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Autodidacticism: Is this the future?

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in our personal experience, the biggest hurdle is hopelessness. is difficult to generate motivation necessary to be self-educating or improving self when you got certainty nothing will change. there exists a generation who grew up learning the way humans has always learned: observation.  the folks who is so perplexing to gd, the unmotivated people in the lower social class, watched parents and aunts, uncles and cousins and other peoples in the community.  watch people literal killing selves through work for almost no improvement of quality o' life is discouraging.  have parents and aunts and uncles and cousins constant talking 'bout how pointless it is to try when the government won't let you succeed (or other such nonsense) is gonna have impact. even w/o the internet there is all kinda programs to help those lower class folks get education, but everybody knows people who tried and failed.  and those few success stories gets dismissed as "the exception that proves the rule."  you wanna be the fool who believes in unicorns? go ahead and waste your blood, sweat and tears.  and cycle repeats.  next generation learns from the current.  

 

oh, and the folks who do succeed through a combination o' hard work, luck and help from government programs, those folks who cannot be ignored as fairytale material, they frequent become vilified rather than role models. race traitors or worse.

 

got a whole lotta perfect reasonable middle and upper class americans who look at lower class, regardless o' race, and feel little sympathy.  middle and upper reads newspaper or uses internet and discovers just how many opportunities there is for folks in the lower class to self-improve.  why ain't the lower class working a bit harder? "i wish i had those opportunities when i was younger." is an understandable reaction.  is also one reason why class friction in this country is increasing.  

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-ft-graphic-20160320-snap-htmlstory.html

 

the US is different than most of europe.  we got real free speech, which is nice, and we also make individuals more responsible for their success and failure.  great. unfortunate, the American emphasis on personal responsibility may be an additional hurdle to finding a solution for lower class problems. once you realize an entire class o' people won't help themselves simple 'cause opportunities is made available, what do you do? 

 

the gap 'tween the haves and have-nots is increasing. more and more people is becoming hopeless. gotta be careful.  sure, bread and circus will keep the lower class relative docile, but there will eventual come a breaking point.  will be unexpected save in retrospect.  something small and seeming innocuous will be blown way outta proportion and lead to widespread violence.  power corrupts, but it is powerlessness that corrupts absolutely.  once enough people genuine believe they have nothing to lose, then you is gonna see real chaos.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir
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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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But that is the beauty of the internet. It's all right there at your fingertips and mostly free. It does not demand hours of time. It rewards any time spent. Even 20-30 minutes a day over months adds up. In the US 99% of the population has easy access to public libraries and high speed internet. Absolutely everything you need to learn nearly anything you want to learn is right there and asks for nothing but the desire to do it.

 

I find people generally don't want to do 'work' when they get home and will chill out with things like watching TV. They've already worked all day and the last thing they want to do is more work. When I say 'work', it means anything including exercise that requires more effort than getting off the lounge to go to the fridge to get something to eat or drink. If there are kids involved, the home may not be conducive to a good study environment. Personally, I rather go somewhere else to study like a library than do it at home.

 

It can take hours to do stuff. I recently sat down and wrote a six step guide for anonymous internet surfing and downloading. I sat down one Saturday and spent hours working out finding the best VPN for me, how to install a VPN, setting up your Tap Windows Adapter, setting up a proxy, setting up utorrent, port forwarding, increasing uploads and seeding. While I already knew how to do some of this over the years, the VPN was new to me.

 

The reason I did this is because I couldn't find all this information in one guide or one spot on the internet and if I ever re-installed Windows on this computer then I had a guide to follow. So I wrote my own and eventually shared it on another forum.

 

It makes sense to me for someone who's already interested in doing stuff to sit there and work stuff out, while others will sit at home, switch off and do something that requires less effort.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist
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The obstacle is not accessibility. Ironically it actually requires pretty extensive information gathering skills to acquire new skills on your own. How do you qualify information? Time investments in 'internet knowledge' may well be useless, if you cannot critically asses what you learn.

 

And found the study, was OECD not DK,

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/rich-and-poor-teenagers-spend-a-similar-amount-of-time-online-so-why-aren-t-we-closing-the-digital-divide?utm_content=buffer45b99&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

As the article says

“They may not have the knowledge or skills required to turn online opportunities into real opportunities,”

Then again, college knowledge has some major gaps if the people building the curriculum don't know what they're doing. Even worse if they lack contacts within the industry and the students can't get a real working experience.

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I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Poor people would predominately use the internet for entertainment and to reaffirm pre-taught information/bias, whereas those of 'higher social standing' were much more likely to use the internet to seek new information.

 

Porn or Quantum Mechanics, such difficult choices for todays internet search...

 

I wonder if those guys needed a degree to reach that conclusion?

 

@Gromnir: A worrying trend. European history has its own share of what happens when enough (especially young) feels a hopeless situation can only be alleviated by the local demagogue.


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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The obstacle is not accessibility. Ironically it actually requires pretty extensive information gathering skills to acquire new skills on your own. How do you qualify information? Time investments in 'internet knowledge' may well be useless, if you cannot critically asses what you learn.

 

And found the study, was OECD not DK,

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/rich-and-poor-teenagers-spend-a-similar-amount-of-time-online-so-why-aren-t-we-closing-the-digital-divide?utm_content=buffer45b99&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

As the article says

“They may not have the knowledge or skills required to turn online opportunities into real opportunities,”

Then again, college knowledge has some major gaps if the people building the curriculum don't know what they're doing. Even worse if they lack contacts within the industry and the students can't get a real working experience.

 

100% truth. My college education ended up being around 100% wasted time because of this, and I would have been better off going autodidact as I spent a lot of time doing pointless homework and papers that prevented or took time away from learning important skills more than anything else. Sadly this seems to be the norm for multimedia educations - I don't know about other fields but most people I know who studied design, animation, marketing or code-monkeying found their education to be a waste of time and money, and the vast majority of them switched fields after school. But schools here also work differently - I studied multimedia specifically and didn't really get the option to study say humanities or history with it, they work closer to trade schools here.


The sky had never seemed so sky, the world had never seemed so world.

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in our personal experience, the biggest hurdle is hopelessness. is difficult to generate motivation necessary to be self-educating or improving self when you got certainty nothing will change. there exists a generation who grew up learning the way humans has always learned: observation.  the folks who is so perplexing to gd, the unmotivated people in the lower social class, watched parents and aunts, uncles and cousins and other peoples in the community.  watch people literal killing selves through work for almost no improvement of quality o' life is discouraging.  have parents and aunts and uncles and cousins constant talking 'bout how pointless it is to try when the government won't let you succeed (or other such nonsense) is gonna have impact. even w/o the internet there is all kinda programs to help those lower class folks get education, but everybody knows people who tried and failed.  and those few success stories gets dismissed as "the exception that proves the rule."  you wanna be the fool who believes in unicorns? go ahead and waste your blood, sweat and tears.  and cycle repeats.  next generation learns from the current.  

 

oh, and the folks who do succeed through a combination o' hard work, luck and help from government programs, those folks who cannot be ignored as fairytale material, they frequent become vilified rather than role models. race traitors or worse.

 

got a whole lotta perfect reasonable middle and upper class americans who look at lower class, regardless o' race, and feel little sympathy.  middle and upper reads newspaper or uses internet and discovers just how many opportunities there is for folks in the lower class to self-improve.  why ain't the lower class working a bit harder? "i wish i had those opportunities when i was younger." is an understandable reaction.  is also one reason why class friction in this country is increasing.  

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-ft-graphic-20160320-snap-htmlstory.html

 

the US is different than most of europe.  we got real free speech, which is nice, and we also make individuals more responsible for their success and failure.  great. unfortunate, the American emphasis on personal responsibility may be an additional hurdle to finding a solution for lower class problems. once you realize an entire class o' people won't help themselves simple 'cause opportunities is made available, what do you do? 

 

the gap 'tween the haves and have-nots is increasing. more and more people is becoming hopeless. gotta be careful.  sure, bread and circus will keep the lower class relative docile, but there will eventual come a breaking point.  will be unexpected save in retrospect.  something small and seeming innocuous will be blown way outta proportion and lead to widespread violence.  power corrupts, but it is powerlessness that corrupts absolutely.  once enough people genuine believe they have nothing to lose, then you is gonna see real chaos.

 

HA! Good Fun!

You are correct of course. Too many people lamenting the lack of opportunity all while ignoring the wealth of opportunities available. It's like a starving man refusing a free sandwich because he'd rather have lobster.


"I care nothing for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it"

Abraham Lincoln

 

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You are correct of course. Too many people lamenting the lack of opportunity all while ignoring the wealth of opportunities available. It's like a starving man refusing a free sandwich because he'd rather have lobster.

 

That's an unfair comparison imo, it would be more like a starving man in a jungle - everything seems edible sure enough and many things seem familiar, but take the wrong plant and not only are you not getting any nutrition, it could kill you.

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Fortune favors the bald.

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The big advantage of a formal higher education is that you will get a more rounded education. That is why technical schools like DeVry and CIT are not granted accreditation. But that also means spending thousands of dollars and man hours studying subjects that will not advance your understanding of your chosen field of study. And is that "well rounded" experience really an advantage? Does it have value commensurate with the cost and effort? I used to think yes but beyond the satisfaction of knowing the answers while watching Jeopardy... now I'm not so sure.

 

DeVry is accredited, though.  By The Higher Learning Commission one of the US regional accreditors (ie one of the six major College accreditors).

 

To be honest this is a question that a lot of colleges across the US are struggling with.  Lets be clear, a Baccalaureate degree was never intended to be a benchmark for employment and as the US increasingly puts that burden onto the degree, there is an increasing desire (pressure) to move away from liberal arts education and more to job ready education.

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Porn or Quantum Mechanics, such difficult choices for todays internet search...

 

You left out arguing on Internet forums.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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snip

 

HA! Good Fun!

You are correct of course. Too many people lamenting the lack of opportunity all while ignoring the wealth of opportunities available. It's like a starving man refusing a free sandwich because he'd rather have lobster.

 

the reason why Gromnir observation gets so little discussion is precisely 'cause it lends itself to accusations o' blame and fault.  it shouldn't. on an individual basis, people is very much to blame for their problems, but like it or not, there is a societal scale which makes finger-pointing a cathartic but pointless endeavour... and potential counterproductive.  the US, as a whole, suffers when the lower class grows. some folks will deny this starting point, but am thinking it ain't worth arguing 'bout it at this time. 

 

there is the old cliché 'bout how insanity defined is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. so we, as a nation, keep offering the lower class programs for self improvement which largely depend on self-motivation and no certainty o' success. the lower class continues to grow.  we continue to make cosmetic changes to programs which have never worked and then act surprised when the lower class grows.

 

needs to be a change. 

 

and again, as seeming hypocritical as it may be, we agree that on an individual basis, blame is on the person who refuses to do the hard work necessary to transform their situation.  we address individual and societal complete different. tell us 'bout generational handicaps and history and other such stuff is gonna generate naught but crocodile tears from us.  do the work and you may fail, but is a certainty you is gonna fail if you do not try.  so quit complaining 'bout how bad your government or parents were.  quit trying to convince Gromnir that you were doomed before you even started.  given our opportunities, you is gonna get little sympathy from us. etc.

 

recognition o' our lack o' sympathy for the individual who fails w/o trying don't mean we is blind to the fact that on a societal scale, our personal responsibility mantra is also a fail.  is not working.  on an individual or limited basis we can motivate a person, or a handful o' people, with tough love and offered opportunities.  doesn't work on a societal scale.  there just ain't enough jaime escalantes.  tough love works from a parental figure 'cause the "child" knows the parent really does care.  am not a psychologist, so we don't get all the trust issue nonsense. regardless, you cannot expect thousands o' underpaid bureaucrats to be movie heroes. 

 

there needs to be a different approach, 'cause opportunities and self-help ain't working.   keep trying the same fix to the same problem makes us seem, at best, insane.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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Much like you Gromnir I started from small beginnings. My parents were lower middle class and were not in a position to help me with school. I was an unathletic C student in high school so scholarships and financial aid was not really an option. So I joined the military. In exchange for four years of service I got a career and a college education mostly paid for by Uncle Sam. There are numerous opportunities like that open to everyone and all that is required is to show up and do the work. Like you said no one is owed success. But everyone is owed an opportunity and for the largest part, has one. I really don't know how a failure of individuals to take what is offered CAN be fixed.

 

There is an old story I love because it's so true. There was a man trapped on the roof of his house by rising flood waters. He was praying for God to save him. Another man came by in a boat and offered to take him. The man on the roof refused and said "God will save me". A short time later another boat happened by and the man on the roof answered the same. Finally a helicopter passed over and the man on the roof again refused to get up from his prayers saying again "God will same me". The waters rose and the man drowned. When he met God in heaven the man fell to his knees and said "God, why didn't you save me?"

 

God replied "I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more do you want"?


"I care nothing for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it"

Abraham Lincoln

 

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Porn or Quantum Mechanics, such difficult choices for todays internet search...

You left out arguing on Internet forums.

 

 

Nah, lazy people do that during their working hours, so they can slack of without getting bored to death...

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 But everyone is owed an opportunity and for the largest part, has one. I really don't know how a failure of individuals to take what is offered CAN be fixed.

 

 

well, there is an obvious potential solution: money.  the notion o' paying folks to do (or not do) what they should (shouldn't) be doing anyway is gonna face considerable opposition.  pay folks to not commit crime or to maintain at least a B average in school will no doubt strike many as repugnant, and 'course there is legal hurdles, but there has been success for such programs.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/paying-criminals-not-to-commit-crime-may-not-be-so-funny-after-all/2016/02/08/151ab936-cea3-11e5-b2bc-988409ee911b_story.html?utm_term=.31429d7cbdc9

 

you want lower income folks to get an education rather than working at wendy's to help support their family?  fine.  pay'em.  in the long run, am suspecting the cost to society will be far cheaper if we can lift a significant portion o' the population out o' the lower class.  best way to motivate folks in this country has always been the same: money.  pay folks to do what they should be doing, but aren't. 

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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Like you said no one is owed success. But everyone is owed an opportunity and for the largest part, has one. I really don't know how a failure of individuals to take what is offered CAN be fixed.

 

This is such an ingrained mentality in your culture, that it doesn't really make sense to argue against - and it's the unique quality of American and English culture.. As for a germanic however, the answer to that question is very obvious. 

 

It HAS been fixed for the most part, what stood in the way of an individuals success, was far too often systemic challenges. Now the system, for the most part, works for the individual, rather than against him - and thus we have an empowered middleclass and much more equality.


Fortune favors the bald.

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Like you said no one is owed success. But everyone is owed an opportunity and for the largest part, has one. I really don't know how a failure of individuals to take what is offered CAN be fixed.

 

This is such an ingrained mentality in your culture, that it doesn't really make sense to argue against - and it's the unique quality of American and English culture.. As for a germanic however, the answer to that question is very obvious. 

 

It HAS been fixed for the most part, what stood in the way of an individuals success, was far too often systemic challenges. Now the system, for the most part, works for the individual, rather than against him - and thus we have an empowered middleclass and much more equality.

 

 

germanic surely ain't the goal.  worse per capita gdp than the US, and am gonna guess that your enforced equality is hardly a selling point for gd.

 

there is clear room for improvement in the US, but we got a relative unique set o' problems with a size and diversity of population the germanic peoples barely comprehend.  recent immigration issues?  HA!

 

 

HA! Good Fun!


"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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How's Germany for income disparity?


Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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More and more i'm looking for enthusiasm and drive when interviewing candidates, as any job can be taught (even to the less bright,) but an idle, shiftless worker will remain such however he is treated. One funny fact, one of our security chaps, a Polish gentleman of no real academic substance, is the go to individual when it comes to English spelling and grammar at our firm. My father would be turning in his grave considering his works on grammar, but I was never really interested in that topic, successful communication I think hardly needs such formality.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Re. the original question about the value of tertiary education, as someone who has a Ph.D without it being an 'obvious choice' (I was the first in the family to finish a Bachelors, and my family never had a way to fund my education), and having got it in the humanities which is currently under widespread public threat to prove it's any good for anybody:

 

 

At a presentist, practical level, i.e. what makes sense for you personally to do, that's governed very much by what those degrees mean for your employer on your CV and what kind of competency it signals. In this sense, what I tell prospective graduate students is don't ****ing do it unless you are sure you are such a nerd at Spanish history or molecular biology that you know you'd study its intricacies for life unless someone shot you in the balls. Academic careers have lost / are losing a great deal of prestige and job security, but incredibly, there are still huge amount of people who do a Masters/PhD because they're scared of getting a real job or think it's a way to stay comfortable in school while figuring out their life or think a PhD will help them get good jobs later. It doesn't, except in very specific fields. 

 

At the Bachelors level, the question is more complicated and regionally divergent. Take South Korea, now super-modernised economy powerhouse, where you have the paradox: tens of thousands of university graduates who cannot find work, but a society which still uses a graduation certificate as an irreplaceable certificate of basic labour competency, such that you end up finishing university then working part-time at a Costco equivalent but you wouldn't have that job without your degree because your competitors would have degrees. I think some of this is still the case in many Western countries as well, where you find people getting a degree because they feel like you do need one, even if you can't really see why. I think this is a deplorable corruption of the point of university education and it's ****ty for both the people and universities, but there it is. 

 

So let's be a bit more normative, and talk about what you actually learn from that degree and whether it's good for anything. And I'll talk about the humanities which is what I more or less know. The frustration in the present is that much of what you learn seems to have no direct connection to most jobs you could conceivably have. It would certainly be nice if folk working on urban zoning learnt about Foucault and Jane Jacobs and whatnot, but usually you don't - and if you do, you only need to know as much as you can pick up within 15 minutes of Wiki/Googling. What about more general skills, like good writing? The meaning of what constitutes 'good' writing has changed a lot throughout the decades, and what you need to write well academically is currently quite far from what you need to write well in most other contexts. And isn't a university degree supposed to give you a broad and canonical background intellectually? Yes, but unlike, say, Europe couple centuries ago (and even that is a bit mythical), there is no longer an expectation that you know specific canonical names and contents in literature or philosophy in order to signal your basic competency. 

 

In other words, there are certainly skills that you get from humanities education, and from university education - but there's currently a gulf and disjuncture between those skills and how they're valued in the job market and society at large. Many people are prepared to agree, on paper, in principle, that 'critical thinking' or a 'general, canonical intellectual heritage' is important and good for people - but then it's tough these days to make the jump and say those things are what employers value or what you employ on a daily basis at your workplace. Now, you could go one way and conclude that society has left universities behind and you don't really need a degree to learn the things you need to do well in life. I think, in many cases, I would agree with that, and say that we should stop valuing degrees 'just for their own sake' so that people can stop going to university because 'it feels risky to not get a degree'. But in the other direction, I think it's also important to ask: what should be the things you need to do well in life? And how should each of us decide what is important in life, beyond what the current fashions in job markets or newspapers' front pages about 'the future of work' and 'how to optimise yourself'? 

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I fell into teaching adult offenders after the recession in the UK (not qualified/interested in teaching kids), got my degree and learned alot.  The idea in further education (and apparently in public schools) is that the teacher is obligated to engage the learners - I've seen teachers get fantastic (Grade 1/2 out of 4) observations becasue they had a rappor with students, but the ofsted/observer had no idea that their vocational knowlege was ****.  Also there's a greater priority given on inclusion, diversity, and equal opportunities than...proof of actual learning.  Which is itself debated on whether can actually be measured.  I always said if my carpenters caused structural collapse of a property, it was proof they ****ed up, but that never got many laughs.

 

In public school there's no responsibility to engage, so you can just get lectured to by a teacher effectively reading from a text book for three hours, and if you fail, it's you fault that you'll leave college unemployable.  It was the same for me growing up in a Roman Catholic school - except they told me I'd probably burn in hell as well when I died.

 

Either way, I think we're all self educated. Give it a decade or so to measure yourself and continue reflecting and self evaluating without falling into pre-conceptions of institutional excellence based on location, background, etc.  I went to a dingy college in Brixton SW London and found out after he died that the guy who taught me the most was a member of the Kray family - then went on (because of him) to achieve more than anyone else in the field.

 

Then I resigned, because it was all bollocks.

 

Edit: Hey Obsidian - don't worry about the word bollocks - it just means fantastic over here in the UK.

Edited by Chippy
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More and more i'm looking for enthusiasm and drive when interviewing candidates, as any job can be taught (even to the less bright,) but an idle, shiftless worker will remain such however he is treated.

 

I'm a bit jealous because of how many people in this thread who from my perspective seem to take their self-discipline ("drive") and ability to self-motivate ("enthousiasm") for granted. I didn't have any of that in my formative years owing to and causing itself a myriad of mental issues. It took me developing those skills through years of therapy and fostering positive habits and learning mindfulness for me to be able to appreciate or enjoy any kind of work or learning. Now I'm an extreme outlier, but it's been a longstanding observation for me that those people who are stuck in dead end jobs but come home after a long day to just watch TV do so not because of laziness (most of the time) but because they have problems in self-worth. If your self is worthless, what does that mean for your self-motivation and self-discipline?

 

For those who are surprised people don't take more initiative and create their own education, let me ask you something. Would you be able to stick with something if it felt completely pointless to you? Because for a while I got my "dream job", I developed video games for a living, and then I quit because it wasn't doing anything for me. I didn't even dislike it, I just felt empty. I worked scrubbing office toilets for at least a year after and it felt pretty much the same. I had to learn to appreciate myself before I could learn to appreciate anything else. If you don't believe you have the potential to improve, everything becomes a pointless chore. Why work to better yourself if you don't think that's possible?


The sky had never seemed so sky, the world had never seemed so world.

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In other words, there are certainly skills that you get from humanities education, and from university education - but there's currently a gulf and disjuncture between those skills and how they're valued in the job market and society at large. Many people are prepared to agree, on paper, in principle, that 'critical thinking' or a 'general, canonical intellectual heritage' is important and good for people - but then it's tough these days to make the jump and say those things are what employers value or what you employ on a daily basis at your workplace. Now, you could go one way and conclude that society has left universities behind and you don't really need a degree to learn the things you need to do well in life. I think, in many cases, I would agree with that, and say that we should stop valuing degrees 'just for their own sake' so that people can stop going to university because 'it feels risky to not get a degree'. But in the other direction, I think it's also important to ask: what should be the things you need to do well in life? And how should each of us decide what is important in life, beyond what the current fashions in job markets or newspapers' front pages about 'the future of work' and 'how to optimise yourself'? 

 

My current job I don't actually have the degree for.  Done okay in it for 7ish years.  Fell into it because when the person who did have the degree left there was no one else who knew the practical day-to-day knowledge, so I became the interim guy and once I was interim guy it was far to embarrassing to think of hiring anyone else.

 

My point is that there is this pressure to make a liberal arts degree mean job competence and it just doesn't. But the problem is that employers feel they need some gateway to keep the unwashed masses at bay.  First it was a High School education, and once that became ubiquitous it became a college degree.  Now I see signs that jobs are slowly moving from a Baccalaureate degree to a Masters as their minimum need to, again, create a dividing point. And then politicians begin sweating the whole thing because they need a job ready labor force to lure jobs for economic growth and by golly those High Schools and Colleges just aren't graduating people fast enough so they must be failing to educate people, by gum!

 

We joke all the time at the university that eventually you'll need a Ph.D. to flip burgers at the rate things are going.

 

Edit: Hey Obsidian - don't worry about the word bollocks - it just means fantastic over here in the UK.

 

Obsidian never mind the bollocks but are still, alas, waiting on the Sex Pistols.

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More and more i'm looking for enthusiasm and drive when interviewing candidates, as any job can be taught (even to the less bright,) but an idle, shiftless worker will remain such however he is treated.

 

I'm a bit jealous because of how many people in this thread who from my perspective seem to take their self-discipline ("drive") and ability to self-motivate ("enthousiasm") for granted. I didn't have any of that in my formative years...

 

For many years after I left school, I didn't do much and it wasn't until I hit my early 30's when I realised I wasted 10+ years of my life. That was the turning point for me to pull my finger out and do something. It's a big regret when I look back and realise that my 20s were a waste. Didn't save any money, didn't take on and finish any higher education, stopped doing all sports, became unfit, etc.

 

Once I changed my outlook on life, I was able to motivate myself to get into higher education at night and did a 3 year course in 18 months. Out of the 16 subjects, I did 14 in the first year. The education institution (in QLD) had concerns if I could do it as no one had attempted what I was trying to do. I moved interstate with the same company to do this because the institutions in the state I was in (NSW) refused. I then moved back after I finished and that was the time I changed companies.

 

I was feeling burned out at the end of the first year but wanted to get it over and done with as quick as possible. Then sat for my national exam later in the second year and out of 144 Australia wide, 29 passed and I was one of those 29. It did open doors and I've never looked back.

 

Another reason for my turnaround is surrounding myself with people who are motivated themselves and receiving encouragement from them. Financial advice or assistance from my partner also played an important part. Having someone trying to steer you in the right direction when you don't want to can be hard. Especially financially. It can be hard at first when someone is saying, don't buy this, don't buy that. Put your money into this. Or if you have to buy this, lets find a better option. Some of the financial advice I received was a big WTF for me as some of it didn't make sense or even seem logical, but now it's so obvious since doing it.

 

Now, I'm getting things in order so that I can retire in 15 years or less. I want to be able to shift from a working job to retirement and still feel like I'm getting the same income. The next 3-4 years as I've been doing in the last few years will be setting up things (eg. investment properties) and then 10 years after that making sure everything is ready and finalised (paid off) when I do retire. I could work another 20 years or so but don't want to anymore. I have a lot of interests and hobbies outside work that I want to do full time. My partner is the same and want's to retire in about 5-10 years. She's already set up everything for herself but then she didn't waste 10+ years like I did.

 

I can't understate how important it is to have people help you, but most importantly you have to be willing to accept the help and change even though you may not see any sense in it. Otherwise, I would still be on that downward spiral.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist
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More and more i'm looking for enthusiasm and drive when interviewing candidates, as any job can be taught (even to the less bright,) but an idle, shiftless worker will remain such however he is treated.

 

I'm a bit jealous because of how many people in this thread who from my perspective seem to take their self-discipline ("drive") and ability to self-motivate ("enthousiasm") for granted. I didn't have any of that in my formative years owing to and causing itself a myriad of mental issues. It took me developing those skills through years of therapy and fostering positive habits and learning mindfulness for me to be able to appreciate or enjoy any kind of work or learning. Now I'm an extreme outlier, but it's been a longstanding observation for me that those people who are stuck in dead end jobs but come home after a long day to just watch TV do so not because of laziness (most of the time) but because they have problems in self-worth. If your self is worthless, what does that mean for your self-motivation and self-discipline?

 

For those who are surprised people don't take more initiative and create their own education, let me ask you something. Would you be able to stick with something if it felt completely pointless to you? Because for a while I got my "dream job", I developed video games for a living, and then I quit because it wasn't doing anything for me. I didn't even dislike it, I just felt empty. I worked scrubbing office toilets for at least a year after and it felt pretty much the same. I had to learn to appreciate myself before I could learn to appreciate anything else. If you don't believe you have the potential to improve, everything becomes a pointless chore. Why work to better yourself if you don't think that's possible?

 

 

It took me until my early 30's to be comfortable in my skin.  Up until then I had been beaten down by the Roman Catholic Church (3-16yrs) who insisted on total conformity of behaviour.  I remember cracking my skull open when I was 5, getting covered in blood in seconds, and having other kids move away from me like I had just contracted a life-ending disease; but it was because they knew there'd be a consequence, and sure enough the teacher beat the crap out of me with a cane for making a mess.  After 16 years of that/mental "education" they kicked me out for having the wrong attitude. Other students assaulting teachers was ok, but I asked questions in class.

 

I managed to get into the London Guildhall University from my GCSE's and a metalworking apprenticeship, passed my Silversmithing exams there (despite not using the notes given to all students by the lecturers and told "just rewrite them in your own words"), but couldn't get a job because the university was breaking the law by not advertising jobs sent to them.

I found out about a job from a friend, passed the interview after being told I was the best candidate they had seen in years, and that I had got the job, but then got sabotaged by the university in some way. I think it was race related, but will never know. Working with metal felt like my calling, and giving it up was a bitch.

 

Then I worked with my father for a few years, who was an exceptional plumber with a few celebrity and foreign royal clients. But he couldn't afford to keep me on because I had been so badly educated that I was holding him back - because even though I had built a steam engine at 15, I was nowhere near the standards he needed me to be at. 

So at this point I was firmly of the opinion that whatever paradigm of thought I needed to be in to be employable...I had missed it by about a few decades. I would have been better off if I had never gone to school, college, apprenticeship, university, and just learned from my father from when I was a kid.

 

At this point I would have been a labourer all my life like most of my Irish family, but adult education turned it around. I found myself in the company of drug addicts, murderers and offenders of all kinds - ****ups from every race and walk of life. Everyone kind of knew this was their last chance to find employment. Those years were probably the best example of people working as a group I've ever experienced. And the simple reason I came out of it within 3 years with a managerial qualification and basic foundations in my core education built was because the man I mentioned was such a leader.

 

So when I went into teaching, I managed to teach a construction course in 1/10th of the time at 3 times the governemnts annual target, and because they hadn't funded maths and english (which were limiting grade questions in the exams - if you failed them, you failed the whole thing) I had to squeeze that in there as well. When I reflected on the fact that I had achieved that, and then looked back on my frame of mind a decade before - where I was on this plateau of not even being negative or positive - just stuck at being conviced by others that I was useless, and believing I was outside of any working frame of mind, that's what really gave me a sense of self worth.  I'd happily challenge any of the priests and monks (who's **** I had been dodging for more than 10 years) to a tally of who helped others the most in their lifetime after that.

 

So it was soul crushing when I resigned (I wasn't addicted to the warm fuzzy feeling of helping others as most teachers were), but I did it for the right reasons and I'd never go back.  The second biggest confidence boost was witnessing the level of corruption and ineptitude at upper management level.  Most of these people have been handed their qualifications - I was only 1 of 4 out of 25 who actually wrote their essays when I did my level 5 teaching diploma. The others just rewrote everything from graded work. And then there was the political side of it; if you had the right politics you stayed in the job no matter how useless you were, if you just wanted to do your job, you were a threat.

 

So yeah, after all that I'd say it took me over 3/4 of my life to find people that I could work with and communicate with. And they happened to be societies criminals in both the instance of my critical stage of learning and eventual teaching and subsequent success.

 

 

 

 

 

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