. The Transom .

Thursday, March 22, 2007

College degree shouldn't be prerequisite for respect

We spent some time working with a client who was in the field of career education. Some call it vocational education or a trade school. This particular school offered degree training in everything from HVAC, welding, and electrical, to cosmetology, professional cooking, and court reporting. During our ongoing research about these fields, one unfortunate trait seemed to run constant throughout - graduates of these programs, and thus the people who work in these fields, have the stigma of being social abnormalities because they didn't graduate from a traditional four-year institution with a bachelors degree.

Plumbers, electricians, and court reporters, among others, don't get the same level of respect as a 23-year-old kid that just graduated with a degree in business. Somehow in our society, a bachelors degree has become equated with success. And yet, only 25% of the adult population in the United States has a bachelors degree. Many of those graduates aren't even working in their field of study.

In other societies, people in all professions are treated with respect. Goat herders are given the same respect as accountants or consultants because the society recognizes every job has an importance in their life. Without electricians, we'd be in the dark. When your AC goes out in the middle of the summer, you don't need someone with a bachelors degree. You need someone who is skilled in their craft. I would like to see our society give a little more respect to the jobs and professions that while not as socially glamorous as some, still are critical to our way of life.


  • I totally agree with you. Our society prejudges people based on how much time and/or money they "think" someone has put into their careers. What about the waiter at the local watering hole who has an IQ higher than all of us and is making extra money to put himself through MIT? What about the stay-at-home mothers or fathers who have an even higher IQ and gave up their degrees from MIT to raise the children of our future? You tell me who should be receiving more respect?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:22:00 PM  

  • I don't think it's a matter of who deserves more respect. I think it is about giving people with trade jobs the respect they deserve. As Rob mentioned, they are in industries that are in high demand. They work just as hard as a person with a degree. Our society likes to develop "pecking orders" to establish superiority, and refuses to recognize that we are all just as important to our community.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 3:26:00 PM  

  • While our society may have developed a "pecking order," have you ever thought that there may be a reason behind this?

    Take the 23 year old kid with a degree in business. Why does society adorn such "respect" on this individual? The type of learning in a traditional four year institution is meant to enrich and foster development. In what, you might ask? Well, in a wide variety of subjects. You see, that's the basic difference between vocational schools and four-year colleges. Personal development.

    If you want a world full of people who are only working to put food on the table, then you will develop a culture based on personal sustainability. You need intellect to drive both success and failure. Each person is a cog in the wheel, there's no doubt about that. But when the work week is over, do you want someone who thinks Barack Obama is a terrorist hanging out with you?

    That's the thing about the waiter who's putting himself through MIT; he will never exude the type of cultural, social and intellectual IQ that the vocational school creates.

    When you head down one path, you're never really free.

    So would you take the red pill or the blue pill?

    By Anonymous Damacles, at Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:36:00 PM  

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