The modern job market is competitive, and for that reason many students (including high school students) are basing their education around a particular job that they want, discounting their long term career goals. This seems to be a bit of the opposite goal of post-secondary education (whatever happened to self growth and discovery?), but it’s a reality that students need to face objectively.
Today, university isn’t about the education. It’s about taking the right classes, attending the right lectures, and obtaining the right piece of paper. A lot of people (and myself included) feel that this progression has caused many students to focus on the wrong things when they are considering their education. Education is an asset, and it’s a shame if your time is spent focusing on how to get a job as a computer programmer as opposed to taking the classes that you want and the time to learn more about yourself.
There’s no arguing that obtaining a job – any job, these days – is more difficult than it used to be. Whereas competent people could find meaningful employment so long as they showed a genuine aptitude and interest in the position a few decades ago, today it takes much more: an intricately constructed and edited resume, some form of post-secondary certification, extra-curricular activities, and even part-time jobs that you had as a kid may come into consideration. This isn’t necessarily the result of many people becoming university educated, as it is more based on the amount of well qualified applicants vying for the same positions.
What’s more important in the long run? A job, or personal knowledge? As much as I’d love to “lay down the law”, the priorities of individuals vary dramatically, making it impossible for a universal truth to exist.
The only real answer to that question lies within yourself. You need to determine where your priorities are:
A reliable income – If making money is what’s important, you’ll probably want to focus your education on a particular job or career choice.
Stability – Personal and financial stability are often intertwined, so you’ll probably find yourself in the same situation as the point above.
Personal betterment and awareness – Education can bring about these qualities, and they are important to you you will want to focus on taking a path in university that will direct you towards the answers that you’re seeking.
I hope that I’ve helped clear a few clouds or, if you had never even considered your education as anything more than something to do, raised a few questions.
6 thoughts on “Self Growth or Job Placement?”
The optimist in me would love to stand up and shout that the role of education should be personal growth. Realistically, however, an education will get you a job. But it won’t get you promoted. At least not very often.
I also write about career management and development. After reading your post I was inspired to write about the role of traditional business education and career management. You can find the post
Hello John- thanks for the reply! I read the post, and other areas of your website (including areas that weren’t quite online yet…) and I agree with a lot of what you say.
I feel that students, regardless of their position, should take a program that suits their interests and try to find employment in that area post graduation. It may not be easy, especially if the graduate holds a degree in an area that is not always associated with esteem or career potential, but it usually leads to the highest amount of personal and career satisfaction down the road.
That being said, it’s a sad reality when we have to face the fact that a degree in an area is more likely to get you a job than a genuine interest. Oh well- such is life.
Self growth and discovery do not only, or exclusively, happen at University. Given the cost of education maybe the return on investment should be considered. If there is concern that the education received is not liberal enough (that self growth and discovery are lacking) there are plenty of other ways to achieve that e.g. external degrees. Just because someone may learn about business at University does not entail that one does not receive an education. Many business degrees are much more challenging than the liberal degrees. There have always been vocational degrees – Theology, Medicine, Science and Law. Is there also an objection that these taught at University? Or is it just the more recent additions? Such as business, computer science and accounting?
I agree with what you’re saying, and perhaps I should clarify the intentions of my post.
You see, the biggest concern that I have is that students are now basing their entire education around “getting a job” as opposed to “preparing for a career”. I would only hope that students take classes and courses that genuinely interest them. A paycheck is a paycheck, but a career is the a lifetime commitment.
I loved the post!
I agree with today’s job market with college students. It just seems like today’s younger generation is a lot different than the past. They want so much for a little bit of work and they don’t want to be bossed around. They want the best job ASAP.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the kind words Tom!