Re: Obsession with University Degrees?

Subject: Re: Obsession with University Degrees?
From: Jane Bergen <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 09:15:04 +0600

On 20 Sep 96, John Glenn wrote:

> a degreed engineer.) Higher ed has sold some people a bill
> o'goods that provides zero benefit to the hiring firm.
> ^But it shows an ability to stick to a task (for n years)^
> is a typical excuse for hiring the diploma carrier. How
> about ^an ability to survive n years on the parents' dole^?

Whoaaaaa! I was going to stay out of this debate since it typically
(and it happens often on this list) involves the people without
degrees defending themselves (and often rightfully so). But this kind
of sweeping generalization has to be addressed!

I have a Master's degree in English, Technical Writing "track" ---
I went back to school at age 43 for two years undergraduate (I had
already completed two years), then on to two years in grad school.
I was not "on the parents' dole" --- I did it myself by working
part-time, getting scholarships, and getting student loans. Period.
No hubby with a second income, no parents who gave me money.

Second, this is NOT a "bill of goods" -- I learned a lot about
technical writing in school that I would not have learned "on my own"
without great serendipity. Some companies are simply not able to
serve as training bases for wannabe tech writers. They may luck out
and get a good writer, they may not. Same as hiring a newly graduated
writer...the writer may be good or may not, but it is nevertheless
assumed that thedegreed writer will have passed through some
courses that would be helpful. No one knows what kind of experience
or skills the non-degreed writer has. There are a lot of companies
out there who are horror-stories-in-the-making so far as management

Now, if a writer has good experience (worked for many well-respected
companies known to produce good work), good writing samples, good
references, and good presentation, then he or she WILL BE HIRED over
a non-proven degreed writer in 99% of the cases. And that is as it
should be. But don't assume that attitude that a degree makes the
person a mooch ("on the parents' dole") or a fool (who bought "a
bill of goods"). Most of us are highly-competent writers who care
very much about furthering technical writing as a profession, and
not as a job.

Jane Bergen
Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com
AnswerSoft, Inc.

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