Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pursuing That College Career

Included in the title are four words that, when combined, elicit different responses from everyone, yet beg the same question – ‘How much money does this path yield?’ At first glance, this seems like a rational question; After all, many students graduate with a five or even six figure debt, and their loans sure don't pay themselves off either. So logically, everyone rushes to the engineering, medical, computer science, and even legal fields with their eyes set on that $65,000 median salary prize. However, how many of those individuals truly consider the security of the careers they pursue? I am not simply talking about basic job security, but rather, a kind of security which people tend to overlook during the gold rush frenzy after graduation – experience security. What I mean by experience security is being able to find a new job easily after losing an existing job, regardless of whether the company goes under, or you no longer wish to work for them; The question here is, essentially, how adaptable is your skill set? The key point to remember is that your experience has value. You may think of this in terms of an Experience Value curve, which represents how valuable one’s experience is to the company and market that he or she is associated with. Ideally, your value as a worker in the company should increase each day that you are employed. For instance, as mentioned before, many people inundate the engineering field with the idea that their jobs will be secure and their 60-65k starting salary will nullify their debt in a short period of time. However, many overlook the notion that the Experience Value curve is static for engineers after five or ten years. The cost of maintaining your skillset exceeds the cost of simply hiring a new graduate with an updated set of skills and, according to the employer, your experience value can be compensated for in just a short amount of time. Although engineers are in demand in today’s society, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the emphasis on the Experience Value curve is the reason. In fact, it can be quite the contrary. The demand is there because the experience is not valued, and workers are just quickly replaced like products on an assembly line. On the other hand, think about the medical field. Because disease and old age are ubiquitous, doctors will usually be in high demand. However, with each year in the practice, the doctor gains experience, whether it be in another area of medicine or about a new plethora of diseases. Such experience cannot be reduced to the level of pure economic finances, because what becomes valuable here is the experience he or she acquires over extended time, and not their years of medical schooling. In hindsight, the crucial thing to keep in mind when pursuing a career is how much experience is truly valued within that profession. Skills can always be replaced, but experience is priceless. -originally written by Stan


AmandaRose said...

college is a great experience, but so is getting a job...ya know the kind with insurance!

-frustrated recent college grad!

Serge said...

Lol, for sure. Thanks for the comment. Wish you the best of luck in your job search.

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