Not having a degree is about to bite me in the ass once again.

It’s déjà vu all over again as I may soon find myself unemployed once more. Word came down at work that they are redefining my job from being a contracted position to an internal position. The job itself will be the same, but who I directly work for won’t be. As a result I need to apply for consideration to be hired for the job I am already doing. Like most companies these days, they’re very big on their employees having some form of degree, preferably a bachelors. Doesn’t matter what area the degree is in, so long as you have one, your chances of being hired are greatly improved.

Which, of course, I don’t have. I am working on one at the moment, but it’s still some distance in the future. I wasn’t expecting to have it done before my contract expired as it was and I definitely won’t have it within the next few weeks. The good news is that I’m at least being allowed to apply for the job which is a step up from when this happened to me at Ford Motor Company where they wouldn’t even entertain the idea of considering possibly hiring me without a degree. The bad news is my boss doesn’t get to put in a good word for me until after the recruiter determines whether or not I should even get an interview.

Needless to say I’m updating my resume and will be submitting it, but I’m not particularly optimistic that I’ll retain my job. Assuming I don’t my boss has said that he expects the transition to take at least a few months to unfold so I should be OK until at least January at the earliest and possibly as late as March. There’s no guarantee of that, but you take your silver linings where you can find them. In addition to applying for the job I currently have I’ll be hitting the job boards with a bit more vigor to see what other opportunities there might be. The fun never ends.

19 thoughts on “Not having a degree is about to bite me in the ass once again.

  1. You have my sympathies, Les. Where I work is shutting down completely and has been laying people off left and right. Of course I was let go in September (on my birthday too, but that’s another story)and then called back 4 days later because I was the last person with tech training on most of the products.  LOL

    As for getting considered, maybe you could wrap yourself up as a great big Krismas present, huge bow and all. “Merry Krismas, here’s a trained employee for you under the tree”.

  2. My thoughts are with you, Les. I work as a contractor, so I know where you are coming from. I have re-written my resume so many times, I can almost do it in my sleep. wink

    Think of it not as “losing your job,” but as a challenge for you to re-enter your job internally. You will have to demonstrate your worthiness to stay on. Sure, the possibility exists that you may not get the nod, but you cannot be focused on defeat.

    I disagree with the notion that merely having any B.S. degree necessarily makes anyone a shoo-in. Employers need to see that a candidate has skills specific to the job at hand. Of course, having a B.S. in that particular field would help. But don’t let your lack of one keep you from showing that you are the strongest candidate.

    You have an advantage over outside applicants: you have been doing the job already. You know the angles. Sell yourself on your achievements in the position, your knowledge of the tools, the goals, and the interpersonal abilities you have demonstrated every day. These are things that don’t come packaged in a degree.

    At the same time, have a Plan B. Now is the time to (quietly) network with people and look at other options. Update your resume. Flesh it out with your achievements. The 1-page resume is a myth; employers will allow – expect – 2 or 3 pages from a candidate with experience. Put in lots of relevant detail. Don’t be afraid to blow your horn.

    I subscribe via RSS to a great blog on professional career networking. It’s by Nick Corcodilos. Check it out – lots of good, free tips.

    Good luck!

  3. You know, it may not be as bad as you think.  If they know you are working on it they may let you keep your position.

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  4. I’m starting to get used to this sort of thing. The trick here will be getting past the initial recruiter. My boss, who thinks I’m pretty good at my job, has no say on whether or not the recruiter passes along my resume for consideration and I won’t get a chance to speak to said person either. They look at my resume and either pass it along or round file it. That’s the big stumbling block. If I can make it past that first hurdle my odds improve at least a little.

    That’s why I’m less than optimistic about my chances. I’ve applied directly with this company before and it took four different applications before I got so much as a piss-off letter. I’m only here because a contract house saw my resume online and hired me. The company itself has already rejected me in the past.

  5. A similar thing happened to me at my last job.  There was some downsizing going on and they offered packages to people without degrees of which I was one.  Fortunately I had seen it coming and had actually been waiting on the severance packages to be offered.  As I frequently mentioned to my boss at the time, I just didn’t feel a degree was necessary for the position and that I actually had more college classroom time than most of my coworkers, just no degree.  The thing is, managers get paid more if they are managing college educated people as opposed to us peons.  I always thought the policy was ironic considering the company was founded by a college dropout.

    Personally, a college degree means nothing to me unless you are in a very specialized field that requires more than just general skills.  I’ve seen the people coming out of colleges today and they are nothing special.  The quality of the education at most colleges has been dumbed down so that just about anyone can get in and get a degree.

    For me intelligence, experience, and good decision making skills count a whole lot more than some piece of paper and those are things you won’t learn in college anyway.

  6. Hi, Les.  Have you thought of having your current boss write a letter of reference to attach to your resume?  Sneaky, I know, but if you’ve been rejected before, it can’t really hurt either.

  7. For me intelligence, experience, and good decision making skills count a whole lot more than some piece of paper and those are things you won’t learn in college anyway.

    I agree, but in most cases, the alternative is a strong portfolio. Anything concrete you can make with your skills that you can show off, Les?

  8. I think I’d mention my prospective graduation date and consider moving it up a little if possible in the hopes of adding the “and I’ll have the degree you’re looking for in addition to already doing the job satisfactorily” to the mix.

  9. Fuck, need to coin a new term here – degree-ism (as in age-ism). I’m all for people getting college degrees, and can even understand requiring them for new hires to some degree – but not keeping on people who are already doing the job is just big-corporate IDIOCY.

    The larger the company, the stupider the rules. “Not allowed to have a say” indeed…

  10. Will go with what Stormin Norman said as I couldn’t say it better myself.

    Wish you all the best and hope it works out for Les.

  11. Hmm Les, guess what you’ve got in common with Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, The Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Michael Dell, Michael J. Fox, Steve Jobs, Ted Turner and Bill Gates. Yep – no degree (as they are all high school or college drop outs). And, of course, as we all know none of those people managed anything – oh, wait…

  12. As flattered as I am to be compared to such great men, I must say that I don’t think I’ll be reaching their levels of greatness anytime soon.  Or at least I don’t see how I’ll manage it anytime soon.

    So I’ll keep working towards that bit of paper…

  13. I can relate with you Les.  I have great skills and experience but so many places now won’t even give you a chance without a damned degree.  And so they wind up hiring some weenie with a degree and no clue.  Very frustrating.

  14. i have no advice,  no insight, nothing other than my sympathies. it’s a crap situation.

  15. It really seems odd companies would want to go through with the hassle and expense of hiring new people just cause they have a degree. As I like to say, seems to me it’s bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy.

  16. I’ve suggested it before, but I’ll suggest it again: look at the Mayo Clinic.  The clinic is always hiring.  My dad has a sixth month certificate from a vo tech school he went to in the early 80s.  He’s now managing a team of programmers Mayo is just beginning to put together for some kind IT project and he’s making a lot more money than the vast majority of people with similar amount of education.  I know it must be hard to leave family, but the upside is you’ll get out of that hellhole called Michigan.  Did I mention the healthcare benefits are second to none there?

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