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I’m not paying for that…

Interesting musings on what one might be willing to pay for when one’s children get ready to go to college over at dispatches from TJICistan .

The key is a certain seriousness: if (a) someone is truly interested in a field, and (b) intends to do real things in it, and (c) a degree is either a prerequisite, or at least quite useful, then it’s likely something worth paying for.

On the other hand, the vast majority of the “feminist theology” and “expressionist dance” degrees that I’ve seen have been tools to avoid real study while drinking for four years on a university, and I’d have not interest in paying for that.

As the holder of a degree in sociology, I cringe when I see stuff like this. Not because I disagree, but because as much as I enjoyed it, my degree has been worth just about squat to me. Having “a degree” allowed me to qualify for a promotion, but I could have probably gotten away with a degree in underwater basketweaving and still gotten it.

My father (who had two Master’s degrees) used to tell me (right after the lecture on getting a degree that was useful for something {like accounting} and just before the lecture on getting serious and finishing the damn thing) that all a Bachelor’s Degree is really good for was to prove that you had enough discipline to jump through the hoops they told you to and was proof to an employer that you could understand, retain and follow basic instructions.

That may have been true in the 50’s and 60’s when he was in school. Based on the interviews I do with prospective employees, I rather think is isn’t anymore. I don’t think a degree in any of the more “enlightened” fields (like feminist theology, expressionist dance, or sociology for that matter) tells an employer anything positive and in fact, may be a warning sign not to hire an individual. I think degrees like that tell an employer that you are capable of wandering through any hoop that’s big enough to drive a truck through and that you might be able to follow basic instructions if they mesh with your enlightened narrative.

I realize that I’m oversimplifying here, but I waste a lot of time interviewing a wide variety of people for jobs I can’t keep filled. But I’m not bitter, or anything.

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