Master’s degrees are bullshit.

Once again I would like to give a good rant about my ever elongating stint as a professional job searcher.  This time my target is master’s degrees.  There have been multiple jobs that I have not met the qualifications for just because I didn’t have a master’s degree in what sounded like a made up field.  I wouldn’t have applied to the jobs if I didn’t think I was at least kind of qualified.  Apparently though, you need to spend thousands more dollars on education to be qualified for most jobs now a days.  Now, I do not think all master’s degrees are bullshit.  Just most of them.  For instance, a master’s in education I could see as being beneficial, but did you know there was such a degree as a master’s in student development?  Basically, a master’s degree in student development is a nice way of saying “a professional RA”.  Anyone who’s had to deal with an RA knows that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do that job.

And that is exactly what a lot of master’s degrees are now it seems.  They are just an expensive piece of paper that validates an employer’s euphemism of an essentially menial job.  I might think that having a master’s would be worthwhile if the jobs requiring them were higher paying, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

My main peeve is at master’s in library science.  This to me, is one of the kings of all joke degrees.  Now, I love working in libraries.  They are quiet, the jobs involved are usually incredibly easy, and I enjoy how a bunch of middle aged women fawn over me as I pick up extra large hard cover art books.  I have seen essentially every aspect of working a small library while I was in college, and I did this just by working part-time at one for a year.  One year, and I basically had a handle of the operation.  At no time, did I feel that I needed a master’s degree to understand the inner workings of the library.  I didn’t need a degree to understand the shelving system, or how new books were intergrated into circulation, or even how new books were purchased.  All the paperwork and computer work was easily taught to me with absolutely no previous collegiate knowledge of how libraries work.  So when I got home, being as lost as I am, I decided maybe I could start a career in a library.  No such luck, because aside from being a page, most libraries strictly require a master’s in library science.  This ranges from small local libraries up to college level ones.

Before I get chewed out, I am willing to admit that there must be some point in the library business, where you must need a library science degree.  Maybe you work for a museum and you have to be able to catalog really old books or something.  You might need some sort of historic knowledge of books to function in that position.  Or maybe you work at a library like the Chicago library which has hundreds of thousands of books and periodicals.  Maybe at that volume, a person might need to have some sort of organizational skills specifically for libraries.  I can potentially see that being the case.  But to require a master’s in library science for a small liberal arts college or a small town library just seems insane to me.  And a master’s no less.  I suppose that if I had known I liked working in libraries when I first started college, I wouldn’t have minded wasting thousands of dollars on a bachelor’s degree in library science.  At least I could party the whole time.  But graduates school is a whole other animal.  To require people to spend even more money on a degree in something that will most likely not be very lucrative is just insulting.

When I was a kid I was told so long as I go to college, I can basically have a cushy life.  I guess now though, since most people actually go to college, it s becoming necessary to get a master’s to put yourself ahead of the rest.  Let’s be honest with ourselves though, most degrees in undergrad and grad school are a joke (minus the more technical degrees like engineering or what have you).  Most of the time you just get retrained at your first professional job anyways.  All a degree is for is to prove you can actually learn something and finish something.  It proves you aren’t a retard.  Then again, I have worked with some retards and they had degrees themselves, so I guess the system doesn’t work.

What puts the icing on the cake though, is for jobs where it would actually be beneficial to have a master’s degree, most of the time those jobs want even MORE experience.  I have a cousin who is pretty damn intelligent.  She majored in something like microbiology or molecular biology.  Got a master’s degree and everything.  Had the grades, had the research.  Yet, when she wanted to go out and find a job, it took her months upon months to find one.  She ended up having to settle for a job that was significantly beneath her prior research.  You want to know why?  NOT ENOUGH EXPERIENCE.  She was working on government funded, high profile research in her graduate days and even that wasn’t enough for these companies.  So even though she had plenty of school experience and research experience, it was still not enough.  If she had a PhD I am sure that she wouldn’t have had so much trouble finding a job.  So basically a master’s degree is a huge waste of time for most jobs that require them (librarians), and not sufficient enough for higher profile jobs that require more.  In other words, fuck master’s degrees.

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6 thoughts on “Master’s degrees are bullshit.

  1. scottodactyl says:

    I hate the education system. College should have only been 2 years. It seems like all the extra classes outside of my major that I had to take were a complete waste of time. Those classes are for people who aimlessly go to college and have no idea why they are there. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk to people who don’t know what they want to do with their life, but maybe those people shouldn’t go to college until they have an idea of what they want to do. People (like me) who basically had set paths of what they wanted to do with their college education shouldn’t have been forced to take all those needless 100 level classes when they are seniors just to fill some stupid fucking class credit system requiring to you get a little taste of everything before you leave. IT’S A SCAM FOR MORE MONEY.

    I pretty much only took 2 years worth of film classes at school, and they were pretty much the only classes I cared about and/or learned anything from. I’m sure some would say I should have just learned from the other classes anyway, just to better myself, but fuck that… I took a BOWLING class, followed by a WALKING & JOGGING class, for REAL credit hours, and the university said “YEP, YOU’RE DOING THE RIGHT THING.” This isn’t high school, where you’re forced to sit there for 6 hours and do whatever they make you do. College is supposed to be a choice. College is a messed up system. At least at state universities like SIU. I’m sure they don’t dick around as much at good schools.

    But yeah, more than four years of school, I only see that being necessary for stuff like being a doctor or a scientist or an architect or real high tech shit like that. No normal job where you can be trained AT the job itself should require extra schooling. They should require that you know your shit, and you’re a capable worker (which could be shown by a regular college degree), but yeah I do understand why a dcotor should study his/her ass off in extra school to lear how to do complex things that you can’t just learn naturally the first few months of your job.

    Librarians… it doesn’t seem like that hard of a job I guess, but I edit a couple videos every year for a library conference, and I have NO idea what they are talking about. Hours and hours of super complex data cataloging systems power points. It seems like library systems are actually pretty complex, if you’re not on the ground level. Like if you’re actually managing the computer systems (which is where I assume all the money in library work is), then it seems like you have to know your shit. And all the people that talk at this conference are very nerdy and are very passionate about cataloging. It’s kind of scary, it’s almost like they are speaking in a different language. Remember that EBSCO stuff from the SIU library? I’m actually pretty sure that’s a hard to manage. Now, am I saying that should require a master’s degree to learn that? No, not at all. You could probably learn it all by getting a bachelor’s degree in library systems. But I don’t think you can just walk in with no knowledge of any of that shit and work your way up the ladder somehow (if you eventually want to be a big wig in the library game).

    But I don’t think anybody should get a master’s degree in the arts. You either have it or you don’t. I don’t understand why extra schooling is needed to be creative. Best way to expand that knowledge is by just going out there and doing it. Unless you want to be a teacher or professor of the arts or something, then I still don’t think you need a master’s, except just to prove some egotistical criteria to your future bosses. The system is stupid in nature, yet grounded in intellectual prowess. I guess I’m saying that, yeah, if you go to school for 7 years, you’ve proven some dedication to your field, but it should have never come to that… Only the most important jobs like doctors, scientists, ect should have to deal with that. Because they actually benefit. I wouldn’t want some surgeon with two years of schooling hacking away at my guts, I’d rather he got an expanded education. Do I care if my librarian spent 6 years in school? Not at all. Just tell me where to find the Where’s Waldo books, please.

    • dinosaurboner says:

      I expected someone to put me in my place about the library thing but I didn’t expect that it would be you… CURSE YOU. I kinda agree with you though. I figure cataloging vast libraries would be pretty difficult. But most libraries aren’t that big, and most librarians don’t need to know how to do such complex cataloging. They just need to know how to read a catalog. That’s what I wanted to do BUT APPARENTLY IM NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THAT UGGGHHH.

      I used to think taking gen ed classes were meant to make people more well rounded, but look at the amount of people that go to college. If they were becoming more well rounded by those bullshit classes, you’d think there would be a lot less dumb asses walking around. Clearly those classes had no effect on them. COLLEGE? MORE LIKE SCAMIVERSITY.

  2. J.S. says:

    Right now I’m working on my master’s degree (in Sweden, I’m Swedish), and I can tell you that there is indeed a good amount of bullshit involved. Basically I’m increasing my debt from student loans and the degree is not a guarantee that I’ll get a job that pays better. Even worse, despite I’m almost done with the master’s, I’m still not able to get a single job interview despite having a long academic curriculum including a B.A. and fluency in three languages. I guess what employers read is that my work experience is just not enough, as it happens to not be strictly related to my area of studies. What I’m trying to say here is that the job market can be much more full of shit than academia.

    But still, higher education can be as much bullshit as you want it to be or as you allow it to be. If you’re taking a master’s degree solely for the purpose of getting a job that pays better, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. You should be in it because you’re driven by your curiosity, to develop specific knowledge. You’re not in it just to learn or absorb knowledge like a sponge but to PRODUCE new knowledge and gain expertise, which is pretty much the whole point of writing a thesis.

    Sure, some academic areas can sound quite trivial, redundant, unnecessary or just plain bullshit, but don’t forget that you also sharpen core competences such as your critical thinking and your argumentation. Academic writing is indeed a practical skill that is not exactly easy and it is an important part of the research process. This prepares you in case you decide to start doctoral studies. I mean, never say never! Teaching and conducting research may not be an ambition of yours right now, but it might be in the near future. Research can be frustrating, exhausting and overall challenging, but also very satisfying.

    As for the dumb asses, it reminds me of a punchline by Texan comedian Ron White: “You can’t fix stupid”. The responsibility of becoming more well-rounded relies on the individual and ideally it is a life-long endeavour, not just limited to the college years. College provide you essentially with a framework and the context while you do the work. Some people just won’t really absorb the knowledge, they’ll just try to memorise it or use it for the sole purpose of passing a test or writing a paper only to forget most of it the day after the deadline. Graduating from college is sadly synonymous with being done learning, reading or doing anything that resembles cultivating one’s own intellect. Even going to college is synonymous with wild partying and getting wasted constantly! I guess some people are just destined to remain hopelessly stupid.

    But well, sure… colleges/universities could really do much better by not wasting the students’ time (and money) with bullshit! The Job market in general could also put more attention in people’s competence instead of giving so much importance to whether one has a particular degree. Too bad the world loves its bullshit!

  3. The Idiot says:

    “Most people” do not go to college. Not in the U.S. The majority of people here have never gone to college and never will. In fact, college enrollment hasn’t changed much at all in the last several decades.

    Today ~27% of the population in the U.S. has a university degree. In 1978 it was 25%. The percentage among men has been almost completely static since the end of the Vietnam War.

    This is a common myth.

    Yes, higher education is being increasingly commodified as capital searches for new sources of revenue to counteract the falling rate of profit. Yes, that means a rise in college tuition and debt, and an increase in the need to pay the “price of admission” to get a lot of jobs (how else would they sell the degrees?).

    But no, most people do not go to college. And the number that now attend is actually higher than what capital can provide useful (in any sense) roles for. That’s why, for example, you are seeing people with degrees working at McDonald’s. In China, they are actually limiting the number of people who can major in subjects like psychology since there is no position for them upon graduation.

    I agree with the general thrust of the article though. There are nearly illiterate high school drops outs running sophisticated machinery in mines that provide the coal we power our entire society with. And there are Graduate Degree holders that couldn’t change the oil in their car or grow a tomato plant if their life depended on it. No one needs to go through 8 years of higher education to be a librarian. But this society is not organized around what is necessary for humanity. It’s organized around the interests of capital.

  4. Singing Telegram says:

    Lots of people with Ph.D.s survive on food stamps. The only way to win in this game is to be mad rich, well connected, white, male, and have an upper class British accent. Seriously.

  5. Mrpiggypoop says:

    You’re noy looking for a job, you’re blogging on and on about how life’s fucked your tender little butt. Shut up and get to work.

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