It was a TV interview. Some bloke complaining that he had graduated from university but couldn’t get a job despite having a hard-won degree. He had to accept work stacking shelves in the freezer of his local butcher.

I must say, my heart went out to him. Years of work, study and application – and it all came to zero… Well, several degrees below zero.

Had he stopped there, I would have been writing this column with a different slant. But he didn’t stop. Instead, he went on to reveal that his degree was in Art History.

What? At school, a chum of mine took Highers in Art and Mathematics. The only job I could see suited to these qualifications was one that involved painting computers.

But a degree in Art History? Only useful if you’re applying for the post of curator in an art gallery.

I mean, did he really think a pointless degree like that entitled him to a top job and a top salary? It would seem he did.

And he’s not the only one. There are thousands of them out there.

Wealthy teenagers taking courses that have no bearing on real life, and then complaining  they can’t land a job suited to their intellectual and academic capacity. Poor lambs.

A little bit of research reveals that there is a plethora of next-to-worthless degrees. Ask yourself: who is going to employ you just because you have a degree in philosophy. Or psychology. Or – wait for this – David Beckham Studies, from Staffordshire University. I kid you not.

You can even take a Madonna studies module as part of the Gender Course at Harvard. Or Oprah Winfrey studies at Illinois.

There are degree courses in parapsychology at Edinburgh and Liverpool, among others. Very handy if you want to join the Ghostbuster team. However, it’s unlikely to impress a REAL employer who is offering a REAL job.

The first thing youngsters should learn in life is that you must always give the customer what they want. And when the customer is your potential employer, he certainly doesn’t want you waving an archaeology degree in his face.

Unless, of course, you want a job stacking shelves in the local butcher shop. In that case, your degree will do just fine – for swatting flies. Oh, and beating off the bailiffs when they come to collect your student loan.

Drew McAdam


2 Responses to OFF BY A FEW DEGREES

  1. Librarians are responsible for a variety of duties including those of assistants and technicians. They take an organisational role which may involve training staff, running courses for library uses, putting displays and special projects together and developing strategic plans. Librarians require either an ALIA recognised undergraduate degree in Library and Information studies, an ALIA resognised post-graduate diploma or masters degree combined with a related undergraduate degree or an ALIA recognised TAFE qualification combined with and ALIA recognised undergraduate degree. Please note: There are a variety of ALIA recognised degrees available at different institutions. Eligibility for post-graduate qualifications varies though is usually possible through an undergraduate arts program.

  2. drewsmuse says:

    Maybe in Australia. Here, we used to have a wee woman with steel-framed glasses and pursed lips that resembled a cat’s bottom. She knew her alphabet. She knew how to use an ink stamp. And she knew how to keep kids quiet. Books in. Books out. Books back in again. (Oh, and VERY low wages.) I understand that ‘Down Under’ they like to be referred to as ‘information managers’ or ‘information scientists’. Seriously. Here, our window cleaners like to be referred to as ‘transparent panel maintenance engineers.’ 🙂

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