Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh joy...Is education worth it?

Questions a PhD should just stop asking themselves...is education worth it? At this point, we'd better just go with the idea that it is or or lives will get even more depressing. Well, Gizmodo and The Chronicle decided to help us out with that.

A recent publication released a variety of information regarding jobs of people with degrees. This chart has been included.

But everyone's favorite depressing part of this is the following:
"there are 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees."

Keep in mind that a professional degree can mean a number of things (even though Gizmodo headlines 5000 PhD janitors) and that none of these people were asked more about it. Is it due to economic hardship? Being blacklisted in academia for something they did? or even free will? They also generalize janitors when in their graph they say janitors and cleaners other than maids...and state that 5.7% of people in that group have at least a bachelors. Well, that 5057 with higher degrees account for 4.7% of that (wee math). So maybe there is a bit of exaggeration going on. Cleaning jobs don't necessitate working at a high school moping up kids puke, although for some reason that is the sight my brain invokes.

So maybe it's not as scary. This list of people with bachelors degrees in other jobs leaves out a lot of things. Especially in light of the fact that the degree options out there are pretty various and their level of usefulness also varies. Level of drive of the student definitely plays a role. I've definitely known people that went to college to go to college, not for the degree. Some of them definitely dropped out, some got their degrees following the path of least resistance. However, I definitely don't just write off people in low income jobs with degrees. Competition in fields is definitely a big one. Say, for instance, musical theater. I can't tell you the number of actors I know working at starbucks or waitressing. And sometimes it's just a matter of luck, good or bad.

Ok, enough ranting.