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  1. #61
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimrckhnd View Post
    Not without some serious technical training or perhaps a very high level of self taught skill in a trade or craft. The outlook for the person with just a HS diploma in the US is not very good. Even with a basic BA in a general subject it can be pretty tough to get your foot in the door of that rewarding career.
    Hmm interesting that you would say that. Probably quite a lot depends on where you live. My career path has been something like this:

    -by age 20 - had my BA in English literature with a minor in French. Had some freelance writing work under my belt already but no regular job. Got a couple of minimum wage jobs in my Canadian home town, in the library and at a bookshop, and later doing surveys.
    -age 23 - moved to Ireland, started working in a call centre for a major airline (at least I got to use my French). Wanted to work in publishing but all the companies were pretty small and not hiring much or wanted people with more experience.
    -age 26 - moved to London and worked for two years in customer relations for a different airline.
    -age 28 - partly through a personal connection and partly through an agency, got temp work with one of the world's biggest publishing companies. Spent the next three years doing contracts and temp work for them. One of the contracts was especially good (maternity cover, managing editor for their children's lit division) but they didn't seem keen to give me a permanent job though they always told me how good I was...I think my "skilled temp" status was a bit too useful for them.
    -age 31 - got a permanent job working on the publishing program for an institution which offers speech and drama exams to the public. I've been there over a year and it's going pretty well.
    -Alongside all this for many years I was doing freelance writing and had several educational children's books published. Not doing that much any more, the writing I've been doing is more poetry and such.

    I'm not sure what my career path says about my education etc. I did always want to work in publishing and here I am. But it took a good while. The airline stuff was good for a few years as I got to travel on the cheap and so on, but it was unrelated to what I was really interested in. I was lucky to get a foot in the door in publishing when I did, and the personal connection helped at least somewhat. It's nearly impossible in the current economic climate. But being in London has A LOT to do with me finally having the job I want, or at least a job I want enough. There are a lot of arts/publishing/etc jobs here, though it's still a difficult area to get into (especially now.) If I'd stayed in Canada or Ireland I kind of doubt it would have happened.

    I think education is important if you want a good job in the area you're keen on, but experience is king. That's what I've observed. And personal connections, certainly in the arts, publishing, etc. To an annoying degree, actually. The person I knew initially in the publishing company had nannying experience, and no degree, and now has a pretty major position in that company. She does her job extremely well, but it's not like she was remotely qualified (that actually annoyed me a bit when I was struggling to get a permanent job with them.)

    It also amuses me a bit that no one ever seems to ask for proof that I have a BA, though I guess they could contact my university on their own, as obviously it's on my CV.
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  2. #62
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    It also amuses me a bit that no one ever seems to ask for proof that I have a BA, though I guess they could contact my university on their own, as obviously it's on my CV.
    They never asked for mine, either. I think it's because if you work for a private company it's not considered as a strict requirement (i.e. by law), so it's technically not needed.
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  3. #63
    Senior Member tinkerbell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    A Ph.D. degree is generally more challenging than a Bachelor's degree so I'd be likely to perceive the Ph.D. as having a higher level of intelligence.

    Not sure I'd agree with that, in my experience people who went on and did MA's or PhD's typically didn't want to get a job, so extended their education as long as physically possible. IT wasn't the brightest in the class either, but then I guess that depends on subjects taken. Education can and is often used as a means of procrastinating real adult responsibilities in my experience.

  4. #64
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinkerbell View Post
    Not sure I'd agree with that, in my experience people who went on and did MA's or PhD's typically didn't want to get a job, so extended their education as long as physically possible. IT wasn't the brightest in the class either, but then I guess that depends on subjects taken. Education can and is often used as a means of procrastinating real adult responsibilities in my experience.
    I think this can be true...some really want to stay in the ivory tower of academia as long as possible. I've thought about getting a masters but I'm not sure I need it at this point and I'm not quite in love with studying as I used to be.

    Then again, I think this might apply more to those who collect BAs and that sort of thing. To me, if you go for a PhD it suggests you're serious about becoming a professor/academic. I know a guy who won a Fulbright and has now done his PhD, he's been teaching at different universities in various capacities for a few years already.
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  5. #65
    Senior Member tinkerbell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post

    Then again, I think this might apply more to those who collect BAs and that sort of thing. To me, if you go for a PhD it suggests you're serious about becoming a professor/academic. I know a guy who won a Fulbright and has now done his PhD, he's been teaching at different universities in various capacities for a few years already.
    Actually I've worked with a lot of PhD folks who are not heading towards teaching at Uni, so there is life after a phd, but one needs to ask oneself what you want to do with advanced qualifications. I'm a business grad, did very well ut had many classes with MBA students in my 3rd year, I would simply get nothing out an MBA because I learned that stuff in my degree, so I'd fancy doing wooly crap for fun - but then thats a lot of money.

    The change in UK fees will reduce the numbers going into further education that don't have a career path to go onto, which iIMO is not a bad thing. I've several relatives with arty degrees who have done little to the GDP of the country post education. The investment of the tax payers money has not real return...

  6. #66
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinkerbell View Post
    Actually I've worked with a lot of PhD folks who are not heading towards teaching at Uni, so there is life after a phd, but one needs to ask oneself what you want to do with advanced qualifications. I'm a business grad, did very well ut had many classes with MBA students in my 3rd year, I would simply get nothing out an MBA because I learned that stuff in my degree, so I'd fancy doing wooly crap for fun - but then thats a lot of money.

    The change in UK fees will reduce the numbers going into further education that don't have a career path to go onto, which iIMO is not a bad thing. I've several relatives with arty degrees who have done little to the GDP of the country post education. The investment of the tax payers money has not real return...
    At the moment in the UK, I really don't envy anyone finishing school right now with either just their A-levels, or even a university degree. It's pretty tough. By comparison things were not tough at all when I was finishing uni...

    The people you know getting a PhD not planning to teach, what are they planning to do? I agree it's a lot of money to spend on something you're just interested in, with little practical purpose!
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  7. #67
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    We're 7 billion people in a highly mechanized (well, part of the world at least) world, we need a lot of completely unpractical jobs if we want people not to starve; alternatively, an overstrechted welfare state.
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  8. #68
    Senior Member guesswho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allegorystory View Post
    What does a university education mean to you when it comes to your own worth or the worth of another individual?
    it means that you work more, and may be smarter than some, depending on the degree.

    A degree isn't necessarily a proof of intelligence, but I guess it's a proof that you're not stupid compared to other individuals.

  9. #69
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Normally, degrees require some minimum intelligence, though some degrees require a higher minimum than others. So, yes, in a purely statistical sense, I think degrees are a good indicator of intelligence.

    Aside from that, degrees say more about personality, values, and social background than intelligence.

    I am 25 and don't have a degree.
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  10. #70
    Senior Member Xyk's Avatar
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    If any of my peers had a degree, I would suddenly think extremely highly of them. My peers are 18. It would be damned impressive.
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