Friday, 24 April 2009

The downside of a degree

I got a degree mostly because I wanted a degree, but also because I wanted to be able to get a better job. So many places ask for an applicant to have a degree before they'll even consider you for a job.

So I completed a degree. And I still can't get the jobs I couldn't get before, as they now want more experience. I have the skills, but it's hard finding an entry-level job to gain said experience.

And a recruitment agent reassured me yesterday that she'd told a prospective employer that despite my degree, they should consider me for a particular position, as I didn't have any aspirations to move on.

I was... shocked.

First, I don't generally apply for a job unless I want it, which means that — degree or no — if I want a lower-paid job than I could otherwise get, I don't think my degree should be counted against me. Do employers want people with no goals in life? (Also, I know plenty of unambitious graduates.)

Having said that, I do have ambitions. I have places I'd like to be. I have things I'd like to do. I think everyone should have aspirations to move on. Not necessarily moving on from a company, but moving on from the job you're in. Who wants to be stuck in the same position for the rest of your life? Wouldn't you want the interest and the challenge of moving up in the world, whether internally with your employer or — if your employer isn't offering the opportunity — externally?

There are many people I know who would probably be quite content to be in the same job for the rest of their lives. That's fine. The world needs people like this. But they aren't achievers. Would you want to hire someone who's just content to sit there and watch life pass them by?

It's surprising to realise that, having attained my ambition of completing my degree, some lower-end employers may look on me less favourably than before — because they don't think their lower-end job will fulfill me.

But if that's the way it is, I'll just hang out for a less prejudiced employer, or for an entry-level job in the field I want.

Not that this is really relevant anyway. I'm in the shortlist of three for the job, and have an interview on Monday.

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