Education…years ago a commercial reminded us that the mind was a terrible thing to waste and not to be outdone, later showed us the over-easy fried version…if, we wanted to plug-in and drink a little Kool-aid on an acid trip. Whichever process your thoughts may have been drawn to, having knowledge in this day and age is unfortunately, unquantifiable…unless, however, it is worth the paper it is credited to – no matter how outdated that may be.
In order to be taken seriously, someone like me, over a certain age is still documented for irrelevant book smarts. Simply put, to get a job anymore, you must have graduated high school ( a given back then), and later, have received a college degree…from a time when woofers and tweeters were the end all to music, and the only apple in anyone’s eye, was the one my Dad said I was. If you can compute that level of necessary albeit stagnant knowledge, and slap it on a resume, then you’ll get dust and a bag of chips, none of which are of the nano variety. Why does inapplicable study still matter?
After I left school, like Annie and most girls of my era, I took hard knock life classes. I raised three children, balanced and unbalanced finances, budgets and relationships. I also watched the world change from a corner store to a corner office to a corner on the market, and maintained an ongoing bank of knowledge, that had more deposits than most IRA accounts. I stayed relevant, followed the news and the changes in business, went into media, public relations, professional sports and marketing, along with a few other odd experiences along the way from WordStar to XP, and taught my daughters to do the same. All in all, I educated myself every day of my life, and still do…never having a problem fitting in, holding a conversation or making a sound decision.
However…life doesn’t give you a diploma…it only gives you the boot, and very few of them are kinky enough to make it worth my while.
I am truly over the hypocrisy of a piece of outdated paper. I have stood by through birth to hospice, fought medical professionals and rules for healthcare, in situations most would find disgusting and unimaginable, and done it well, making sure my patients were loved…to the end in many cases. However, because they were family, there was no license or degree awarded to my efforts. In the real world it didn’t count…even though I would gladly and competently match my skills with any first year medical student or CNA!
I have also put marketing plans and programs into place, which saved and raised thousands of dollars for my employers, for no other reason, than I have a keen eye for business and common sense that most forget to use. However, no need to deposit any such sense because it’s not worth the paper it isn’t written on to get a job now.
Years ago, a friend was in line for a promotion in law enforcement, and even with years of service and excellent skills, he was overlooked and the job went to someone with a 20 year old degree in physical education. Seriously…someone who knew how to play kick ball 20 years ago was more relevant than someone fresh with top skills, dedication and hands on value? Something stinks…then and now and it isn’t gym socks.
I have decided the everyday business world is now divided into two camps – one where people flock like a country club, needing to be seen and feel important, looking as if they are doing a great job, and the other, almost so task oriented it is frightening, with work being done by people who stop only to go home, so they can return and do it all again the next day. There is no vision, ethics or imagination in the workplace anymore…it is who you know and who you can get past to make more money.
Real value, experience, talent and dedication are meaningless because they are a threat to the machine. Why take a chance and listen to the squeaking wheel, since it just might make the cart move faster with or without a horse, and as a much younger supervisor, you might not look as good as that crisp diploma on your wall.
Paper and what is written upon it will probably outlive us, especially since it now has paperwhite value and electronic retention. However, the value of experience does have a shelf life if it is not taken advantage of, so after a while, the time and the machine will have nothing but Morlocks looking brainlessly at one another until the day is done. We learn not just from our mistakes, but the drawing boards that brought more than one new frontier into existence…so why not profit from someone who was there?
The true value in a person isn’t what someone wrote down or said they could be given credit for having. Eventually those like me with experience, ideas and ability will just stop trying and fade away, like so many of those diplomas that were once all that mattered, no different than tablets, which once needed a pen for ideas and meetings when you looked at each other in the same room. Artificial intelligence is more than a buzzword or robotic possibility…it is becoming the world we live in, and even more tragic is that after the truth is finally realized, it will be too late to recycle us.