I left school at 16 with a few CSEs.  I hated school with a passion, I had wanted to be a hairdresser since I was 4 and I didn’t need to stay on at school for that.  This was back during the 70s. I did not know one single person who went to University, not one. A couple of kids at school went to college, about five.

I started work in an office. I did the office junior thing, and worked hard, and got promoted.

Here’s a thing.

  • In 1970 about 50,000 graduated
  • in 1980 about 90,000 graduated
  • 2011 about 350,000 graduated!
  • and 2015 about 450,000!

So, when I started work it was a very unusual thing to have a degree, you worked your way up in a company. The director had started on the shop floor, most of the managers had or as office juniors.  Then something changed around 1980 ish. The graduates arrived.  A bunch of about six arrived in the office, all straight in to ‘positions’ and that’s where the fun began.

A couple of them just weren’t up to the job. One ‘left’ after about nine months.  I was given his job and found drawers and drawers full of unfulfilled orders and correspondence unanswered.

Fast forward some years and I was working in a temporary menial job in a large firm that paid very high wages. I asked about having something more permanent. The snotty shit who was supposedly our boss laughed when he heard I didn’t have a degree and said the company wouldn’t dream of employing someone without ‘qualifications’.

wouldn’t dream of employing someone without ‘qualifications’.

I was fuming (this was a job a trained monkey could do), promptly went out and got GCSE.

Fast forward again to another time and another country where I went for an interview with someone who on the phone had been almost fawning over me and my experience.  At the end of the interview the only thing I needed for my work permit was a copy of my degree (he said). I didn’t have one I said (I had never said I did). He was Asian – therefore loss of face was not an option, so he completed the recruitment but never spoke to me, or even looked at me the entire three years I worked for his company.

This story continues – and gets better. But has anyone else had a similar experience?

The saga continues.

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