Arriving mid 30s with just one GCSE makes for an interesting time of it.
Changing the rules
I entered into a profession that accepted me with the skills I had, not the qualifications I had. Until one day my boss called me in and said a new ruling had been introduced and that now all employees had to have a certain level of education to remain, otherwise I would not have a job in the next few years and she was very sorry about this. I really enjoyed my job at the time, so bit the bullet and went and got me the further qualification as well as a master’s degree.
A masters degree changes everything
That was great, I now had a masters, I was a bona fide educated person who was allowed to continue working in an industry that I had already been working in for 10 years. No more money, no promotion, just the pleasure of being allowed to continue working there 😉
A masters degree changes nothing
So do qualifications matter? I will say here and now, that further qualification and the master’s degree did not change one little thing, not one thing except… my level of confidence. Finally I believed in myself, instead of feeling insecure about not having that stupid bit of paper that tells the world you are ‘worth’ something.
So here’s the thing. Our society is very judgemental. It judges you on your place in society, your accent and your education. There is no getting away from it. Just the other day I heard someone say that
graduates are a step above non graduates!
I was floored, and slightly dismayed that an intelligent person (a graduate themselves of course) would believe this hogwash.
I read a great line in a book many years ago;
“They had two sons, one who went to university, the other who was bright enough not to need to.”
Qualifications and recruitment
Eventually ending up in the recruitment part of the job what I realised was that having a degree (first or post) just makes life easier for the person sorting through the CVs. It is easier to make two piles. One with and one without. And in my experience that is about it. I have met so many highly educated people who are completely useless in their positions, along with some basically qualified people who are passionate and skilled and superb in their position. This elitist mentality makes me very angry, however, it just is the way of the world now and in recruitment qualifications do matter.
Suck it up
So if I was to give any advice, it would be to just suck it up and spend those years playing the game, because life is harder and harder and the more advantages you can get yourself, the better you will be when the time comes. And that makes me very sad, but it is the truth.