrayed in the media.  It makes me even angrier when customers don’t even look a waiter/waitress or store associate in the eye when addressing them.  The giving and receipt honor and respect should not be based on education or on what one does for living.  It should be based on the actions of the person and their character.  You can tell so much about a person by the way they speak and address other people.

One of my commenters pointed out that you can always tell when one has been formally educated.  I say that this is true on some levels.  If one were to talk in-depth about the stars and moon and they’re composition, exact names and coordinate placement in the galaxy then one would probably say that that person is formally educated in astrology.  Now if a waiter who did not go to college, but studied astrology for a hobby (I did so when I was younger, so yes people do this) were to speak to you about the same topic would you assume the same thing? What does it mean to tell if one is “formally educated?”  “Formally” as in going to college?  Although we learn plenty of things in college, there are several, as I’m sure you know, that leave college not knowing anymore than when they went in because they were too busy doing other things.  So even though they have a “formal education” does this make them better than the waiter that did not receive any? There are many doctors that receive a “formal education” but give their patients drugs they have no business taking and a diagnosis that make no sense.

Hope and honor are such a big part of this topic, and I can go on and on.  But I’ll leave it here for now.  Thank you Urban for your comment and for igniting the flame of today’s discussion.  I hope to hear what the rest of you think as well.

Peace and Love

Posted on March 6, 2013, in Education and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Educated – but, needs experience to land the job: Catch – 22!!!
    I talk to my student peers about this aspect of reality all the time. “Any experience in your field will at least “get your foot in the door”. It may not get you the job, but it’s a great step forward. (In one of your other blogs you stated about ” teachers having the summer off according to some folks, and I do know some professors that take the entire summer away from university – but, never away from WORK – after all, teaching is their life passion. Most do some form of R & R; NO, not rest and relaxation; REST and RESEARCH.) At the university, in the Spring semester there are always listings for summer job-staffers in a students field of study. How many are taken, I have no idea. But most students don’t appear all that high on the aspect of being away from home in the summer where they can continue to live off their parents and basically do-nothing. *I do get a bit “upset” about this … sorry!” My life wasn’t that way – but, “Don’t cry for me … Argentina.”
    My problem: I’m 66 and educated through the University of “Hard Knocks.”
    My best speech to my student peers: “Life is what you make it.”
    How many listen: I have no idea. I didn’t! I started this quest for a B.A. in 1972 – but, there is lite at the end of the tunnel. Maybe 2014 may be the year I can truely say: “I’m Educated!”

    • George! No need to apologize. I enjoy reading the passion in your writing! You remind me of a professor when I was in college. Whenever I came early for my scheduled class, I always caught the last minute or so of his. Even though he never taught me, I wanted to be in his class so badly because the man taught, spoke, and moved with so much energy and passion that I could not help but feel it too. To this day, I have no idea what he taught! Teachers and students really do feed off of each other. It’s an amazing partnership!

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