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The Moment I Realized MY Degree Wasn't Worth What I Thought it Would Be


Make good grades.  Check.  Go to college.  Check.  Graduate from college.  Check.  Get a good job with great benefits.....check doggone it....CHEEEECK!

And I still cannot seem to get my career to line up with the dang check marks.  A degree is the door to everything America's Dream has to offer, right?  WRONG!  Oh so wrong (for me at least), but it took me about $70k and a good 8 years on this side of my degree to realize that.  I am not saying college is a bad thing.  I am not saying one should not go, but what I am saying is we have to get past all of the misinformation so we can see it for what it really is.  It is no longer a tool for advancement but a symbol of status.  Having a degree proves you are capable of stomping with the upper echelons of society or at least your little degreed sector of the world.   

The traditional educational route may have been money 20 years ago, but just like technology, ideas for what college actually provides a student is also evolving and rapidly changing.  It is no longer just about matriculating through higher levels of education; it has become more about seeking out the right opportunities through connecting with people.  Connection with LOTS of people.  Networking IS the BUZZ WORD!  Marketing and branding yourself is its cousin.  I mean, who does this??? Apparently EVERYONE!  It only took me 6 years to realize this.  I sat in front of a computer at a small financial planning firm without any notion of how the job market was progressing and how to keep up with it.  I thought that $70k+ I paid for my education would carry me through the trends.......How about some course work on how to navigate this beast?  (There may already be, but it's been 10 years since college for me).

So, here I am like a bump on a log feeling so behind the curve that I immediately thrust myself into the throes of....well, just about everything I came across that I thought would propel my career.  I name dropped my university like crazy......as if people would be impressed that the little black girl was closer to their ranks and existed in their world for four and one half years.  Still, nothing changes.  I am a bump full of information on the same log.......WHAT IS THE DEAL?

My career vision:  I would have a closet full of power suits that I would wear everyday.  Navy blue ones, black ones, beige ones.  I would be running something other than my mouth for a change and be recognized for my efforts and compensated handsomely beautifully for it.  A master's was in the mix and maybe a PhD.  I didn't exactly have an occupation picked out, but may have been willing to do anything that would have placed me in this space.  Husband?  Kids?  They could be in the equation, but they'd have to support my ambitions.  And God would sign off on it because I was a Christian and His desire is to give me the desires of my heart?  This is how everyone else does it, right?

Oh gullible little black girl....Again.....WRONG!  I was so wrong about so much and MY will was all up and through.  Never one mention, as a supposedly devout Christian, of being placed in a position according to God's will.  Even now, the job I have wasn't one I sought out but was supposed to be a pit stop or launching pad of said vision above.  Then came this family.  A husband and a cute little kid....that I cared (care) about far more than this vision and refuse to compromise anything for my family.  Things have totally flipped and I have to be okay with that because that's where I am.  I realize my degree is only a piece of paper in all actuality.  It's the experience you capitalize on and the networks you build....neither of which I did.  I didn't have any real direction even though I thought I had it all figured out.

I will admit, there are times (as recently as a few months ago) that I tried soooo hard to do what I could (even after the husband and the cute little kid) to make the initial vision come to pass; especially as I watched some of my colleagues progress up the proverbial corporate ladder.  I wanted to be in those ranks and have the business card with the fancy title and the impressive curriculum vitae.  While other little girls dreamed about their weddings, I dreamed about my career.  The only foreseeable way to do this was to go to college....and not just any college, but one that would look good on a resume' to the white folks (I had to be honest there....that was my mindset back then) because those are the one's hiring and doing what I want to do.

So you see how my degree has paled in comparison to all that I thought it to be.  I spent a lot of money on a hope and vision I came up with all by myself and it just wasn't reality.  At least not for me.  My expectations were frustrated, and probably rightfully so. 

I've finally come to the realization that is it quite possible that God would not have my bread and butter be in my career.  If I would have gotten all of that I would be.....I don't even want to think about how high minded and sadity I could have potentially been.  Definitely feeling myself way too much and full of pride.  When I think about it, the Lord is actually doing me a favor by keeping those doors closed.  And I'm cool with that....I really am.  Really, I am.......I promise!  For today...LOL.

I still think about it and battle discontentment from time to time.....the Letter to my Employer post caught me in one of those moments.  Growth is good....no one wants to be stagnate, but we have to know what areas need to be priority.  My career has forcefully taken a back seat to my family and a few other things.  Who knows what it will be in the future, but I am almost 100% certain it will suck if I keep trying to make it be what I want it to be outside of me seeking God about it.




Comments

  1. I've definitely felt this way more than a little, especially as of late.......

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