Blog Entry

Experience vs Education

Posted on: July 26, 2010 10:55 pm
I'm not sure I even want to go down this alley? I may actually alienate the audience that I'm trying to appeal to.

Let me start out that I had the chance to attend college after high school. In fact I was accepted at the University of Illinois. But then a strange thing happened. That summer I also was able to land a job with a major corporation. Huge . Back then, the adage "work your way up" was still valid.

The company you worked for invested in you as an employee. They trained you. They taught you their practices and methods. And if you were a good employee they would promote you as well.

However, somewhere along the way, companies decided that an education was better, and maybe a more safer gauge. Pretty soon, your experience didn't matter. Which was bad news for those already in the workforce.

It almost seemed backwards in a sense. A company would have a valued employee that is reviewed and rated once or twice a year. So it stands to reason that the company would have firsthand knowledge whether or not the employee is dependable, competent, and capable of taking on more. Correct?

But instead, the company says, well I'd rather have "person B" because they have the "desired" education. So the company hires "person B." However, now the company has to train them on corporate practices, methodologies, corporate systems, etc. Something that the experienced (but seemingly uneducated) employee is already familiar with.

In fact, many times, I was the uneducated employee who was the one training the educated employee . I hope this doesn't minimize the schooling, but given the illustration, it seems like the "education" is more like a generic template of the particular subject matter. I say this because "person B" still needs to be trained and brought up to speed. Sometimes there is a 6-month window or longer for that new employee to be brought up to speed. Half of a business year!

At one point, I wrote engineering specifications for my corporation. I had zero college. I had no electrical degree or certificate. The corporation trained me. And my superiors were so impressed with the quality and efficiency of my work that I was promoted to write engineering practices for the company. A highlight in my career. Enough about me.

Another risk with the educated "person B" is that there is no guarantee that they will grasp the day to day pressures of actual business, to become a dependable, competent, and valued employee.

Currently I am unemployed. I see so many job advertisements that promise the consideration of "experience in lieu of education." Yet, as I have found out firsthand, education trumps experience. Always. I wonder if these positions really are an equal opportunity then?

I wrote all of this because I have no education for my dream job. Fantasy football writer. I also would not mind doing play-by-play for ice hockey. NCAA, AHL, NHL, ECHL, IHL, CHL. Doesn't matter.

But what does matter - I'd just like a job. Based on my experience.

Category: Fantasy Football

Since: Sep 30, 2009
Posted on: August 23, 2010 1:33 am

Experience vs Education

Hey, Joe.

The enemy is classification -- people following a set of guidelines rather than judging each case individually. You can see why people do it, though... nobody has time to wade through all those cases. But it starts to affect thinking even when dealing with a pretty small sample.

It's also a CYA deal for bureaucrats (I picked the person who scored highest on our rating scale, so don't blame me if they're terrible).

The antidote is to have it all. I say if you can swing it, get your BS. On one hand you'll be sort of a star in the classroom because you already know a lot, and on the other hand you'll pick up some knowledge and ideas that your company might have been missing back in the day. Put that together, and get a couple of professors on your side to recommend you on your way out, and you'll be in a good position to pay back those loans and more.

It's a tough world out there. Just like an NFL team, we all have to make changes all the time in order to stay relevant.



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