Statistics never lie

Of course, reports that 35 percent of all statistics in American newspapers are later found to be false or entirely unreliable.  Which leads me to today’s Waiting To Live pondering…

All through junior high and high school I was led to believe that the secret to a good job was a good college education.  Indeed, to be successful in a given career and earn the most money over a lifetime, one needed to earn a bachelor’s degree in that field.  Numbers were rattled off declaring the differences in salaries between the college educated and non-college educated.  So, dutifully, I went to college.  In fact, I took the next step and went to graduate school, because for my particular line of work a 90+ hour Masters degree beyond the initial bachelor’s degree is absolutely required to land a good job.  And really I anticipated going all the way through the Ph.D. level so that I could play my part to guarantee that the next generation would have the same kind of opportunities at college and masters level education that I have been granted.


300 resumes and 4 call backs later, I finally have a job that in my field, utlizing my degrees, expanding upon my interests, and furthering what I see as my purpose and contributions to the greater human race.  But for those first 299 resumes, I just wasn’t sure.

See, it’s not the degree.  I interviewed with on place where my would-be supervisor had skipped out on the typical educational track and went straight for the top position.  I know personally of a number of others who shifted completely in mid-life and are incredibly good at what they now do.  It’s not the degree.  Most of the places that passed me over wanted someone with experience.  One encounter I heard about from someone I know, the interviewer actually told them: “Experience is like credit: if you don’t have any, it’s almost impossible to get.  Good luck!”

Gee, thanks.

So today I talked to an old friend who is three years into trying to get herself into the career that she trained for.  Three years.  And still looking.  (So much for dreaming that my wife and I were the only ones who ever experienced this after completing what we thought were all the basic requirements.)  Before I accepted this offer, I was at the point where I was actually considering returning to school to get a degree that I was not at all interested in, but which I knew would allow me into a lucrative career.  Hopefully.  Not that degrees matter.

Anyway, I was moping around one week, drowning in my self-imposed pity party when someone asked me what I wanted to do.  I stopped and thought for a moment.  I knew what it was, so I told my friend.  It’s a pretty vague and broad topic.  And he just said, “What are you waiting for?  I don’t know what is stopping you.”  I wanted to blame all of those 299 places that passed over my resume, but I knew that wasn’t true.  At least not entirely.  I was simply waiting for someone else to tell me that it was time to live.

So I’ll tell you now.  There is nothing like the present.  You cannot wait to live.  There is no guarantee for tomorrow.  Now is all we have.  I spent two years of my life waiting for something to happen.  Fortunately, it finally did.  But I don’t get those two years back.

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