This English Major Just Got Fired. Here’s Where I Went Wrong
October 17, 2016 15 Comments
This is pretty interesting. It tells us quite a lot about how it is out there in the job market. But it tells us something else, maybe. Maybe our young people are coming out of college with rather overblown expectations of what a degree is worth. The best thing that college can teach you, is to be responsible for yourself, and it sounds like this person got that lesson, but that’s not enough to start a career at anyplace but the (or pretty close, anyway) bottom.
For the first time in my life, I’ve been fired. It was probably as easy an experience as it can ever be. I had known it was coming, since I had gone in the day before to check the coffee shop schedule, and found my name wasn’t on it.
I wasn’t fired for incompetence; the manager made that clear. I could do the work required as well as anyone. The trouble was that I’m not a very enthusiastic, outgoing, or bubbly kind of person, and I couldn’t pretend to be for six hours at a time. I’m not a “people person,” you see, and begging is not my style.
Only trouble was, no one else wanted me, either. Nine years ago, I went into college with only a vague notion of what I would do when I got out. I took a degree in English writing, since my intention was to eventually become a writer, although I knew I’d need some kind of suitable day job in the meantime. I figured that would just work out and that pretty much anything would do.
During college I considered and rejected pretty much every career option you can think of, from teaching to law enforcement, but never settled on anything definite. I ended up taking a job at an auto parts company upon graduation.
About a year ago, after leaving that job, I found myself looking for work. I had a college degree and almost four solid years of work experience under my belt. I am intelligent, dependable, and courteous, and I have a record of learning new duties quickly. Apparently, that qualified me to work in a coffee shop. Then I was courteously dismissed from it with no further prospects.
College Taught Me I Didn’t Need College
Weeks have now turned to months. I’ve sent application after application. About one time out of a hundred, I’ve been called in for an interview. Most of the time I receive nothing. As of this writing, I am still unemployed.
My experience is not unique. There are thousands of college graduates in my shoes today. In fact, I’m better off than most: thanks to my wonderful parents, I don’t have any student debt weighing me down. I was also fortunate that the school I went to included a Great Books program, which is where I first truly learned to think.
Having learned that particular skill, I’ve concluded it probably wasn’t a good idea for me to go to college. Oh, I’m grateful for many things—the aforementioned Great Books program, the friends I made, and so forth. But looking back, I can’t avoid the conclusion that if I had learned to think a little sooner I would have realized that I shouldn’t have gone to college at all when I did.
I would have been better off going into the military or getting a job right off the bat. That way I would have had the kind of skills necessary to find the kind of jobs I want. College, for me, was unnecessary. Many people have to go into debt to attend a school where, instead of teaching you to think logically, they teach you how much the world owes you. It’s a liability.
Could well be so, hard to say from here. But there is also this, most employers, for a job with any kind of future don’t want to talk to you if you don’t have that piece of paper. It likely has to do, amongst other things, with how risible a high school education has become, and it’s an easy marker for computer sorting. To continue:
Searching for work is a potent cocktail of urgency, confusion, rage, and helplessness. You are keenly aware that you need a job, and you want to get one, but at the same time it feels as though it is completely out of your hands. All you can do is send out your applications, wait, do your follow-up calls, and wait again while whatever money you have saved dwindles and the gap in your resume grows.
That’s the worst part of looking for work: how utterly powerless one feels. You don’t get to set the terms. You don’t control if or when the other side will respond. You have to jump through the same tedious hoops over and over, laboriously entering the same information time and again, all the while knowing your only reward is likely to be a form letter stating they “have decided to go with a candidate who better fits our qualifications” and they “Wish you luck in your search.”
That’s if you’re lucky. Most of the time your application simply vanishes into the ether without leaving so much as a ripple. You are competing with untold thousands of others, leaving it highly unlikely that anyone will even see your application. But you’re forbidden from applying in any other way.
via This English Major Just Got Fired. Here’s Where I Went Wrong Do read it all.
I sympathize, boy do I sympathize. I too have been there, and applying online just plain sucks, although I completely understand why most companies do it that way now.
I suspect I would, if I were still active in growing a business, would love to have this person on board. That way of thinking is the key going far. But as they’ve discovered, even with a college degree, they have to start at the bottom. What they may not know is this. It’s always been that way. Back in the day, when being the ‘Standard Railroad of the World’ meant something, a newly graduated civil engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad started as an assistant rodman, and worked through many positions before their title included that coveted word ‘engineer’. No matter what you want to do, there are many things that you can only learn from experience, not from school. Although schooling is always helpful, if not always required.