Re[2]: Obsession with University Degrees?

Subject: Re[2]: Obsession with University Degrees?
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 10:01:00 -0600

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).

It also involves the people who have them defending their own.

I was not "on the parents' dole" --- I did it myself by working
part-time, getting scholarships, and getting student loans. Period.

A good example has been supplied us. Thank you. The statement you're
reacting to was "How about staying four years on the parent's dole?" The
idea being presented was *not* that in order to get a degree that's what you
did, but that why doesn't *that* show the same qualities of being able to
stick to something for a set period of time.

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.

Good for you! (Though I think you're underselling yourself, I can still
appreciate you point of view.)

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.

I would *love* to see any substantiation of that statement you might have.
In the absence of cold hard facts, I think it's completely bogus (see .sig).
Remember, any proof must also take into account the number of excellent
undegreed writers who don't apply and instead simply go elsewhere when they
see the "degreed required" sign. Count me in the latter category. I've
learned that HR will usually take the easy way out, and I've got more
productive things to do than to try to teach a pig to fly, simply on the off
chance that this particular one's ears might be big enough.

And your example doesn't begin to cover the territory. We were just treated
to a tremendous example of a company that was going to have bad docs, not
because of a bad writer but because of bad policy. And there's a lot of that
out there. So those people automatically fall out of your example, no matter
how good a writer they are. Even the best writers have trouble doing good
work when management won't let them.

People, get off your hobby horses! The question IS NOT whether you learned
something while getting your degree. The question IS NOT whether you can
write as well not having a degree as other writers who have one. The
question IS NOT whether college is a Colossal Waste Of Time or The Perfect
Learning Experience. The question IS simply whether requiring degrees for a
TW job is a valid way of getting more able TWs.

Among the TWs I'm familiar with, a degree seems to be the *least* reliable
determinant of ability.

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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