*As told to Kally anonymously

These days, degrees are like pennies. They are everywhere and nowhere special, unlike 20 or 30 years ago when having a degree gave you an edge over other job applicants.

When I started pursuing my social work degree, I thought being a social worker was my divine calling, but the truth is, I was oblivious career-wise. My parents often lamented that my head was always stuck in dreamland. Without much interest, I surprised myself by completing my studies without any hiccups. Perhaps I thought it is the only way I could get my parents off my back.

I started my job search immediately after graduating. I graduated with a degree in social sciences in 2003, an era marked by the SARS outbreak in Asia. A lousy time for job seekers, indeed. I applied for 50 jobs, and none responded. Each rejection was like a sledgehammer to my ego. My parents were constantly nagging me. I felt so depressed and stifled living with my parents. After one year of fruitless job search, my aunt offered me a temporary position as a receptionist at the company she worked in. I could not let the offer pass; within a week, I had moved out to the city.

The pay wasn’t enough to cater for my expenses, including rent, so I had to stay with my aunt. For the next eight months, I got retail weekend jobs in my attempts to make a living. But money was never enough. It didn’t matter much that I had to forgo going out with my friends or never buying anything new. Besides, I spent all the time I had working.

After two years of temping as a receptionist, I secured a job as a production assistant in a certain film company. Although the pay is adequate and the job is enjoyable, the projects aren’t constant. There are some weeks I stay at home waiting for calls from work. At that time, I waitress for income.

My entire family thinks that I am wasting my life away without any aim or goals. My parents love to remind me that they are still paying off my student loan, and my degree is like a piece of trash because I’m not using it. I hate attending family gatherings now. The only person who is still supportive is my aunt, whom I’m still living with. Whatever amount I earn, half of it goes to my parents to pay off my student loan. And I contribute to food and transportation with whatever’s left.

It is not as if I am wasting my life away or living off my parents. Although my wages are not consistent, I have never stopped working. Apart from my student loan and a roof over my head, I have never asked a single cent from my family. I have no debts and no bad habits. I don’t drink or go out partying. I don’t smoke, don’t do drugs and hate gambling of any kind.

My coworkers at the film company never knew I had a degree. The job does not require one, so I told nobody that I’m a graduate. I think that my work attitude speaks for itself. I don’t need to prove my education with a piece of paper. So in a way, yeah, my parents are right about my degree being trash.

My aunt thinks that I have not settled down on a career path because I have not found my calling yet. However, I am not sure if I will ever find a calling or something I am passionate about. I dread the weekly calls my parents make to my aunt to check up on me because I no longer pick up their calls.

Right now, I’m just trying to live my life the way I want to without someone dictating how it should be.

Enjoy reading Whisper Stories? Here are some more just for you:
Whisper: I Got a Revenge on A Company that Didn’t Deserved Me
Whisper: In Love With My Boss
Whisper: I’m engaged to my boss’s daughter but I don’t even love her

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64 replies on “Whisper – I Have A Degree That I Don’t Use

  1. Of all my degreed friends, only one worked in the field for which he got his degree. I guess the main thing a degree does for you these days is establish you are serious about your work, whatever it might be, and will work hard and wisely to accomplish whatever you start to do. Of course, employers demand loyalty to the company or institution while they aren’t loyal to the employee if economics indicate letting people go!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Kally dear !I can very well relate to your sentiments as I completed my Master of Social Work Degree in 2019(at the age of of 60 yrs😁) but havent been to able to utilize it till date owing to engagement in family responsibilities & obligations!But someday I will like to fulfill my social responsibilities towards our poor, underpriviledged and needed masses! Thanks for sharing💖

    Liked by 6 people

  3. This is an enlightening post, Kally.

    I was born in the middle of World War 2, the eldest of 5. University was not an option for me. Although I left school at 18 with the ability to gain entry, my parents needed my income. It was my choice to go to work instead.

    After six years in Marine insurance, the sudden death of my first wife, and single parenthood of a toddler, I changed tack and went into Social Work.

    My training course at that time did not require a degree. The tutor in charge had come to England on Kindertransport. He had not been to University either. We became lifelong friends.

    Soon after I qualified, a degree would be required to gain a place on the course. A few years later I took a training lost in groupwork on the course. It amused me that neither I nor my friend would be able to gain admission.

    Kally, follow your instincts.

    Liked by 9 people

  4. I was going to be the first in my family – either side – to attend university. Great expectations, you might say. But I had other ideas.
    Had I followed the path of the dutiful son, I think my life would have gone something like this. Arts degree, public service job, marriage, divorce, remarriage, and by now I’d be one of those ‘Thank God I won’t be around much longer’ types.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ah brave of you not to succumb to family pressure. My family also expected me to take the normal route but instead I choose what makes me most happy at that time. Never regret any decisions!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your friend is correct, degrees are like pennies. When I was very young, a bachelor’s college degree meant you had mastered all the known material about your field. Most entered college with a definite plan for their career. By the time I entered college, some universities were offering undergraduate degrees as Bachelor of General Studies, meaning these students had attended four years of classes and still did not know what they wanted to do!
    Now, Masters and even some PhDs are virtually worthless as there are SOOO many of them, and most only prepare you to teach others how to get the degree, instead of really learning a field (BA/BS), mastering it (MS), and contributing to its knowledge (PhD).
    The best career path:
    1. Search for God through Jesus Christ; this involves prayer.
    2. Read and study the Bible to learn how God interacts with us.
    3. Join a group of followers who are learning to follow Jesus.
    These steps will open doors of community, help you realize your purpose for which Father created you, and inform you of what is happening in the world beyond you. (Hint, “I” am not the center of what God is doing, but He invites each of us to participate in His plans.) 😊

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you CA for sharing your insights and wisdom with us today. Yes, I do agree that degrees are aplenty that many just uses it to get past the interviews and nothing more. In fact, I know a lot of folks ended up not working in the jobs with their designated degrees.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I did Uni in the ’80s and they were saying the same thing then. What a degree illustrates is a maturity in being able to stick to a program and learn. There’s no guarantee in jobs. it’s an expansion of the mind and spirit. A candidate with a degree will have an advantage over one without. Learning is never wasted time. IMO

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I often think about finding a new career outside my degree or getting a job that doesn’t require a degree at all. The thoughts of friends/family does hold me back, but I try to keep happiness in mind when making decisions like that!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I quote “Right now, I’m just trying to live my life the way I want to without someone dictating how it should be.”
    – My blessings are with you, there are few in billion people who dared to live life their own way. Only they can live it fully, being at present moment always. Only they are blessed by God’s real gift to any human being ie Enter the kingdom of God as a King.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. You are right to go about your life as you want, with or without using your degree. You learned more at school than just what was in a books and have a lot to bring to the world around you ♥

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I hope they can eventually find peace regarding this very vexing issue, Kally. The key in this situation is to put into practice some of the methodologies they would have learnt during earning their degree. There are relevant elements such as thought processes, how to research and put a document together and so on. That’s what I did. However, I then undertook two post graduate degrees once I had been working for a number of years that were relevant to my career (which changed course many times). I was a lousy undergraduate student, but I seemed to excel with the post graduate stuff.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I can see nowadays here in Brazil, that graduation is not necessary anymore. just for specific jobs, like doctors, lawyers or engineers. Most of the careers people are beginning at work first, and waiting to see what kind of careers they want to try afterwards.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I think that this is so true Kally. This post is a direct reflection of me. I am not one of the few lucky ones who really knows what they want to do with their life. My wife is one of them and she knew what she wanted and now she’s in the job of her dreams for a majority of her life. I’m glad my kids take after her because they know what they truly want to do and are pursuing it wholeheartedly. And here I am still trying to find that “right” job for me…sigh…

    Liked by 4 people

  13. My brother is going through the same thing! He is incredibly smart yet his degree didn’t take him anywhere. I’ve seen first hand, that you can have capabilities and yet they sometimes they won’t be recognized or appreciated. It takes luck, opportunity and a lot more to make it in the real world.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I find you are a very courageous woman, with determination and a willingness to work – wonderful qualities.
    I wish you luck in finding your dream job and a degree is never “trash” – unless it comes from a disreputable source.
    No one will ever be able to take from you your education. It is part of who you are. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Very well said kally today degree is nothing for our society many students finish thier studies and they wait for many years without getting Jobs
    But don’t worry one day the situation will be changed by the future generation

    chao kally🤗🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What a powerful and relatable story. I can relate (not with the parents aspect) with the strong desire of wanting to work within the realms of my degree and not finding anything. Hence, settling on what I could get. It is only in the last 2.5 years that my (paid) work matches my degree (in Sociology) and now I pursuing my MSc which, through innovative approaches inclusive of blogging, I’m determined to utilize (if only to share knowledge). Many degrees nowadays are simply wall art

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. I think you are brave to go through what you did and your determination is something we should learn from.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. You know what-be proud of your degree and the motivation behind it. Tell your parents that there is plenty of empirical evidence that shows college educated people with at least a four year degree are healthier mentally and physically, we deal with stress much better, make more informed decisions, are better time planners and, generally, better off. College educated people STILL out earn uneducated people. Sounds like your family is the one lacking an education. I have a psych degree and 3/4 of anthropology degree and I wouldn’t trade that education for all the money or coffee in the world and I’m a cashier and writer and am proud of my education. You should be too, especially, if you had to work to help pay for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Kally, you may not have taken your course for all the right reasons but you did take it and earned a degree at the end. It’s a shame at the end of it there were no jobs (or perhaps not or we might never have met you). You’ve worked consistently hard in whatever job you’ve done since then and always shown a good work ethic to employers. If you still haven’t found your ideal job or your calling there’s no reason not to show employers that the degree shows you are prepared to work hard. If you think maybe yo could put the degree to some use now maybe there are more jobs available since the sars epidemic is over.
    Whatever you decide and whatever you do must be for yourself though, you cannot let your parents influence you because of financial obligations. You deserve your happiness and it sounds like you’re paying your student loan off regularly.
    I hope you find yourself with the job that suits you down to the ground and that you have many happy years doing well for your employer and yourself.
    Huge Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Dear “anonymous,”
    My heart goes out to you. Not as much because you haven’t found a position in your field, to be honest, but because of all the energy you are wasting because of your admirable, yet exhausting quality to be a dutiful daughter. I’m a parent and it’s just my opinion of course, but your goal now needs to be finding the path that is right for you, and avoiding those nasty side roads that are only dead ends. One being sadly, the one you travel so often worrying about your parents and what they think. They are most likely not spending as much time stressing about you and your decision as you are. You sound like a wonderful person, so as a parent, it’s heart breaking to hear how this stress is obviously sapping your job hunting energies and abilities. I believe they love you dearly and only want the best for you. But we rarely can choose what is best for another person. We can only give them our wisdom through our own experiences, but let them choose their own paths and support them to forge down them with a vengeance and not waste their lives looking in their rear view mirrors at people from their past. Or present. A degree will get your foot in many doors, whether they open into the field you’ve majored in or into another that requires a degree. Any degree. While you’re stretching your wings to make contacts in your desired field or another, there’s someone out there that wants a dedicated, obviously disciplined, caring, compassionate young person who sucked it up and got a degree like you so admirably did, despite the roadblocks. They’ll only see that strong, confident, and able person if you release your regrets. Apologies for being so open and honest, but I hope you will be motivated and inspired to set your regrets aside, and use that energy and passion instead to knock on and knock down doors to go places you truly, honestly, deep down, know that you can. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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