Re: (Fwd) Re: A Sticky Situation

Subject: Re: (Fwd) Re: A Sticky Situation
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 08:41:24 -0800

On Tue, 21 Jan 1997 11:07:51 -0500, T. Mazza wrote:

>I also wonder if the other writer had an additional degree, etc., to compensate
>for the lack of experience.

Now see, this is a sticky point for me -- all too often I see companies
who place the value of a "degree" above all else. Well, all that
little framed piece of paper on the wall means (in many cases) is that
the recipient was successful at regurgitating the right answers to the
right questions at the right time; it doesn't necessarily point to any
higher skill or ability.

Case in point: in my "other" career as an audio engineer, I keep coming
across kids who went through the big-name trade schools (Columbia
Academy is international; the name may be familiar to many of you) and
got their little scroll because they learned what they were taught and
repeated that information at the right time. They have tons of theory
and book knowledge, but nothing useful in most real-world situations.

In school, they had a sterile learning environment and the best of
everything: professionally-designed, acoustically perfect iso and
control rooms, all the high-end mikes, monstrous Trident and Neve
boards, Sony digital multitracks out the wazoo... everything was kept
well-maintained so it always worked when the students walked in.

Well, son, things are a little different when you get to your first gig
and find you have an ancient, monstrous Hill board to work from, no
effects besides maybe an old road-rashed SPX-90, and a few beat up
SM57s for mikes. Now YOU have to know how to get these things up and
running at the last minute, because there was no on-staff maintenance
man to look after it. YOU have to figure out how to get 12 drum mikes
onto eight tape tracks and leave room for vocals, guitars and bass.
That diploma will make a real handy rolling paper, cuz kid, yer gonna a
NEED a smoke by the time you get through this.

Granted, in this case there's probably a much wider disparity between
school and real life, than there is in technical writing. Then again,
how many times have any of you, trained on a nice shiny Pentium and
Word 97, been suddenly stuck staring in the face a project that must be
done on-site and all that's available are a bunch of 386SX/16s running
DOS and WordStar? "Oh, and we'll want LOTS of graphics in that, too!"

Do you have the experience and ability to think on your feet and pull
the job off... or do you just stare in dismay at your diploma and try
to figure out how long it will burn to keep you warm once you're out in
the street? :-)

Okay, okay, extreme cases, I know... but you get the point. I don't
have any diplomas or formal schooling (aside from the audio engineering
courses, which I took at a very "hands-on" school) and I keep getting
shuffled aside in favor bright-eyed, parchment-wielding pups who would
crumble the first time they run into something their teacher didn't
show them how to deal with. I can tech circles around most of them,
but it doesn't matter if I don't drop thousands of dollars to sit on my
thumbs being told stuff I already know just so I can get a little piece
of paper that proves I know something.


Your friend and mine,
Matt
<insert standard disclaimer here>
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