Friday, February 21, 2014

Go to college or...

Ah, the good ole days.  Right out of high school, you could go somewhere, get a job, work your way up in the world.  Or if you were smart enough, you could go to college, come out of college get a job, work your way up in the world.  Such a simpler time, you could have a decent life with just a high school diploma.  Alas, now, you going to need at least a BA/BS degree, and in the near future a Master's Degree of some kind.

But times changed, as they always do.  When I graduated, I had a great job, sure I was money poor often, but I could take care of that issue five days a week.  I once sold ten cows for $10,000 USD, on a whim, I did not want the cows, I did not need the cows, and someone came along willing to pay my price, so I sold them.  And if you are lucky enough to pick up 40-50 acres, get some cows on it, you can have a cash cow in your back yard, a literal cash cow. 

But the point of this entry is not to reminisce about when times where better.  This entry is about that meme pictured above.  You see, I like so many people was told when I was young, get an education, or you'll do nothing better than flip burgers.  And sure, it scared me, but I was farming, I was making damn good money, so I held off on college.  So when the farm started slipping again, another BSE scare, another steep downturn in the price of beef, stolen livestock, killed livestock, and no means of collecting on these issues, I took a second job.  I got laid off from my minimum wage paying job, so I promptly went through my records and found a University I had contacted years before about expanding my education.  I had never pulled the trigger on it, debt concerns.  But at this point, the best I could hope for was flipping burgers, and I knew that even with farming, those two jobs are dependent on people spending money.

So I enrolled, and set about furthering my education.  Remember I had constantly heard about getting an education, making the most of learning when I was growing up.  So, ingrained in my mind, like those of my peers, get an education.  I saw many people living comfortable lives with AA degrees, and BS degrees, and I thought to myself, I can get there, with an education.  Just like so many people.  Hours of working, when I was called back to my job, hours of reading books, writing papers, taking tests, studying, talking to advisers, saving, and shopping for laptop computers that would do the job filled the years I spent.  When all was said and done, I had my prize, I had finished, not the top of my class by any means, but with the highest honors, deans list so often it became a footnote not something that was expected or otherwise proud of, it had become a given for me.  That takes a lot of work to do, semester in and out.

So then I start looking for work, I had lost my job with a year to go on my degree.  I had worked through loosing the farm.  Sleeping on couches at my supervisors home.  I had done so living in a tent.  I doubt my professors even realized I was homeless, I know my advisers didn't.  I never mentioned it, my quality of work never suffered, even in the worst of times I had a dream, I had a goal, I had something to fight for.

So, I graduated, with all the perks, whistles, admiration of my parents, my Step Fathers family, as you would know it, I was the first person in his family to ever get a college degree, outside of my Mom.  I had done so, being homeless, working a full time job, and working at becoming a Rabbi.  Becoming clergy was something of a first for all sides of my family, my father, my mother, my step father.  Surprise, BS degrees, and a Rabbinical Degree to boot.

But something else happened while I was fighting towards these things, the economy tanked.  It fell on its face, rolled over and died.  Several years later, it is still horrid, but this gave rise to memes like you see above, the point of this entry.  It now appears that people feel, that those who are in my position in life feel we are too good to work flipping hamburgers at your local choke and puke.  They feel that we were foolish to attempt to distinguish ourselves from others.

And they are right.  After the hours we spend learning, studying, dealing with everything that happens while we are trying to get an education, we are too good to take a permanent job working for minimum wage.  We studied, and learned so that we could get more out of our lives.  We did this because we have ambition and goals.  So now we are considered lazy because we want to finally ascend to where we worked so hard to get too.  We are looked down on because we actually had the ambition to say enough, and have it better than our parents.  We are not saying "give me" out of a sense of entitlement, we are saying that we deserve better.  I am sorry, but when you bust your ass to get a degree, when you bust your ass to get a formal education, you are making an attempt to have access to a better world. 

Keep this one in mind while you talk about college grads being lazy.  To be a CO in a prison, a Police Officer, Doctor, Lawyer, Vet, Accountant, Teacher, or other things requires a minimal of a BA degree, and that list is ever growing.  Keep in mind that since 2007, jobs requiring a BA degree just to get in the door have increased by over two million, while jobs typically held by a high school graduate have decreased by nearly six million.  In an economy where everything tanked, it makes it hard to get your foot in the door anywhere.

Regardless, people seem to think that a college graduates feel they are too good for menial jobs, and they are.  It isn't like I went to college to be content working for Walmart, or McDonalds.  But, here we sit.  And for those of you, who think I am just that lazy, you do not know me.  I worked on a farm.  I know what it is to be knee deep in shit 12 hours a day.  I worked security.  And I am still looking for work.  Too lazy to get a job working at a fast food joint, hardly.  I have applied for a hundred jobs, and that is being very conservative.  I have applied to:

Little General
Crammer's Security
Wallace Security
Pizza Hut
911 Dispatcher
Correctional Officer
Rehab Counselor
Social Worker
Several local Gas stations
Maintenance worker
Bus boy

And the list goes on.  Its not that I am lazy, its just that at this point in my life, I am considered over qualified for even a part time job.  Even if I was not considered over qualified, based on work experience, and the education I have, people are reluctant to hire someone who could easily replace them.  So too lazy, no, anyone who manages to go through college, stay on the deans list, graduate with honors, is not lazy.  They are as hard working as you can imagine.  But what I find funny out of all this, the ones saying we are lazy, are the ones who have no formal education outside of high school.