Originally Posted by Storm Bride
What's not fair about it? The fact that someone has a degree doesn't actually mean that they will necessarily have more to offer in the workplace. I've worked with people who have degrees and who are major assets to the companies they work for. I've also worked with people who have degrees and aren't assets at all - several of them have the attitude that since they worked so hard for their degree, they should now be able to coast (those ones either smarten up or don't last long) and others just aren't that good at their jobs. The same also applies to people without degrees - some of them are major assets, and some of them aren't. If someone can work their way up to being worth $80,000/year to their employer, I can't see how that's "unfair".
I tried (but poorly expressed), that college isn't always necessary to get a great paying job. That parents drill it into the kids heads that college is your ticket to a better life, when the person doesn't have the motivation or the skill to make it really work for them, but would have been better off doing something different (directly into work, into a trade school). College becomes something they were almost pressured into, then they get into debt because of it, and then they become disillusioned because that's not what they thought they were getting themselves into.
I know someone this happened to, so it's not a theoretical scenario. And I'm so glad I didn't marry him, because he carried a $10,000 debt 10 years after the fact after he dropped out of 1 year of college. He had no degree and only debt to show for what he attempted to do.
But at any rate, I didn't say it I thought it WAS unfair, I said it doesn't "seem" fair. There's a subtle difference. The implication was to the average person looking outside in, it may not seem fair. But to another, such as yourself, it could be fair because you can look deeper into the situation. I didn't delve into that aspect of things because (at least for me) it wasn't a relevant point. I can see that is an important point to you (which is why it's not sitting right with you). And the person who is now making $80,000 technically got let go from his last job (over personal differences) and walked into the next making $80,000 - so he technically didn't work his way up in the same company (though it helped tremendously that one of the people hiring was someone he worked with 5 years prior to the job he applied for with a different company). Not saying he wasn't worth it, because he's a great guy and has very marketable skills and a very congenial personality.
But what I am saying is that there are people who have the opinion you think - that they worked hard in school and therefore "should" get a good job and then slack off afterward. Because that's what parents drill into their kids heads to get them motivated to go to college in the first place. No one questions the value of a college degree which is why everyone worries about how to pay for college, but it can happen that young people are pressured into going to college with the understanding that a degree should equal a good paying job. But you and I both know it doesn't (for the reasons you stated among others - some of which are that some people are highly skilled but terrible interviewers or they are up against equally good candidates). There are those that don't even get out of the starting gate into a good job, and those that lose jobs due to economic losses and can't get back into a good job. This second scenario happened to my dh, where he has a college degree (mechanical engineering), got laid off from his company (they were making bad choices in management that po'd their customers), and dh was low man on the totem pole so they let him go. He tried for 5 years to get back into what he was doing and couldn't until this year. Up until this year, he was doing assembly line work, busted his hiney when the other guys slacked off (he literally carried his shift), and even though he sent out dozens of resumes, only a few interviews came of it (even with the help of some headhunters) and of those most weren't engineering design work (what his degree is in), but more production line work (what he ended up doing to "get by"). Even so, I wasn't even thinking of my dh's scenario when I made the comment about fairness, because now he's finally back into engineering design work and he's so happy about it.
Life has a way of not working out the way you were told it should. For example, I had a colleague of mine who had a PH.D. fall up on bad times and ended up starting all over at a "trainee" level in one of the jobs I had. So she and I had the same amount of pay, even though she had years of experience and education on me. That's how it can legitimately be not fair. She was an extremely bright woman, but ended up having to start over after some serious misunderstandings at the university where she taught and ended up applying for a job that mostly fresh out of college graduates applied for. She was working her way back up, but her life got cut short after her cancer came out of remission.
That's all I was talking about....