T Nation

College Produces Dilberts

Can someone please explain to me how an individual can earn degree and nail a decent gpa and still be a functional idiot?

It has gotten to the point that getting a degree is like getting a credit card. If you have a pulse and show up you get some sheepskin.

This is a rant of mine because I am constantly interviewing sales people for my business and I am sick and tired of dealing with delusional idiots who have graduated from college and believe that they are worth a rock star’s salary when the have little experience and even less of a clue.

I have a word for all you fresh out of college, wet behind the ears punks, it’s called “WORK”! I don’t owe you shit because you haven’t done anything for me. In fact, you owe me for the opportunity to succeed because I have to take my time to train your dumb ass and undo all of the stupid shit your professors taught you. Professors, who by the way teach because they can’t hack it in the real world. Why sit in a classroom, get a mediocre wage, and worry about tenure when you could own your own business and write your own ticket. Think about it.

The top 4 salespeople at my company earn upwards of $250K per year and none of them graduated from college. Meanwhile the best performance from an individual with a college degree is about $50K. It barely pays for me to keep someone like that on board. The best part is the college kids all quit while the my non-degree earners have been breaking $100K per year like clockwork for the past 10 years.

Here is the former occupations of my top sales people

  1. Green house assistant for a floral company.

  2. Brick stacker for a brick mfg.

  3. Receptionist at an auto dealership.

  4. Owner of a janitorial company.

Now I realize that these people were diamonds in the rough and not everybody can produce these type of results. However I am really down on young, single, college graduates. Give me a middle aged housewife, with 3 kids, a mortgage, and a laid off husband and I’ll show you how to create a sales superstar.

I place the blame squarely on the schools. You have people who have very little real world job experience outside of the university system setting the standards for the type of education that people need to get jobs in the real world. Further, they delude these poor young kids into thinking that a degree is like a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory. Once they have it they are in. The real world says, you start at the bottom of the ladder again sucker and I train you to do the job I need. So as an employer I get stuck with an unprepared, disillusioned, graduate. The only person who wins here is the school.

I have a very smart friend who has made millions marketing credit cards to the sub-prime market. Once we were having a discussion about the ethics of marketing credit to people who were actually on the brink of financial collapse and my friend said to me “Whether these people succeed or fail has nothing to do with me offering them a credit card. If you took everyone in America, reduced their debt to zero and then gave them $100 you and I would sacrifice and do without while we lent our $100 to someone who already spent theirs. The bottom line is you and I you and I will still wind up on top and the people I market credit cards to will still wind up exactly where they are at.”

The rational side of this argument is that there is value in college. If you want to be my doctor or my lawyer or the engineer who designs the brakes on my car I want you to have a good education.

However if all you want to do is make money. Find the people who are making it and make them your mentor. I spent 5 years working my way through college and for the next 10 years I made jack shit. Then I married into an entrepreneurial family, went to work for my father-in-law, who by the way never even graduated high school, and within 5 years I started my own business and became a multi-millionaire.

That’s my rant. Take it for what it is.

I don’t have a degree, what do you sell and where are you located???

You can adopt me if you would like. I play well with other(s).

Excellent post, Conan…

A LOT of employers are having difficulty with the “work” force they have to pick from.

Good luck in finding good workers.

Mufasa

Don’t blame the schools because some jerkoff that tries to work for you has his/her head in his/her ass. No professors are saying to their students “Graduating from here will earn you $100,000 dollars at your first job”. That’s just stupid.

You’re angry at some jackass that applied with you? Great, be pissed at the lack of responsibility or work ethic or realism of today’s youth. But don’t blame the institution of college for the actions of some fuck-ups.

Or maybe the line of work your in just happens to attract assholes, and it’s got nothing to do with the colleges at all.

I spent 5 years working my way through college and for the next 10 years I made jack shit. Then I married into an entrepreneurial family, went to work for my father-in-law, who by the way never even graduated high school, and within 5 years I started my own business and became a multi-millionaire.

It appears that after 10 years you couldn’t make it on your own and had to leach on you wife’s family for a break and you think it’s alright to suck the poor dryer with high interest credit cards. I’m sure you sleep well every night.

[quote]BabyBuster wrote:
Don’t blame the schools… it’s got nothing to do with the colleges at all.[/quote]

If it were just one idiot I would write it off to the volume of people I interview. The fact of the matter is young people in general think the world owes them a living.

Here is an example of an interview with a database manager for my IT department.

Applicant “My salary requirement is $60K.”

Me “I see. Well since you have no work experience what experience do you have in building and querying databases?”

Applicant “In one lab I built a table with the name and address of everyone in the class and ran several queries on it.”

Me “How many people were in your class?”

Applicant “35”

Me “I see. And how would you propose to be able to handle the responsibilities of this position. My main database is comprised of 120 million records and over 4,000 data points. In all I have 10 Terabytes of data comprised of over 500 million records, spread across 150 relational tables.”

Applicant “Wow.”

Welcome to the big leagues kid.

P.S. By the time you graduated from college what you learned was obsolete. I guess I’ll be hiring that kid from the 18 month program at the local tech school. He’ll start for $30K and his course of study is more current. Guess what he even knows open source. Which is great for me because it saves me from paying Oracle or Microsoft $250K per year in licensing.

[quote]john2009 wrote:
It appears that after 10 years you couldn’t make it on your own and had to leach on you wife’s family for a break and you think it’s alright to suck the poor dryer with high interest credit cards. I’m sure you sleep well every night.[/quote]

Hmmm. I guess you exposed me. You’re pretty much an clown but I’ll respond to you just once to give my side of the story.

I sleep like the dead. Everything I have I built from scratch with my own money and the sweat of my brow. Do you really think I made my fortune because I leeched off my father in law?

For the record my father in law paid me squat which is why I started my own business. What he did though was show me that it was possible. He taught me how to sell, to negotiate, and how to take advantage of opportunities.

The man taught me that college isn’t the only route to making a living. Knowledge that I wish I had at age 18, before I wasted 15 years of my life pursuing a course that just wasn’t right for me.

As far as the people who pay for a secured credit cards that’s their choice. Just like it is their choice to buy things they don’t need or not pay their credit card bills. The card is to help the people build their credit without overextending themselves again. That’s why it’s called “secure”. They can’t spend more than they deposit.

[quote]ConanSpeaks wrote:
Here is an example of an interview with a database manager for my IT department.

Applicant “My salary requirement is $60K.”[/quote]

You make fun, but 60K isn’t too far off the mark, depending on the degree. You don’t go to school to come out making peanuts… otherwise, there’s no point.

If I were him, of course, I wouldn’t have applied for a management position, but 60K isn’t too high above normal starting salaries in this area for computer engineers.

It is driven by market demand. I’m glad you’re able to staff your positions the way you do, but not all college graduates are as bad as you say, nor are they all unjustified in asking for decent starting salaries.

Good rant conan.

All college tends to tell most employers is that you are trainable. Not many people work in a field they studied in college. Yet many job posts ask for a college degree, any college degree.

The thing is, many college graduates have wealthy or hard working parents/relatives that were willing to support them financially while they were in college. Thus, these people do not know the concept of hard work. Also, many jobs promote on ass kissing and suck up’ed’ness instead of real world performance.

My parents provided me with nothing while I was in college, and I feel it was a waste of my time. Sure, I learned some crap that doesnt amount to a hill of beans, but I feel I would be farther ahead today if I entered the work force instead of going to college.

Again, nice rant opener.

[quote]ConanSpeaks wrote:

Applicant “My salary requirement is $60K.”

Me “I see. Well since you have no work experience what experience do you have in building and querying databases?”

Applicant “In one lab I built a table with the name and address of everyone in the class and ran several queries on it.”

Me “How many people were in your class?”

Applicant “35”

[/quote]

OK, come one man, I have never taken a computer class outside of what was required for my degree in Administration of Justice, but I can build this database in a few minutes using Access.

What kind of applicant is this? I have years of business management experience, and expect nothing more than 40-50K, 60K would be my ideal. And the moron you site seems no better than me at creating and managing a database, and has zero expeience in the work force.

WTF?

Well Conan,
I think your post is interesting. I just got out of lawschool at age 38 and I feel utterly clueless. Sales is a skillset of it’s own, as I’m sure you know. College may, or may not teach you desire.

Maybe some of those successful salesmen of yours just want it more than the college grads. A chip on your shoulder is often more effective than a sense of entitlement. I don’t know if many people even try to teach people skills, but a little PR goes a long way.

[quote]Petedacook wrote:
What kind of applicant is this? I have years of business management experience, and expect nothing more than 40-50K, 60K would be my ideal. And the moron you site seems no better than me at creating and managing a database, and has zero expeience in the work force.

WTF? [/quote]

If you don’t mind my asking, how old are you Petedacook?

As far salaries go, it depends on the degree. If you spend four years on an engineering degree, you’re going to expect (and get) a higher starting salary despite having less experience. Part of that is driven by the high demand created by government contracts. Smaller businesses then have to pay more to compete for that talent. That’s the free market.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
Petedacook wrote:
What kind of applicant is this? I have years of business management experience, and expect nothing more than 40-50K, 60K would be my ideal. And the moron you site seems no better than me at creating and managing a database, and has zero expeience in the work force.

WTF?

If you don’t mind my asking, how old are you Petedacook?

As far salaries go, it depends on the degree. If you spend four years on an engineering degree, you’re going to expect (and get) a higher starting salary despite having less experience. Part of that is driven by the high demand created by government contracts. Smaller businesses then have to pay more to compete for that talent. That’s the free market.
[/quote]

No man I dont mind you asking. You rock from your posts, which is beside the point. Any how, I am 35.

I’ve discussed several times how much weight is placed on having a degree, and how much money and time goes into earning them. I was one of the people who began down the road of college (after high school I got a full time job, and went to night school) to pursue an English major.

I found it expensive and time consuming. I was beat from putting in a 40 hour work week in a shipping/receiving plant, and then dragging ass into classes. It seemed like I’d go broke or I’d go mental… or both. I have a good deal of respect for anybody who accomplishes this, I did not.

Cut to about 10 years later. I now work in sales. I only work 20 hours per week, yet earn roughly $60,000 in commissions per year. I feel fortunate I have found something I can do that I am able to apply my natural skills of communication and earn a decent living, on MINIMAL hours.

That was key for me. That way I can sit here and bullshit on forums for hours at night. Not really, but I do have time to enjoy this thing called life, and pursue my hobbies and what really turns my cogs, in my free time.

So Conan, I can fully empathize.

[quote]BabyBuster wrote:
Don’t blame the schools because some jerkoff that tries to work for you has his/her head in his/her ass. No professors are saying to their students “Graduating from here will earn you $100,000 dollars at your first job”.

…[/quote]

Not professors but the schools do publish this type of info trying to recruit students.

Graduates of our school have a 90% placement rate. The average starting salary is $ X.

There is a difference between being smart and being intelligent.

Formal education has nothing to do with intelligence. Neither does the amount of money you make.

Educated fools and dimwitted millionaires are found in every profession.

[quote]ConanSpeaks wrote:
john2009 wrote:
It appears that after 10 years you couldn’t make it on your own and had to leach on you wife’s family for a break and you think it’s alright to suck the poor dryer with high interest credit cards. I’m sure you sleep well every night.

Hmmm. I guess you exposed me. You’re pretty much an clown but I’ll respond to you just once to give my side of the story.

I sleep like the dead. Everything I have I built from scratch with my own money and the sweat of my brow. Do you really think I made my fortune because I leeched off my father in law?

For the record my father in law paid me squat which is why I started my own business. What he did though was show me that it was possible. He taught me how to sell, to negotiate, and how to take advantage of opportunities.

The man taught me that college isn’t the only route to making a living. Knowledge that I wish I had at age 18, before I wasted 15 years of my life pursuing a course that just wasn’t right for me.

As far as the people who pay for a secured credit cards that’s their choice. Just like it is their choice to buy things they don’t need or not pay their credit card bills. The card is to help the people build their credit without overextending themselves again. That’s why it’s called “secure”. They can’t spend more than they deposit. [/quote]

Conan. I will apologize to you and give you props for establishing a business on your own, this fact wasn’t apparent from your post. I don’t have much respect for people who, just because they’re the product of the right sperm and egg (or marry into a family)have financial success (if they work and make the operation more successful, props to them). Also, I don’t have a problem with secured credit cards as I believe they perform a service. Again from your original post I inferred your friend was making money charging obscene interest rates to people who shouldn’t be granted credit in the first place. A friend has been doing volunteer credit counseling and he has some real horror stories about how people are getting screwed.
With that said, I agree with you there is an entitlement attitude with many college graduates. I did graduate many moons ago and have a professional position with a multinational company. We typically hire people with several years work experience now instead of recent grads. When we do hire recent grads, 90%+ of them have spent time as an intern with our company so we can see their abilities before we sink much money into them.

[quote]ConanSpeaks wrote:
Can someone please explain to me how an individual can earn degree and nail a decent gpa and still be a functional idiot?

It has gotten to the point that getting a degree is like getting a credit card. If you have a pulse and show up you get some sheepskin.

This is a rant of mine because I am constantly interviewing sales people for my business and I am sick and tired of dealing with delusional idiots who have graduated from college and believe that they are worth a rock star’s salary when the have little experience and even less of a clue.

I have a word for all you fresh out of college, wet behind the ears punks, it’s called “WORK”! I don’t owe you shit because you haven’t done anything for me. In fact, you owe me for the opportunity to succeed because I have to take my time to train your dumb ass and undo all of the stupid shit your professors taught you. Professors, who by the way teach because they can’t hack it in the real world. Why sit in a classroom, get a mediocre wage, and worry about tenure when you could own your own business and write your own ticket. Think about it.

The top 4 salespeople at my company earn upwards of $250K per year and none of them graduated from college. Meanwhile the best performance from an individual with a college degree is about $50K. It barely pays for me to keep someone like that on board. The best part is the college kids all quit while the my non-degree earners have been breaking $100K per year like clockwork for the past 10 years.

Here is the former occupations of my top sales people

  1. Green house assistant for a floral company.

  2. Brick stacker for a brick mfg.

  3. Receptionist at an auto dealership.

  4. Owner of a janitorial company.

Now I realize that these people were diamonds in the rough and not everybody can produce these type of results. However I am really down on young, single, college graduates. Give me a middle aged housewife, with 3 kids, a mortgage, and a laid off husband and I’ll show you how to create a sales superstar.

I place the blame squarely on the schools. You have people who have very little real world job experience outside of the university system setting the standards for the type of education that people need to get jobs in the real world. Further, they delude these poor young kids into thinking that a degree is like a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory. Once they have it they are in. The real world says, you start at the bottom of the ladder again sucker and I train you to do the job I need. So as an employer I get stuck with an unprepared, disillusioned, graduate. The only person who wins here is the school.

I have a very smart friend who has made millions marketing credit cards to the sub-prime market. Once we were having a discussion about the ethics of marketing credit to people who were actually on the brink of financial collapse and my friend said to me “Whether these people succeed or fail has nothing to do with me offering them a credit card. If you took everyone in America, reduced their debt to zero and then gave them $100 you and I would sacrifice and do without while we lent our $100 to someone who already spent theirs. The bottom line is you and I you and I will still wind up on top and the people I market credit cards to will still wind up exactly where they are at.”

The rational side of this argument is that there is value in college. If you want to be my doctor or my lawyer or the engineer who designs the brakes on my car I want you to have a good education.

However if all you want to do is make money. Find the people who are making it and make them your mentor. I spent 5 years working my way through college and for the next 10 years I made jack shit. Then I married into an entrepreneurial family, went to work for my father-in-law, who by the way never even graduated high school, and within 5 years I started my own business and became a multi-millionaire.

That’s my rant. Take it for what it is.[/quote]

Man, I was just thinking about this. I work in sales, and there are various people with degrees. None of them are in the top 5.

Probably the biggest moron in my department has a degree.

Mentoring is a lost practice in business now days, you are very fortunate to have had one.