Re: Ye Olde Tarheel State...not hiring... "It's not the degree, it's what you can do."

Subject: Re: Ye Olde Tarheel State...not hiring... "It's not the degree, it's what you can do."
From: "Kenney, Stephen" <stephen -dot- kenney -at- EXCH -dot- EDS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 13:36:04 -0600

These are not objections to Karen's statements, merely another point of

>After I got my Master's in English, I also assumed I'd be able to get a job
>quickly. After all, I had experience in writing, editing, and teaching--who
>wouldn't want to hire me, right? Well, I couldn't even get an entry-level
>job. While I continued to look, I added to my experience (and income) by
>teaching at a community college, tutoring high school and college students,
>doing freelance technical editing, and stringing for a local newspaper. I
>also continued working part-time doing desktop publishing (and in the
>process gaining some valuable computer skills).

I never assumed I'd get a job quickly with a liberal arts degree.

I did; however, get hired by IBM two days after graduation. My degree
was a B.A. in English Literature. It's never mattered what your degree
is. It's what you can do. The degree is only your ticket into the

>It took me a few years to get a full-time technical writing job, but my
>determination to improve my skills (even while wallowing in relative
>poverty) certainly helped me get my current position, and the things I've
>learned have served me well on the job. The moral of the story is that an
>English degree is less valuable than the professors lead us to believe (just
>ask my friends with Master's degrees in English who, five years after
>graduation, still work unhappily in retail stores). Keep searching, keep
>applying for jobs, but keep striving to add to your skills and experience.

I never had a professor lead me to believe my English degree would be
worth anything in the business world.

In my experience (which now includes working full-time for another
Fortune 500 business), employers want someone who can learn something
new every day for the rest of his or her life. They love a little
technical aptitude to go with communication skills. After that, it's
all about interviewing well, and working hard. And I'll admit, it has
something to do with this job-plentiful metroplex (DFW)...

>(BTW, the desktop publishing job I had at a copy shop counted as workplace
>experience--I could talk about working with a team, seeing projects from
>start to finish, and meeting deadlines. So the "workplace" doesn't
>necessarily have to be a desk job at a corporation.)

I strongly agree with this. Experience is an internship, freelance
work, and anything else that proves you can learn and you can think.

Stephen Kenney
SKENNEY -at- WHY -dot- NET
Highland Village, Texas

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