Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Things that make you go, hmmm...

Last post I touched base on people who are not in their chosen field of study/ interest.
  • Mr. Yitang Zhang, the guy with a PhD. in mathematics who was working at Subway. Update: he got a job at a college teaching mathematics.
  • My brother in law has a degree in chemical engineering, but works at a paper company.
  • My sister has a degree in mortuary science, but works as a hair dresser.
  • A friend of mine has a degree in political science, but he works with troubled youths.
  • My wife is a few credits shy of her masters in library science, but can only find work as a substitute teacher.
  • Heck, my old manager is an optometrist working as a retail store manager.
Those are specific cases. I've worked alongside countless others who have college degrees and are waiting tables. It used to be you worked the crappy job while going to school. You got an education that enabled you to get a job in a field you liked.
When I encounter a person, say a guy with a degree in electrical engineering, and he's tending bar. (true story by the way.) The question comes to mind: 'What the hell are you doing here?'  

The reasons are varied. In my sister's case, she makes more as a hairdresser. She would have to take a pay cut in order to do the things she went to school for. In other cases, I think the reason is money, but it's the opposite end of the spectrum.
No jobs available in a given field, but there is this restaurant down the street that needs a waiter. The sad truth is we need food and shelter. Most people will take a lesser paying job simply because it is paying. You can't eat that degree on your wall. (Well you could, but the nutritional value is next to nothing.) 
Are we settling? Is it really that bad that we have to accept less than what we are worth? True, my paycheck puts food on the table and pays the bills... more or less. My point is a lot of people are living hand to mouth for years, decades even, and that's no way to live. You're just surviving, not thriving.
Do I have the solution? Not exactly. I've cut out a lot of the things that people enjoy. My family is very understanding in our predicament. Every day it seems we are being forced to choose between what we want and what we need. Wanting to be a writer and needing to feed my family.
Sucks doesn't it?

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