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response to a posed question

QUESTION:
The subject of employment (or lack thereof) and its connection with education and/or skills has been coming up A LOT lately. So... I thought I'd ask:

Do you have a degree? If so, in what? Do you have a career that uses the education acquired from said degree? Have you sought to develop skills specific to your field of study? Are you currently looking for work? How's that going for you? Also, comment on your student debt if you don't mind.

Are you working, successfully or otherwise, WITHOUT a degree? If so, do you feel held back in any way because of a lack of formal education? Do you feel ahead of the game because of a lack of student debt? If you're currently in school, how confident do you feel that you'll be able to start a career after graduation?




My Response:
BA in French (French Economics and Francophonie dans le monde); spent a year in Strasbourg France recently; so yes used it. I am an IT consultant wherein I do DBA, programming, and business operations consulting and use internal/external resources to keep current (ever hear of google and wikis). I have entertained starting 3 terminal degrees but abandoned all (JD, 2nd language acquisition, and MIS) -- The opportunity cost was marginal, so I determined the 'juice was not worth the squeeze'.

Now, nuts to bolts. The real question is how does one take skills and education and turn it into viable work that provides desirable and achievable outcomes? As one that does hiring from time to time, resumes tell me nothing. I look for a digital portfolio of sorts, I want someone that has learned to learn and that can understand when failure drives them to another creative solution. I once learned from a great uncle (Dean of Physics) that he only employed research students that had between a 2.78 and 3.4 (they knew how to work through failure). I pose situational questions without determined solutions to understand how one thinks and processes information without boundaries. I can train almost any skill, but I can't train the smile.

My personal debt ratio was maintained through choice of education, I went to Utah State University, BYU and a community college (ARC aka Wolverine-tech).....one last rock to pay off -- whether one pays 40k a semester or 2500 a semester only buys esteemed image in the post market place as others have loosely indicated. I have a private sector job and work for a growth company (yes they do exist in today's economy and my company is hiring - www.ellucian.com/careers). We support Higher Education and see a shift in all things education. The largest shift is that the model is finally becoming consumer-based and driven (some of this is really good, some will come with tertiary consequences that consumers do not concern themselves with in their satisfy me now mantras).... I do not measure someone by their degree, but it may serve as a good baseline measurement that tells me if they can be dedicated to something (worth of dedication is subjective and I have no interest in that discussion) :P .

For me I was ahead in the game b/c of chances I took and opportunities seized. My connections came later and I draw on those only to keep the common good amongst colleagues and peers, rarely is it used to gain personal advantage, but I am no dummy either. But then again, I did concentrate on snowboarding for 5 years after an LDS based 2 year mission before returning to USU to finish my formal education.

Bottom line: life is educational! I feel I have learned to learn. My dream and wish is for others to seize the same mantra -- 'Improvise, Adapt and Overcome'. What my formal education provided me was a required key to open a closed door. The 'Paper' only represents that I was willing to go through the motions for those that regulate the system, but now that I have infiltrated the system, sky is the limit. For others, many have received the 'key' but didn't learn to learn, so they have opened a door, but have been hindered but not learning to learn and their progress is different than mine.

fwiw - my $00.02

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