Successful companies should require experience; not a degree. How many of you have heard a successful adult with no degree complain about college kids coming into a job with no idea what they are doing? How many of you have been that employer, that coworker or supervisor? How many of you have been that recent college grad who was told you’d be better prepared but suddenly realized you’re not as prepared as you thought you were?
See, the myth that the school system has been selling all of us – the student, the employers, the parents – is that college is supposed to be this amazing place where an immature teen walks in and a capable and job-ready adult walks out. This. Is. Not. The. Case. Those job-ready adults who do manage to go through the university were already capable of doing the job just as well before they entered college.
College teaches us a lot of interesting and somewhat random things, but it simply cannot teach us what we really need to know: how to do the job, and how to do it well. Humans learn things “the hard way,” which means that we have to truly experience something before we can learn the right and wrong way to do it. We build up a data bank of what works in which situations that allows us to act quickly and with confidence.
College students entering the work field in their early-to-mid twenties lack this confidence because all they have to reflect on is them sitting in the classroom and what their teacher told them to do in similar situations. However, the teacher and the curriculum cannot possibly account for every caveat and deviation that occurs in a position that deals with people, machines or any number of increasingly complex things.
However, this knowledge can be stored up in the human brain through the experiential data bank. When we have experiences, they are stored in the back of our brain until we have need of that information again. Since our conscious knowledge is much more limited, the information that we learn in school soon cycles out and is nothing more than a vague idea once new knowledge comes in to replace it.
If you want to have successful and job-ready employees, require that they have experience, not a degree. Promote volunteering, internships and job-shadowing to prepare them to meet the challenges of the real world with speed and mental dexterity. Your employees and your customers will thank you.
Anonymous Owosso business owner