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A Degree? Really? America Isn’t So Free After All!

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Today I applied for a freelance writing job. I didn’t get it, simply because I lacked the right education as well as the experience necessary to write about what they needed me to write about. That explanation was definitely okay because it was right on. It was very exact and I appreciated them for informing me and telling me the truth, unlike other companies which just leave you hanging and wondering why.

The thing about it is that you pretty much need education and experience to live the American dream. No matter if it is just to paint a house, they require you to take a special test and this and that in order to even have a smidgeon of a chance to land the mode of employment you want to be employed in. My stance on education has always been clear as night and day. I have never been a proponent of sitting in class and doing school work and paying attention to a boring instructor attempting to teach me something that I can find out in books. It has never appealed nor will it ever appeal to me.

educational system in America is overrated and quite over the top

The sad part about it is that I had to do it for years, from Kindergarten to post-high school, and it drove me crazy. Education should not be necessary in my opinion because if you already know what you’re doing and you have been doing it for a long time, there is no reason to get a degree to advance yourself because you’re probably more qualified than anyone else applying for that same job. Yet they (the powers that be in the chosen industry) pick the person with the educational background, and it doesn’t make sense and it never will to me.

I am just as good of a writer as anyone else they have in those companies and I consider myself a very smart person with an above-average IQ (because it is true and I have been tested) and it is an insult to not be chosen for something that I think I would be really great at. America is obviously not as free as we thought it was and as she labels herself as. All the want ads and classifieds sections of newspapers and online postings all want education and experience – just a sad, sad state of affairs. Hopefully that will change because the world is missing out on a lot of talented people who are just waiting in the wings to show off what they have. Something must be done about this, some way, somehow.

About DannyVollmer84

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    The problem with the US is that ANYONE who wants an “education” can get one. No, really. In countries like Japan and Germany, not everyone goes to college. It’s just the elite few, and the rest are destined for trade work (not a bad deal) or they come here for a diploma. Here, everyone gets in, it’s no longer special.

    There are people who have limited education but are far sharper than their counterparts with masters’ degrees. I happen to employ some of them.

    You’ll find your niche someday. People who hire writers often have unknown reasons for not hiring them.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    I could not agree more! From the time I was 16 and saw my first episode of ABC-TV’s medical drama Ben Casey (played by that incredible hunk Vince Edwards), I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I would become, like my hero Dr. C., a resident neurosurgeon at County General Hospital.

    In the hardscrabble years that followed, I read every single volume that I could find at my local bookmobile on brain surgery and related matters. In a few cases, I even read something twice, just to be certain I pretty much understood the contents. Moreover, after I dropped out of high school, I went to work at a discount drug store, even though I could have found a better-paying job elsewhere, just to acclimate myself to a pharmaceutical environment.

    But like you, when I finally felt fully prepared and ventured confidently out into the marketplace to claim my long-awaited and much-deserved place on the staff at County General, I encountered nothing but the most unwarranted rejection, solely on the basis of what they claimed were my lack of formal “credentials,” meaning such useless pieces of parchment as a medical degree from an accredited institution of “higher learning.”

    What unmitigated crap! Why do I need a degree? I am as qualified, if not more, than anyone else applying for that job. I have an above-average IQ of 101 (because it is true and I have been tested). I have mastered the theoretical aspects of brain surgery and have practiced the mechanics on fresh roadkill. (I live near a dangerously speedy highway, so acquiring “patients” has never been a problem.)

    As you so eloquently point out, Danny, “America is obviously not as free as we thought it was.” And you’re right: “Something must be done about this, some way, somehow.” How much longer can we afford to squander the talent and dedication of those who could well serve society if not for the needless and prejudicial insistence by “the powers that be in the chosen industry” on false standards such as education and qualification?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Here, everyone gets in, it’s no longer special.

    I’ve still not got over my astonishment on discovering that colleges of higher education in the US offer remedial English and mathematics classes. One is left to wonder what, if anything, is being taught in high schools. I suspect that low academic standards and high emphasis on the sporting and social components of secondary education here are not unconnected.

    I’m strongly in favour of opening the doors – it’s an integral part of the American ideal that everyone should have the opportunity to better themselves – but I do think American colleges rely rather too heavily on attrition to sort wheat from chaff.

    But it’s good that we’re not at the opposite extreme. There was a news story in Britain a few months ago about a kid whose applications to enter four universities had all been turned down despite him having the best final exam scores in the entire country.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I agree with Joanne. I hate that anyone has access to education. It should be reserved only for the very smart or for those who can afford it. After all, what’s the point in wasting something as precious as “education” on those who actually could benefit from it.

  • The Caffeine-Free Herbal Infusion Party

    Having spent four years doing a journalism cadetship and the best part of 35 years trying to hone my skills – I still don’t think I’m there yet – working on nearly a dozen major newspapers and in two countries, I can understand why somone might beat you to the punch when they’re hiring freelancers.

    Experience actually does count for something in this business. But therein lies the conundrum: How do you get the experience if you can’t get the work?

    Simple answer: Keep trying.

    Practice makes perfect. And if you want something badly enough, you’ll get it.

    Judging from your efforts on BC, I’d reckon yopu’re well on the way.

    Alaso, my advice to anyone who wants to do this: buy a couple of good newspapers every day and read ‘em cover to cover. It’s not the same reading on line.

    Gen X also seems to like Twitter. Twitter will spell the death of good journalism, designed as it is for a generation that appears to have an attention span that won’t go beyond 150 characters.

    It could be a great journalistic tool, however. But the idea that inane and banal social networking sites will one day replace professional news organisations is truly frightening.

    Not everyone can be a journailst; I don’t believe that is the case for you Daniel, so keep plugging away at it.

    Persistence is a journalistic quality editors have valued for centuries. And they’ll pay for it, too.

    In fact, persistence will win out over four years of journalism college every time.

  • The Caffeine-Free Herbal Infusion Party

    And as you’ll notice, typos are part of the business :)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    As always, everyone except me on this thread has missed the point. Danny’s article is satire, like his initial Blogcritics entry, “Gavin Newsom: The Epitome of What Every Man Should Aspire To Be.” C’mon, folks. Lighten up. There’s nothing more lachrymose than “journalists” who take themselves seriously.

  • Baronius

    Alan, that was pretty funny.

    Danny, this is all a consequence of our legalism. Companies have to be able to quantify all their hiring decisions, if necessary, in court. Most hiring decisions go through the Human Resources department, which neither knows nor cares about the various candidates’ abilities.

    Oops, I almost jumped the gun. Alan’s first comment was funny.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Danny’s article is satire, like his initial Blogcritics entry”

    Yes, that would explain why when given the chance to label it as “satire” when he submitted it, he instead chose “opinion”.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    That’s Danny’s little trick, and quite droll at that. Instead of overtly identifying either this article or his earlier “Gavin Newsom: The Epitome of What Every Man Should Aspire To Be” as satire, Danny calls it opinion. This fools the editors because Deadpan Danny’s tongue is so far in his cheek. It in turn fools readers, as shown on this thread, who wouldn’t know satire from a flat tire.

    Oh, El Bicho? Your car has a satire on the driver’s rear side. Just thought you’d want to know.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Danny, you have a groupie in Mr. Kurtz. However, I’d recommend that both of you read more, in order to acquaint yourself with actual satire. Then you wouldn’t mistakenly label either of these articles.

    I actually think there’s also the chance that Alan’s is the leg being pulled here. Danny never actually stated his intention, just something like, “Cool, whatever you think of it or say about it is right.”

    Jon Stewart does satire. Swift wrote satire. Gore Vidal is great at it. Mark Twain, Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, etc. Danny’s articles may or may not be tongue-in-cheek, but satire? Uh, no.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    @ #5, 6: That you, Stan?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Danny never actually stated his intention, just something like, “Cool, whatever you think of it or say about it is right.”

    As always, handyguy (#11), you are wrong on the facts.

    In the comment thread to his Gavin Newsom piece, I wrote (#2): “Let me be the first to vote that this piece is satire. And just the kind I like, too: so thoroughly deadpan tongue-in-cheek that it fooled BC’s politics editor. Good going, Danny!”

    To which Danny replied (#3) two minutes later: “Thanks Alan, exactly what I was going for :) glad you noticed.”

    Maybe it’s you, handyguy, who ought to read before delivering himself of yet another uninformed comment.

  • Arch Conservative

    Who said that education and college are one in the same?

    I’d like to punch that person right in the nose.

    Education isn’t overrated but college sure is.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Besides (#11), you’re getting to be really tedious with your insistence that Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Gore Vidal, Jon Stewart, et al. are legitimate satirists, but anyone else who tries his hand is an imposter. What rubbish! It’s like saying that Beethoven, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Milton Babbitt and Philip Glass are composers, but no one else is worthy of the name. Just as a composer doesn’t have to write music in the style of anyone else, a satirist need not conform to your narrow standards.

  • zingzing

    “Education isn’t overrated but college sure is.”

    someone had a bad time in college… the “education” doesn’t just happen in the classroom, archie. it’s in being away from home for the first time in a semi-controlled, but semi-ludicrous environment filled with people your own age. i’m sorry you didn’t get laid.

  • STM

    Doc: “@ #5, 6: That you, Stan?”

    In another life.

    G’day Doc, where’s ya bin?

    A: “Out the front.”

    Alan: “There’s nothing more lachrymose than “journalists” who take themselves seriously.”

    Well, I can’t speak for anyone else on this site regarding who is or who isn’t, but I are one.

    That is, I get paid a decent full-time whack to work as one. Since 1973.

    And EB’s right; I don’t think Danny’s article is satire, either.

    Unless there are some extra bits I’ve missed between the lines you can actually read, it appears that among other things he’s bemoaning the fact he can’t get a proper job as a writer because he doesn’t have a) the formal qualifications, or b) the experience.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Kurtz: “Let me be the first to vote that this piece is satire. And just the kind I like, too: so thoroughly deadpan tongue-in-cheek that it fooled BC’s politics editor. Good going, Danny!”

    Vollmer: “Thanks Alan, exactly what I was going for :) glad you noticed.”

    Dreadful: “Mm-hmm. Sure. And I’m Betty White…”

  • Danny

    Hi Betty *waves*

  • http://www.Savvy-Writer.com Rebecca

    That’s too bad. A degree doesn’t make you smarter. Anyone can go to college/university but if you don’t have common sense, you could be in for a rude awakening. There are many college educated people in the world struggling right now while people like Bill Gates who dropped out of college are thriving.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    If Danny’s articles are satire, he’s extremely good at it. One thinks here of children’s paintings. Miro elevated the genre to an art form.

    As to whether children’s paintings or Danny’s submissions merit this description, the jury is still out.

  • Arch Conservative

    I had a great time in college zing. My point was that college isn’t the be all end all in one’s life. It is no guarantor of a decent job. It does not in on itself make one more intelligent, more informed or more insightful.

    It’s become ridiculously expensive almost to the point that it’s not even worth it.

  • j

    Dude educations a busnass…money is all this counry cares about not freedom!

  • V/I

    Plain and simple it should be about the skill of the employee, BUT to test each applicants skill set would require tremendous amounts of effort, especially seeing as “the flood gates [would] be opened.”

    It’s easier to just look at a piece of paper that says “this person’s qualified” and that’s exactly what a company wants: convenience for the cheapest price. (Remember, time is money!)

    In regards to freedom, America is the land of opportunity in the sense that just about no matter who you are, what your background is, your income, you are capable of getting an education. Which to me is so incredible! Imagine how shitty you’d feel if you weren’t one of the “elites” in Germany?

    To be fair, it has so many flaws. Pining you down by putting you in debt, creating a support of need for a degree, and duping high school graduates to declare what they would like to be FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES within the first 2 years there. The list goes on, but it is now the present hand we’ve been dealt. So you can either bitch and moan about how it’s unfair or you can work hard to become whatever it is you desire. You will get out what you put in.

    TL;DR – Shits unfair but how the fuck else are you gonna make it?