Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Work needs a PR campaign"

Ain't that the truth. I can't say I regret my Arts degree because it did help me (I hope) to become a better writer and a better tutor for my children, and I might not have met Mr. P, had I gone to welding school...

But it's true that not everyone should go to college/university. And it's true that North America is desperately short of skilled labour. And it's true that our society is too snobbish about 'blue collar' work (despite the irony that those skilled guys and gals make actual money, and sometimes lots of it). And it's true that our economy is in a mess largely because people no longer want to do hands-on labour. And it's true that there are more and more Completely Useless degree programs being offered (Gender Studies? ye gods...) which engender nothing but debt--and wonky thinking. We all seem to want to live in the Ivory Tower (and get paid handsomely for it), but what happens when the plumbing breaks down?

As the folks in the video below point out, nothing is stopping you from pursuing the liberal arts (and becoming a Renaissance man) AFTER you've acquired a marketable skill. But your first challenge upon leaving the nest is basic financial survival. (The path we've adopted: amass huge debt on a useless degree, then move back in with Mom and Dad, clearly is not working--no pun intended.)

And dang, if I'd taken a plumbing or carpentry course, I wouldn't be waiting 14 years for my kitchen renovation to be complete.

One of many money quotes: "Usefulness makes you happy." That would explain a lot about my life.

Worth a listen, despite slight language warning.

h/t SDA


  1. College was never meant to aid in gaining a job. You went to college for 4 reasons: academics, law, medicine, or politics (all those ethics and history courses are meant to help groom leaders). The concept of going to college to get a non-intellectual / non-abstract / non-extremelyspecializedtothepointofnotbeingabletodoanythingelse is a very, very new idea.

  2. Very true; it's going to be a long road back to reclaiming what higher education was meant to be. The days of the true (as, in truth-seeking) "classical liberal arts education" are gone (in the mainstream anyway), mostly because The Establishment has gutted --or inverted-- the meaning of all four words. And young folk still need to find a way to support themselves and (if they wish to marry) their families. :)