Saturday, January 19, 2008

Between Education & Experience

It is common knowledge that education will get you somewhere in life, but there are times when it not always the case. Getting a good education is essential in getting that perfect job, but that is as far as it will get you; unless you are planning to work in a more specialized field such as engineering, law or medical. What makes you able to stay in the job or get an even better one is your experience which you have gained overtime. That degree is a ticket in which you are able to access better jobs with better prospects, as compared to those who do not hold that coveted piece of paper.

There are the majority who firmly believe that education is what matters more than experience, and there are the minority who think that experience is all they need. Education acts as a base from which we are able to propel ourselves into the working world, while experience enhances the package: making people with both education and experience more valuable then those with only one of the two.

As time goes by, the emphasis of what is important in education and getting that job has changed over the years. It used to be common that all you needed was to have graduated from high school to be able to work (Phase 1), than the emphasis shifted to having to have a Diploma or Certificate (Phase 2), and finally you have to get that Degree (Phase 3). It is good that we aim, or rather society, "forces" us to upgrade ourselves. But there is also a disadvantage. The shift from Phase 1 to Phase 2 aided in the retrenchment and downsizing processes of companies - putting people with experience but no qualified paper to proof otherwise, at a disadvantage. Companies would rather hire fresh graduates to replace these experienced ones. One of the rationale being that fresh graduated cost less, and usually those experienced staff would be unwilling to take a cut in their pay.

And now in the midst of Phase 2 and Phase 3, more and more fresh graduates are being hired based on their qualifications alone. Without the required experience it makes it difficult to get the job done at times, and it can be frustrating. I have heard of stories where fresh graduates did not do their job well because they were not instructed to do so. It is not always the case, but it does happen.

Thus, this has resulted in many people going back to school out of necessity, or just simply taking part-time courses to complement their working experience. It is unavoidable, that piece of paper is an important "accessory" in our lives, without it we would not be heading that far. However, it is difficult to find a job after graduation that pays well and does not require experience. As it is difficult to attain these two attributes concurrently, especially for those who have yet to figure out which path in life to take, ultimately, the ones who determine what matters the most is ourselves. Although factors like time and money do play a part in our decisions, there is no right or wrong. What matters is the choices we make, what we want out of life, the opportunities given and how best we make use of them. The most important thing is to look ahead and never regret your choices in this aspect.


  1. great post. that little piece of paper is important, but it's not everything. i know people with stacks of pieces of paper and no job and i know a plummer with no paper and lots of work.

  2. You forgot to mention another scenario... one is jobless but he can't get a job as a sales asst as he is OVERqualified for the job.
    And he can't get a job that he is supposed to be qualified to do. There are quite a no. of cases out there that are unemployed due to this reason.

  3. true =) its one thing when you're overqualified and another if you're underqualified. due to recessions and what not overqualified people most likely won't get the job, but if they were willing to do something else(usually something not what one like to do) or take a pay cut it might help. It might not work always but there's a chance.... being underqualified can get you nowhere either too its a balance of timing and whether to choose to specialize or not

    Being overqualified, companies may turn you down, but being underqualified companies might not even want to take a look at you... ahh... the perils of life... lol

  4. I've learnt my lesson. Just state in my CV whichever job experience is relevant to the one I'm applying for. :P

  5. hehe good idea =) just need to keep getting that experience lol