I understood the employment related frustration of Stephanie Ritter when I read her story headlined in the news last week.
If you aren’t familiar with it, I’ll provide some information.
Side Tracking Moment: This post is directed to those who’ve already gone to a higher education institution(s) and completed their academic pursuit(s).
So, You Have Your College Diploma
Back on Track: I came across a New York Daily News headline titled, Florida State University Graduate Sells College Degree for $50000 on Ebay, and read it. In the article, Candace Amos writes about a frustrated Ritter who decided to sell her college diploma and experience because of employment issues.
What type of issues?
She hasn’t been able to secure employment in her field and is underemployed in another.
In the Daily Mail’s account of this story, Ritter said:
“I thought this piece of paper has so much worth to so many people, but for a theater major, it couldn’t mean less,” she told Buzzfeed. “I’m doing the exact same things and probably getting paid the exact same amount as people that dropped out halfway through freshman year, except I’m still $40,000 in debt and they’re, well, not.”
Now, I’ll inform you of something: this whole Ebay setup was a joke. I read she’s an upcoming comedian.
Still, the frustration is worth discussing here.
Research shows 27% of college graduates work in jobs related to their field of study. Others experience the difficulty of finding work in their chosen professions.
How Do You View Your College Diploma? Useless or Useful?
So, though most job seekers with degrees haven’t gone as far as selling (or wanting to sell) our college diplomas, I believe many of us have questioned our degree choice (at some point) upon experiencing the difficulty of securing employment in our field of study.
Am I right?
You’ve gone to college to earn a degree(s) in an industry of interest to you but have been unable to enter this industry and develop your career—usually for 1 of 2 reasons: overqualified or underqualified. Despite many applications and interviews, you’ve gotten constant rejections.
You’ve read stories detailing the worthlessness of some degrees in comparison to others and wondered how you’ll land a job with such a “useless” degree.
You’ve also wondered whether things would’ve turned out differently if you’d majored in something else.
I can relate.
As someone who’ve attended higher education institutions, I know what it means to educate yourself with the hope of getting your foot in the door—at least. But then, despite the investment, things don’t happen as expected.
I also understand the difficulty of landing a job and have questioned my academic choices when going through the self-doubt phase of unemployment.
When you’ve spent a lot of your time academically preparing for a specific field and find yourself not even given a chance at entrance, it’s not a good feeling.
I’ll admit it.
Still, I won’t label my college diplomas “useless.”
I won’t say I’ve wasted my time on education.
I can’t make any changes to my college choices of the past.
I’ve already put in the commitment, time, work, and money. Not to mention, I made these choices based on MY learning interests at the time.
Why Your College Diploma Isn’t Useless
Though my higher education—alone—hasn’t secured me work in my chosen industry, I don’t discount the benefit of the experience as it relates to my growth and development.
I don’t think you should either!
Regardless of the degree received, you developed your learning ability, gained valuable skills, and built beneficial habits.
So, why classify your degree as “worthless?”
If you’ve been classifying your degree as “useless,” then I’ll leave you with two choices from here on out:
- Will you continue to count out your diploma as “useless” (like others) and never move forward in putting the acquired skills to use?
- Will you move forward in figuring out ways to put your skills to use without focusing on the “uselessness” of your diploma?
If you’ve chosen choice 2, please remember this:
For some of us, it takes some time to learn the many ways to use our diplomas and land a job.
3 Tips to Consider As You Move Forward in Your Job Search
As I’ve gone about figuring out the best ways to put my skills and training to use while experiencing unemployment, I’ve been doing three things, which might prove beneficial to you.
1. Alternative Research and Consideration. I’ve opened myself up to other opportunities outside of my field of study—especially since data suggests my industry has the longest length of unemployment right now. I’m still opened to jobs in this field and remain up to date but have given serious considerations to alternatives.
2. Skill Evaluation. I’ve been taking the time to evaluate my skills from professional and personal experiences. Some skills are transferable to all jobs and industries, and I’m in the process of learning how to play up these skills into other professions of interest.
3. Skill Development and Learning. It doesn’t hurt to learn new skills. I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now and can say I’ve learned many new skills throughout this endeavor.
So to you: Don’t hold yourself back by a negative perception of your degree. Evaluate your skills and the alternatives available to you.
You never know how you’ll use them to benefit others.
Quick Case In Point:
Interested in knowing my role post undergrad? An Elderly Caregiver.
Please believe I wasn’t educated in the specialized field of nursing. I studied and prepared for a public service career.
I expected to help people on a larger scale. However, I had the opportunity to use my skills and learning ability on a smaller scale in this role—and acquired new skills.
Lesson Learned: We must be flexible—regardless of the diploma earned. You never know how you’ll use your existing skills and abilities while learning new skills.
From Me to You: When you reach the point of frustration because you’re unemployed and can’t land a job, please know your degree isn’t “useless.” Consider the tips above and decide what you want to do as a career professional.
I’ve learned it takes time to find a job, but we have options available. So, I’ll say: Stay on track. Don’t stop learning and building up your skills.
Keep searching for your opportunity to positively contribute your skills and earn money! It’s out there.
A warning for you though: Patience is required.
Disclaimer: This article contains outgoing links to the works of others on the following websites: New York Daily News, the Daily Mail, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.