In today’s job market a college degree may not be as valuable as the time spent acquiring it. Recent research shows that having a college degree does not guarantee a graduate will find a job, much less a job in their field of study. Furthermore, many positions are being replaced by computer technology and the positions that are available go to people who have earned Masters degrees.
Karen Best, the Assistant Principal at McKinney secondary school of the Arts, said that when she graduated from college “it was hard to find anything in teaching right away.“
That did not stop her from finding other work although the way she found it was not based so much on her level of education.
Networking has become a relatively useful way of getting a job. It may be unspoken but having a common source in many fields is better than knowing no one at all.
“I wanted something that I could be assured of. [Something] more substantial so I went to work for a non-profit. I was able to get that job through a connection.”
Having a business card shows professionalism and a willingness to work with others regardless of what field they are in.
Shonique Salmon is a junior at CUNY York College who said that she decided to pursue a degree in a field that she is passionate about as opposed to one that would get her a “decent job” with a good salary.
“I know that if I were to study marketing I’d have jobs waiting for me but my passion is theater, “ said Salmon.
Like other students her age Salmon is maintaining two jobs as well as carrying a full load of classes. She said that when she decided to go to college her mother refused to pay for it because she didn’t have the means to do so. While in high school Salmon excelled at the internships she did with various companies, one of which she still works at today. Her idea of a decent job is something with a salary and benefits and she knows fairly well that acting does not always guarantee a steady income. However, she will not allow that variable to dictate how she spends the remainder of her time in school.
“Once you fall in love with something, nothing else matters. You’ll invest your time and money into it.”
Michael Chamblee is 62 years old and has been an artist and contractor for the majority of his life. For a year he attended New York City Technical College but has made most of his living through freelancing and commissions for his artwork. He is a painter by trade but still believes that the time spent in school can be valuable when interviewing for not only jobs but life in general.
“It shows that you’re the type of person that sticks with something until it’s finished. That takes a lot of intelligence and discipline.”
Not only does Chamblee believe that the employers get a chance to evaluate the interviewee’s commitment characteristics but higher education teaches you a lot about the real world outside of classes.
“It teaches you how to think. Problem-solving. Like with algebra your mind is trained to take things one step at a time, systematically.”
According to Chamblee time does matter a lot in any field but today it isn’t just about the time one spends acquiring a degree. The time spent getting to know others in the field, the time spent on getting to know a company’s history and even the time spent on putting together one’s clothing and resume are important as well.
Many of these skills come from trial and error. Also things like volunteering and fundraising show dedication to potential employers.
In Chamblee’s opinion a person can learn more from books than they can learn from experience because one is able to digest information that they did not get first hand. He gave the example of ancient Chinese philosophy. However, he did mention that there are some things that will only be learned socially through life experience and for those people must spend time learning the ropes.