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Oh, no, please don’t take any of this personally. You’re certainly not worthless, and I’m sorry if you thought I was implying you are, or if my tone seemed too harsh. I write too coldly sometimes, probably because of my training in economics. I’ll try to be a bit warmer. You certainly don’t have to agree with me to have worth. Your opinion is valid in a lot of ways and extremely well thought out. I have nothing against you or your experience; I just disagree with using personal experience to argue against a fact that has been proven repeatedly.

Your experience is honestly inspiring and fascinating. Neither of my parents went to college. They both worked their way up and fought tooth and nail to get to where they are now. It’s where I got my own work ethic from. The fact that you are successful in a field entirely different from your degree (a challenging field at that) is absolutely amazing and seriously something to be proud of. I’ve seen how nerve-wracking it is to only have experience in this job climate as you get near retirement. My mother is the editor of a newspaper, which, as I’m sure you know, isn’t an industry that’s doing extremely well. It was looking like she was going to lose her job since the owner of the multi-paper company was in bad health. Luckily, my cousin who owns an investment company (a person who cashed in on the 2008 recession because her and her husband saw the crash coming, and also found several other major opportunities that were orchestrated extremely well) invested in my hometown’s paper, and then made my mom the manager! She finally got her first raise in 30 years. They’re even going to remodel the building and expand the products and services it offers. I’ve also watched what happened to my dad, when a customer decided not to pay $40,000 worth of construction, because his family had changed their mind many times during the building process and were convinced they didn’t have to pay for the waste of materials and labor. This family owns many, many acres of expensive land they lease and a wealthy farming operation. Forty-thousand to them is nothing compared to my family, yet they never paid it. My dad’s business now has more safeguards against that happening, but it almost sank his business. It’s possible to succeed without a degree, and I have the utmost respect for those who do and do it well , especially well enough to take a hit like that and still succeed.

I’ve experienced what it’s like to have both the experience right out of the gate, and the degree. The advantage is incredible, and I’m glad I’m able to say the time I spent getting it in the last six years was worth it. It was incredibly challenging to work 3–5 jobs (some of which required volunteer hours) and go to college full-time. While doing all this, I went through a physically and emotionally abusive relationship during that time, a few other particularly nasty experiences, battled sometimes debilitating depression (high functioning depression and anxiety basically) and an eating disorder, and still came out at graduation with a near perfect GPA, a senior thesis in the process of being published, and seven years worth of legitimate, varied job experience. This all propelled me forward into the workforce and into a dream job. A few months ago, I found out I was a bit over halfway to adrenal failure, due to internalizing intense stress from an extremely negative, long period in my life. My cortisol was no longer able to be produced, my immune system was non-functioning, I had developed hypoglycemia and hypothyroidism, and I was having panic attacks daily. Crazy, right? I finally accomplished my goals and reached a stress free point in a comfortable job, and then all of a sudden… things just got a lot more complicated. I’m blessed to have the benefits I do and now I’m headed in the right direction. I should be better in about 6–18 months. Meanwhile my mom struggles with a worsening chronic condition that will affect her entire body and doesn’t have access to good healthcare. The cost of her treatment went up 1,000% after the healthcare reforms passed. I don’t know how my parents do it sometimes. So trust me, I’m not one to refrain from assigning blame where blame is due, especially when it comes to corporations and government. That got awfully personal, but it’s relevant to my own experience and why I perceive things the way I do. If something goes wrong, which it easily can in this economy, having a degree+ experience working for you can help get you through whatever (or whoever) life throws at you.

Anyways… I think one of the misunderstandings we’re having is that you’re taking what I say too absolutely (causing you to think I’m talking in absolutes). I never said “every” company chooses experience over a lack of experience. (I’ve tried to make that clear several times, but apparently it didn’t work lol.) Just the majority. The studies, proving this fact, do take into account many, many variables. That’s the point of them. I’ve also never said experience is the “only” factor in the decision — just the one with the most weight (accompanied by a degree of course) for the majority of companies.

It’s easy to say “your idea of me learning is to negate my experiences in favor of your perspectives and preferences…studies and other data as YOU have presented” when you’ve presented no quantifiable or objective evidence of your own. If you’re able to provide studies and data that show otherwise, I’ll gladly take them into account and reevaluate if need be. Unfortunately you weren’t able to provide any evidence of your arguments besides anecdotal though, so you’re right, I’ll settle on an amiable agree to disagree.

Thanks for the response — it was an interesting take. You’re obviously an intelligent person, and seriously, it’s awesome how well thought out your comments are. I hope you’ve learned at least from me as well, even if you don’t want to admit it lol. You’ve honestly been a joy to talk with, especially compared to who I usually end up dealing with on the internet. (People get awfully mean about feminist topics!) It’s refreshing.

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