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August 04, 2003


I don't have a degree.

There are a lot of good reasons for why this didn't happen. Indeed, my career now depends on the things I did instead. (And some of the early web-meets-video projects I was involved in couldn't have happened without this experience.)

But sometimes I get little reminders that this situation could have worked out more happily had I managed to keep interested in applied maths as well.

There's a job ad I've seen, one that I believe I'm eminently qualified for. And nestled in the job description is the innocent little phrase "must have a good honours degree or postgraduate qualification in a relevant discipline".

Having been involved in this game for so long, I kind of believe that the rest of my CV will keep me going through.

But what if an over-earnest HR person needs to find a quick way of whittling down 30 applicants to a shortlist of 5?

My future suddenly seems very fragile.

Posted by Tom Dolan at August 4, 2003 01:33 PM

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In the "double-whammy department" the jobs and career tracks within organizations that allow greater degrees of support for continuing ed, generally require a degree as a qualification. I think the scheme is finding someone (perhaps yourself) who wants what you have to offer badly enough that they are willing to be flexible about things like education bennies and the time to pursue them.

Your larger observation is correct as well. In a "tight" market the goal of hiring processes is to select out, vs. select in, and in such a market things that might be seen as value - flexibility, tenacity, ability to learn and adjust - become downticks.

It's about "managing" an "employment market" vs. finding a solution to a problem. When hiring is about somebody solving a problem, the degree is a tool for evaluating a solution, vs. a showstopper.

Posted by: James Bullock at August 4, 2003 09:45 PM

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