Saturday, March 24, 2007

why so slow?

Perhaps the five or six people that read my blog occasionally have been wondering why I've been posting stuff up even less than usual. I'm sure your happiness revolves around it, so I'll not keep you in suspense any longer. The reason for my lessened presence is: school. My edumacation is conflicting with my online entertainment time. Why do I put up with that, you ask? Its a means to an end. I don't intend to be poor forever. I may be; I just don't intend to be. Finishing my degree is how I'm planning to make that happen.

Now, that begs the question of why I'm able to write this furious screed at this time. That's simple: I'm doing everything I can to avoid delving into my Principles of Corporate Finance homework. Avoiding it at almost all costs. I promise, though: I'll get into it when I'm done here. I may, but the motivation is lacking. Bond pricing questions are no fun at all, and if I need to figure this stuff out, I can probably call a bond broker and as him. Oh, well. Like I said, its a means to and end. I gotta get it done sometime.

The common question is "Oh, you're in school? What are you going to school for?" My typical answer is "I wonder that a lot, too." That's not really true, but the sister of one of my co-workers thought it was charming and giggled a little for me. I guess I'm gonna keep using that line. The fact is, though, I know exactly why I'm doing this, and I fully understand what school at the higher levels is all about. If you don't, reading this could very well change your life, and may blow your mind sufficiently to get on to college if you're not already doing it.

The whole point of college, in the big picture, is not to get vocational training. Sure, if you're going to be an engineer, an engineering degree helps. Even people with engineering degrees don't always become engineers, though. So, we have an exception for vocations that require specific training. What about the eleventy billion other good jobs? Here's a clue, based on almost 20 years of management experience: your degree's subject is far less important than having the degree. Think about that a minute.

Have you grasped it yet? No? Lemme 'splain it to you, Lucy. College isn't about vocational training. It isn't really about expanding your horizons, although if you choose your courses carfully, that will happen. Becoming a well rounded individual isn't the goal, either; its a beneficial byproduct. The whole point of school is to finish. By finishing, you prove a simple yet crucial point: you can start a project and finish it.

Colleges try hard to keep up with the working sector. They try to give you exposure to concepts and methods that are currently in use in the world of the working stiffs. Problem is, they're always reacting, not being proactive and being ahead of the curve. By the time you're in a position to put what they taught you to use, paradigms (pronounced "pair a dig ems". The boss will be very impressed that you know the term. My interview is right after yours; I'll show him I know it, too) have shifted and "we don't do it like that anymore".

On the other hand, if you get a job in the military (God bless you and thank you for your service if you choose this route) the training you get is very cutting edge. Get a degree while you're in and combine that with the training you get there, and you're bankable. You're so money and you don't even know it. F'rinstance: one of my co-workers has a wife in the Army. She's in comms. She's already getting headhunted for contracting companies for big money when she's done. Couple that field with a degree, and you're going to make a nice fat pile of cash.

But do you see the difference? College can never be as cutting edge in what you get taught. That being the case, don't expect it to be. I'm sure you're offended at that thought: "What the...You gotta be kiddin' me!! I'm spending $40,000 a year to get an education, and I can't really use it?!?" In a nutshell: yeah. You won't apply all that much of your batchelor's degree to your job. A lot of what you're staying up nights working on, and I'm not refering to tomorrow's hangover, don't mean squat in the working world. All it means is what has previously been stated: you can start something and finish it. That's all. Period. End of story.

How do I know? I've seen thousands of applications and hired a hundred people. Little of what they know is of use to me; I have to train them in everything I want them to do. If anything, I have to un-teach their bad habits. That said, I still want college educated people if I can get them. Why? Because I know they'll start a project and finish it. Seems simplistic, but that's what it means.

For the average job, would I look at the school you went to? I'd be impressed that you dropped the coin to get though Yale. It doesn't guarrantee that you'll get the job over the guy from SDSU, or Slippery Rock State or Joe's Higher Learning Establishment and Basque Restaurant. This is the place where your personality, confidence, and ability to interpersonally communicate comes through. Make sure you can do that as well as finish from an expensive school.

Here's another hint: the lower division stuff that you take at the local Community College is worth just as much as the classes that are costing you five times as much at the Institution of Expensive Higher Learning. Kinda makes ya wonder why you're forking out all that money for it, doesn't it? Here's the reason you're paying all that money: tomorrow's hangover. That's all. Period. End of story.

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