Friday, July 22, 2011

What I didn't learn in 10 3/4 years as an undergrad

Note: For those of you wondering why I have suddenly decided I need to blog, well I need it. I need to put my thoughts down somewhere and be held accountable to them. When your thoughts are out there for the world to see, it makes you reevaluate yourself. So thank you for sharing in my personal therapy. On with the blog.

A degree promises you . . .nothing. I mean everyone knows that, right? Right? For those of you who don't know my story, I'll try to hit the high(low)lights. In May of 1996 I took a job in a factory so I could support me and my future bride. I took the job so she could continue on full-time in college. Before anyone thinks that's a noble and grand gesture, please realize I was on academic, financial aid, and probably triple-secret probation for grades. I had managed in the previous three semesters a 0.66, 0.00 and a 0.00 GPA. WINNING!! So, I took the job, continued in school part time and continued in that phase for 4 years until Richelle graduated. I then left the factory and returned to college full-time . . sort of. I was taking full-time classes but not participating full-time. Anyway after much encouragement (threatened bodily harm) I finally buckled down and sprinted toward the finish line with my BS (appropriately named in my opinion) in Business Management. (I did manage a 3.5 or so in those last 3 semesters.  I had to.  I had to have an overall GPA of 2.5 to graduate.  I had a 2.52 at the end.)

I jumped out into the work force and said here I am!!  The work force said so what.

I. Was. Devastated. I eventually found employment as a Mortgage Customer Service Specialist. My mother put it best. I was the guy you, "Called and complained to when your payment goes up due to the escrow." I turned 30 while working that job. I was so miserable. I had never felt so absolutely worthless in my entire life.

I did research last year as a final project for one of my classes on underemployed people with degrees, and found out what I was feeling was very common. I also found out that others in my similar situation often felt worse than those unemployed, and many turned to alcohol. Yep, you guessed it.  Other than a social drink, or a certain band trip I attented at the age of 16, I have only drank in two periods in my life. The first was a two week period my first semester at WKU. The second was every weekend and most weeknights during my employment at US Bank. I don't even think Richelle realized how much I drank. When you factor in the sleep apnea I was going through . . well God got me through it somehow.

Edit: Let me add, I do not think I am better than anyone else working the previous jobs. Those jobs just weren't what I wanted to do with my life, and I felt like someone had cheated me. What it took me a long time to realize was it was me who cheated me by getting the easiest degree possible. (now we're tying back into the previous perception blog) What I learned later was I had to go through all of that to get where I am now. If there is interest I may expand on this part of my life in a future post.

Edit 2: I am not advocating the use or non use of alcohol. I am simply telling you what I did. I was trying to get away from the pain I felt, and I didn't.

Edit 3:  According to my Doctors by the time I got diagnosed with my sleep apnea, I had been suffering from it for about 20 years.  If you're doing the math, yes, according to them I had suffered from it from about the 6th grade on.  This is an entry into itself that I may do one day.

Now that I have depressed the crap out of you, let me tell you my point. I thought I was going to get a "good job" when I got out of college. The only thing my college degree got me was a hunting license. When people come to me today and say, "I'm going to get a degree in Business so I can open my own business," we have a long talk. I don't discourage them, but I lay out the facts. The facts are simple, unless you know someone, a general degree will get you a general job. (flipping burgers or answering phones) This is the jumping on point to another blog idea I have so I'll quit here.

Hope you learned something and maybe share with someone. Heck if you even understand why someone feels the way they do maybe you can help them with their frustration and pent up anger, and trust me pent up anger leads to the dark side.  (I just couldn't let the Star Wars thing go, could I?)


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