*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Where were you twenty-five years ago?

"Imagine a large corporate machine mobilized to get you to buy something you don't need at a tremendously inflated cost, complete with advertising, marketing, and branding that says you're not hip if you don't have one, but when you get one you discover it's of poor quality and obsolete in ten months. That's a BA."


  1. Thanks for putting this up.

    Let me start by saying that I’m not good at this pessimism thing, so I won’t even pretend to try.

    The BA, is it worth it?

    Well, first a little background. When ‘hitting the books’, it was hard not to notice that classmates with real world experience had a tendency to get more out of the time they spent working on their education; none of them were hipsters.

    Although debt may have been accrued during time off for study, summers were usually devoted toward labor-intensive work. Whether it was sanding hardwood floors, working construction, driving rigs, or landscaping, nobody complained. When you work with people who do that stuff for a living, always and forever, you are expected to at least pull your own weight. That or go find work somewhere else.

    During the student daze, everyone was setting goals and didn’t mind living in places that may have been considered a little sketchy. Even for hipsters.

    Once upon a classroom discussion, a preening princess commented that her fellow students were of a privileged economic class. Her highness was summarily reality-checked by a fellow who let her and everyone else in the room know that he’d out earned his government-subsidized mother since he was sixteen, “So let’s get back to discussing the text, ‘cause that’s what we’re here for folks. Not to spout off uniformed opinions and shit… that’s what the talk shows on the idiot box are for. Did you even read the book?” Or something like that.

    That people would bitch and moan about how lame their lectures were, somehow always managing to find something to complain about, was just mind-boggling. No, nothing’s perfect. Get over it. Move on.

    What I really want to say,again, is that, generally speaking, the people who worked before pursuing their BA definitely were able to squeeze the most out of their education.

    The discussions in The Last Psychiatrist somehow remind me of the conversations between McMurphy and Bull Goose Loony about the Big Nurse on
    page 57.

    The way in which I value my education has little to do with whether or not I find work. Whether or not I find work is dependent upon whether or not I find work, show up on time and do a good enough job. And, most of all, understanding that if you’re in the game, it ain’t a meritocracy. You gotta’ know who the ball-cutter is and what’s being played…three card monte, the shell-game, tic-tac-toe or jan-ken-po?

    Acutes can leave anytime; it’s their choice. Chronics are in for good.

    Anyway, the BA… was it worth it?

    Hell yes.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, just to keep it steady, I’m going watch a little NoMeansNo perform Metronome.

  2. I'm the only person without a degree in the Education field in this area and I'm doing better in every measurable way...go figure.

    I love to constantly learn and my students are often my teachers and they don't realize it because I am constantly studying everything. I'm working on my Masters in Human Study...the thesis will be ready and completed.....never ;)

    1. But you have a degree, right? Otherwise to live here you'd have had to have done something even more rash many of we bloggers have done: married a J-girl...

  3. Chris, I have mixed feelings about my B.A. Not mixed about my B.Ed.: that taught me nothing. I had to learn teaching on the job, but the B.Ed. finally secured me a living.

    What university is meant to achieve has long been mostly bullshit, and more so since I got in in the late 80s (yes, I am fucking old). What it can still achieve has always been true, so long as you are a 'social climber': setting yourself up for financial success if you choose your degrees and 'friends' by their financial usefulness. Believe that's called 'whoring'.

    A B.A. does not anymore make you smarter or better read, or informed. At one time, there was little other way to join an intellectually stimulating atmosphere. Now? Google the information you need, lecture to watch or attend, or the coffee-klacht that turns your fancy. Won't get anyone a living (see previous paragraphs on how to do that), but neither does a B.A., or M.A. ...

    Will, I think we agree, and I tend to agree with the link, though am not sure you do. When I went to school at eighteen without a freaking clue, I was on the road to becoming food-stamp hipster (if Canada had food-stamps), with the self-serving attitude to boot. JET did not wise me up, now surprise. A couple of years of under employment after it sure did. When I did the B.Ed. after that I made sure it would pay, and it has, if modestly.

    My kids will get better advice than me:
    - Dad will pay for university costs but not also living costs out of town, so don't take loans just for that
    - being a student in a foreign place means shit; working there in another language might
    - if it ain't going to pay, make it a Minor, not a Major
    - better yet, if it ain't going to pay, see the lectures online, as proof of completion will never matter
    - professors profess to care for original thinking, but grade you by agreeing with them

  4. ^^ Has no degree in the computer science field she works in. She magically is just really talented, bright and happened to be at the right places at the right times. If I lost this job and tried to find another in the same field, I may be lucky on the 10+ years experience I have under my belt. If not, to the food stamp line I go, but not because I need to buy organic and roast free range chicken. Because I need to eat and would still work hard to find full time employment.

    I get so tired of these "kids" that loaf around taking arty classes at the local college, while getting welfare and working just enough to party but not enough to get off of government assistance. I look at them, knowing they are affording Papa John's pizza because I am a tax payer. :( Planning my date nights with the hubby is a juggling act when the price of gas, food, shelter keeps climbing but not our pay checks.

    1. I resent the slackers little, even though the only time I have taken the dole is when on parental leave: for which I feel no guilt as my wife was not eligible to take it as an employee of the J-gov't abroad, and since I'll only get it once for the two kids, and paying people to make new taxpayers is sound policy. Slackers cost the tiniest fraction to an economy that the plunder of the 1% does, much less a 'bail out', and they do far less harm. Who write the message to resent those poorer than us? Only those who can pay to get it broadcast...