Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A funny thing about college in the United States: employers seem to want you to have studied less

That's what I gather from various manuals and advice guides about looking for work. What I mean by that is simple: companies prefer it if you've held a job with lots of hours during college, or have also participated in lots of extra-curricular activities, and if you manage to do both while staying in school so much the better. Working in college is a point of pride for many people, showing that they were able to do it despite adversity, but a point of pride is different than the best situation. As far as I'm aware, in no other country are college students expected to work like they are in the United States. Instead, they get college funding that allows them to concentrate on their studies instead of having to pay for them. They're not doing this unnecessarily; at some point working in college detracts from your ability to thoroughly study, with the ability to have the basic hours to devote to studying not being a luxury, or a sign of laziness, but instead being both normalcy and a necessity. Business seems to not realize this, preferring that people do something that they'd most likely not want to do if they had a choice in the matter. In fact, sometimes appearing to expect it. All about getting experience on the job while being in college. The problem with that, though, is that there's a reason people are in college and not in the job world, it's called studying and getting a college degree. To suggest that people should normally sacrifice their studying in order to keep up with the job world is to say that college, the meat of what college really is, doesn't matter and that all that matters is a degree, no matter how you got it. And increasingly 'how you got it' becomes relevant not just in relation to jobs but in relation to academic ethics, which appear to be slipping as well. What we need is a program where folks are able to freely study and devote their time to college without the need of earning money while actually being in school itself. By not recognizing the state of affairs we're in as a problem but instead praising some of it the business world is aiding in the slip of America and American education from being a first world standard to being a third world one, all in the name of profits and money. The financial crisis should have told them where that sort of thinking leads.

1 comment:

pwlsax said...

"Business seems to not realize this, preferring that people do something that they'd most likely not want to do if they had a choice in the matter. In fact, sometimes appearing to expect it."

That suggests what many of us already suspect - that businesspeople place more importance on hiring submissive people than well-educated ones.

Even a financial crisis isn't likely to dislodge such deep-seated prejudices. Business needs innovation - that doesn't mean businesspeople want it. Some would probably lose everything rather than take the risk. That's the supreme irony.