View Full Version : Indirect ageism?

17th Apr 2009, 16:39
Although not necessarily related to aviation, I have noticed recently a greater preponderance of jobs advertised that require a first degree as a requirement where in the past either non existed or alternatively non was required.

I appreciate in the present economic climate employers can be more selective with prospective candidates, however it seems this could be construed as an indirect form of ageism.

Whilst a good number of older professionals might be corporate members of a professional body, fewer have first degrees. The trend over the past twenty years has been towards degree only entry to the professions.

Therefore it is likely that younger (under 45) candidates will almost certainly have a first degree, whereas those older practitioners may not.

I understand that some professions have always required a first degree to enable a member to achieve corporate status and that some overseas countries do not recognize British qualifications. Nevertheless this trend seems to be establishing itself in all markets.

Jobs that were open to qualified professionals a couple of years ago, now seem qualification barred.

It would be interesting to discover whether this is a general trend or if there is some credence in the view that the ageism is creeping into the workplace in a covert manner?


17th Apr 2009, 16:47
No it's part of a government decree which seeks to dumb down the population in order for the government to justify its ludicrous education policies.

In our day one had to have GCE O levels. It has now been dumbed down so that you only have to have a 1st nowadays. A PhD is almost as good as GCEs but the holders of those tend to be kept in the school/university systems to ensure that no-one else aspires to GCEs.

17th Apr 2009, 17:39
Don't you need a degree nowadays to become a nurse?

tony draper
17th Apr 2009, 17:43
Don't mock,yer need a big box of crayons to get a degree now.:rolleyes:

17th Apr 2009, 18:01
GCPTN is spot on.
My wife has aspired to a career change to become a Midwife for several years and through work related NVQ's she gained the necessary equivilant A - levels and professional work experience with children to qualify with the degree course.
We discovered at a later date, that the local University NHS Trust got full funding for any candidate who had 3 A Levels, but only partial funding for those with an equivilant education.
This was not made clear at the application stage, consequently, out of the 124 candidates who attended the open days and interviews, only those with the actual A levels got one of the 25 places for the Degree Midwifery Course.

Tony Draper.

Your comments smack of bitterness and a large chip on the shoulder, I don't know what your Degree is in (if you have one at all?) or if it was of any relavance to your career (if you had one at all?), but in the UK, the vast majority of degrees of any worth still require an enormous amount of hard work, financial and personal commitment.

tony draper
17th Apr 2009, 18:05
Sorry one thought it smacked of humor ,this is jet blast after all.:rolleyes:

17th Apr 2009, 18:09
I took Tony's comments in the spirit of which they were intended. :ok:
Let's not stamp out all frivolity . . .

18th Apr 2009, 01:46
goatface You obviously haven't been around long enough (at least on JB) to appreciate Admiral Drapes' humour and, sometimes :E, erudite comments. Long may it last.

18th Apr 2009, 02:05
I don't know what your Degree is in (if you have one at all?) or if it was of any relavance to your career (if you had one at all?),

I wonder, goatface, if you are as well-read as Tony Draper, quite apart from
his work contributions to the world. I shall watch your future posts for evidence.

18th Apr 2009, 02:12
Thirty years ago you'd get a kid out of high school who could read, write, do some basic math and maybe know some history and geography. Some jobs need just that basic level of knowledge. Today, kids coming out of universities don't have that knowledge.

18th Apr 2009, 02:38
Today Memorial University of Newfoundland runs student-recruitment ads that open: "Me and General Hillier are cut from the same cloth" [i.e., they are both graduates of that seat of learning. It makes I want to weep.

18th Apr 2009, 02:52
In a way, I would tend to agree with Mr. D.

When you see people who got an "A" in their GCSE English but cannot tell the difference in the use of "There", "Their" and "They're" or cannot even spell basic words properly it does tend to make you question the worth of many of the degrees that people manage to get.

18th Apr 2009, 07:17
Gaotface, I took Mr D's comment in the manner it was intended, do you get out much?

18th Apr 2009, 07:19
I don't think it's ageism as much as HR "covering-their-a$$-ism". Nobody ever got fired for hiring the candidate with the degree......

18th Apr 2009, 09:56
I'm seeing this here in Ireland, where free 3rd-level tuition has created a generation who see university as an extension of school, and employers who think you are defective if you don't have a degree of some sort. The most common, by far is "Arts", since it doesn't require any Math or Science skills, which many kids hate. The free fees only cover first degrees, so you don't get any help doing a second degree.

I went in to an apprenticeship straight from school, never got a degree, so I'm taking advantage of the situation myself, to study structural engineering as a mature student. Plenty of Maths and Science involved e.g we're doing Differential Equations next year (my 3rd), and also some history (of Architecture). The programme has been designed with industry input i.e. there's a chance it will have some real-world applicability. From what I see here at UCD, an "Arts" degree is not necessarily an easy option, because it requires a lot of hard work and late nights. My workload seems to be more technical, and not as heavy on time, and I'm managing OK.

Now it's likely that fees will come back in, and there's been a huge outcry (but nothing constructive) from a certain subset of students - I'll leave you to specify which subset. "It's our right", they say - but what has this rise in "soft" degrees really achieved, other than to foster a culture where you are expected to have a degree - any degree - to get a job?

18th Apr 2009, 12:07
When employers wise up to this situation will we see people with certain Degrees being regarded as undesirable timewasters who are unsuitable for the world of work/business?

Len Ganley
18th Apr 2009, 12:30
I recently received a letter from my professional body informing me that my membership status had increased even though I am not degree qualified. The reason is that the training I received some 20-odd years ago is considered to be of an equal or even greater standard than that which is taught in universities now.
I have also noticed that in my particular area of engineering, some employers are now not asking for a degree but are asking for proof of registration with a professional body. I can only assume that they are waking up to the fact that, unfortunately, degrees nowadays are no guarantee of intelligence or ability and that the various professional organisations are well placed to decide what sort of level an individual is capable of working at.

18th Apr 2009, 12:36
I believe that degrees are, in many respects, overrated - even in the age cohort to which I belong - when the vast majority of school leavers did not take on tertiary education. I was privileged to be able to take degrees, and humbled by many who couldn't.

Today's concept of trying to put *most* school leavers through University is similar to that of quantitative easing - you debase what the degree (for what it was worth) stood for.

The people who were too independent, too impecunious, too impetuous - there will be any number of reasons - to have taken a degree in the past and yet still had the gumption and alacrity to forge out successful careers will soon, it seems, be precluded from even having an opportunity of darkening the door of an interview room because they do not have letters after their name.

Having said that, in Germany, it's a sine qua non to have a Ph.D for many fields, and it has been that way for generations. This is not a solely British phenomenon.

In the autumn of my life, I'm tempted to go on and add some extra letters after my name. 'The Labour Party and political change in Scotland 1919-1928'. It should make compelling reading and guarantee me a rewarding career.


18th Apr 2009, 13:13
You could say agism applies to degree classifications as well. 2:2's and below these days seem to be considered dodgy.

On a bit of a tangent I did a four year mechanical engineering degree from a top 10 university and got a 2:2, only to find that people with 2:1s were being hired in favour of me - regardless of the subject they studied or the rigour of their subject :ugh: I'll certainly be recommending that my children do an easy degree but make sure they get a 2:1 - life's too short.

(if you look on the graduate hiring pages of the big 4 accountancy firms you'll see they just require a 2:1 degree - they don't care what subject it's in or what university you went to:mad:)

18th Apr 2009, 13:31
I have a degree, 2 of my three kids have degrees,( One has a "First").
But the one kid that doesn't have a degree owns a large lump of Cornwall,
Six horses, Breeds pedigree dogs,(Various breeds), grows vegetables,
and lives in a "Mansion". And works part-time as a theatre nurse.
Oh, and drives round in a LARGE Merc AMG.
Makes you think a bit sometimes, Dunnit?

18th Apr 2009, 13:31
I have also noticed that in my particular area of engineering, some employers are now not asking for a degree but are asking for proof of registration with a professional body. I can only assume that they are waking up to the fact that, unfortunately, degrees nowadays are no guarantee of intelligence or ability and that the various professional organisations are well placed to decide what sort of level an individual is capable of working at.
Yep - and the same bodies are upping the ante. Engineers Ireland (http://www.engineersireland.ie/) (the charter body here) already require BE Honours degrees (since 2004), and will require a Master's in Engineering from all applicants after 2013.

18th Apr 2009, 13:58
It was said at one time that a degree demonstrated your ability to learn (and answer questions based on the topic).
Of course there was disparity between artistic courses that involved writing (or drawing) and scientific courses which required problems to be solved.

In recent years, (after the demise of the Polytechnics), newly established Universities were created (many from the former Polytechnics) offering degrees for all (whereas previously the less academically-capable pupils would have studied for Diplomas - usually involving practical work).
To cater for these new students, many degree courses were tailored accordingly.

In-between the two phases there were 'lesser' degrees in vague subjects such as Economics (rather than pure subjects like Geography, History and Mathematics) which were generally seen as easy options (a least by careers professionals).

Now there is a plethora of degrees in such things as Media Studies - all of which serve to undermine the reputation of the degree as a superior level of education which could be relied on as an indicator of intelligence (and application) - qualities which were sought by employers.

Nobody would deny that some jobs require abilities that some people just don't possess (and never will).
How to filter applicants (in the absence of proven previous experience in a similar position) remains a conundrum.
It is little wonder that employers are finding that a degree doesn't guarantee the qualities that they would previously have done.
How do firms set the standards that they require (and quantify the applicants against these)?
You have to have some degree (!) of filter for jobs - even labouring jobs require applicants to be suited to manual work.
Whilst simple labouring jobs can draw on a pool of casual labour, many firms require training within the post before the employee can be trusted to be independent - and that takes time (and therefore money).
I can foresee more employers invoking the six-month temporary clause to reject unsuitable employees - but it still costs them to have engaged them in the first place.

On the other hand, I have had experience of government-supported schemes (where unemployed candidates were sponsored to work as trainees).
Unscrupulous employers tend to use these as cheap labour and systematically reject the potential employees as soon as the subsidy ends.

Then there are the employers that rid themselves of staff before the two-year 'redundancy' qualification applies (maybe even engaging agency staff that can be dismissed at a moment's notice without liability).

And then there are women of child-bearing age . . . - it can be crippling to a small firm if they have a high percentage of their staff taking maternity leave (and maybe not returning afterwards - or returning briefly before taking further maternity leave).

Now what was the question?

18th Apr 2009, 14:02
Age is not supposed to be a barrier to employment and a lot of companies will state that this is company policy but when you fill in the application form they always require your Date of Birth! I left secondary school with what I considered a minimum level of education and went straight into a factory engineering environment.After a year of this I joined the RAF and went back to school!!After leaving the RAF I joined the power industry and did correspondence courses to gain promotion .Then during a period of unemployment did a government sponsored course at a university(I was 44 ) and now I do a responsible job with a large American company who really dont care about age as long as you are fit !!Not having a degree has not held me back (only from the top jobs)and there are a lot of people out there who are the same as me .I am 66 pushing 67 and will retire soon to make way for someone with a degree!!

18th Apr 2009, 14:21
Having said that, in Germany, it's a sine qua non to have a Ph.D for many fields, and it has been that way for generations.

That is true, but I have long wondered at it. In my own sordid trade of the law, for example, many if not all whom I meet from Germany are Herr Doktors, and an admirable crowd they are. But all trades and professions recruit from the same genetic pool, and not all recruits can come from the top ten per cent. In fact, no more than ten out of every hundred. If to become an architect, a physician, a pastor, and a solicitor the intrant must have a doctorate, and if the distribution of brains is reasonably even, where does this leave the rest of society?

Can it be that the "doctorate" they claim is worthy indeed, but something less than what we know and love as the "Ph.D.", research degree at a high level that advances, as they merrily claim, human knowledge?

For the avoidance of doubt let me confess right here that I do not have a Ph.D., and you may, as does one visitor here, "draw your own conclusions".

Some thirty years ago, as universities proliferated, there was a brisk trade in degrees. In Glasgow, for example, there was and is an ancient university. In coexistence were various non-university institutions, derived from private foundations of more recent creation. Among these was the Royal College of Science and Technology, which granted associateships, not degrees, to its graduates. These associateships were highly regarded by those who had one and by everyone else. They were regarded, justly I think, as equivalent to a degree.

When the Royal College became the University of Strathclyde it acquired the power to grant degrees, and invited ARCSTs to trade in their associateships against a shiny new parchment. "Thanks, but No thanks!" was the response of many, I suppose not all, I do not know, but certainly of many, "We are very happy as we are." Glasgow also produced M.B., Ch.B., graduates from the University, with M.D. as a higher research degree, and also non-graduate" Licentiates from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. All were physicians or, in the fashion of words "doctors", although none of them at all could claim a doctorate.

Forty years ago something similar took place in California, with the introduction of the "J.D.", or Juris Doctor, doctor of law. If you had an LL.B. you had but to turn it in for a "J.D." and there you were! Everyone had to call you "Doctor". No doubt the quality of your work went up on the instant, as in the British system when you are appointed Q.C. Some yielded to temptation, but many did not.

Over here in North America the first degree from medical school is an M.D., not a research degree. The clinic I attend boasts several native son M.D.s and one M.B., Ch.B., from, Yes!, Glasgow. They can all equally practise on you, prescribe, and heal.

As for contemporary standards, I enrolled a year or two ago in a post-graduate course offered by a local unversity. I dropped out after three days, so abysmal were the standards. I should have been embarrassed to let its badge of infamy taint such other letters as I may have earned.

Frau Davaar teaches first through third years at another institute of higher learning and is under constant pressure to inflate marks. Some colleagues yield to that pressure, so Frau Davaar inherits second year students who do not know the first year curriculum. They were not taught; they were charged the fees; and they were given the A or A+. Just so long as the dollar rolls in. Is there a word for that? Fraud, perhaps?

As a result of my life-experience I do not so very much like France or the French. Foolish, no doubt; but here there is a French Lycee, almost all teachers from France, to which we sent the little Frauelein Davaar.

As Mme le Proviseur told us at the interview: "Zees ees nat joost a Franch schewl. Eet ees a Franch schewl of Nanteen forty". She had that right. They were ruthless. Every exercise was for twenty marks. Make a mistake, you lose 2 marks. It was very easy to come up with zero. No prob! Zero is fine! Do it again! And again! And again! Until you got the magic 10. Understand this, though, until you earn the magic 10, you do not advance, even if your Papa is an ambassador. Anyone who made a fast 12 was regarded as insufferable.

A result is that its graduates have excellent study and general work habits and are welcome at any institute of higher learning, Harvard Medical School included. Other quibbles apart, I have the highest regard for the French education system. Over here, if it is not "fun" it is not good. That detestable word "fun" formed no part of the vocabulary at the Lycee. "Funny" thing: it WAS "fun" to earn real progress. It truly was.

18th Apr 2009, 14:41
FUN should not form part of any educational course.
But I'm afraid that hard work is now frowned upon
by the "Post Wilson" generation.
Everything lately has to be"Fun". Never mind what
sort of level it's at, as long as it's Bl**dy Fun...
I suspect that in the end we'll all die laughing.

18th Apr 2009, 19:23
Well, like I said, I'm at university at the moment, and I can assure you there is still some meat on the bones. Not all degree courses are equal, but the frustration I have is that employers have seen so many useless people with degrees, that they assume people without degrees are even more useless.

The dropout rate in Engineering is significant i.e. at least some of the dossers are being weeded out. The flipside is: it's a full-time job, and one fellow mature student, for whom English is his second language, is trying to do a Civil Engineering degree while running a small business and looking after a small family. He failed four of six subjects last semester, and is on track to fail at least three this semester. I don't think I'll be seeing him next semester (3rd year). :sad:

The fact that I'm only getting to university in my 40s is down to circumstances that were beyond my control at 18: parents with no money and no foresight, living (at the time) in a country with no state support for tertiary education (South Africa). Going to university is not for everyone, and not a right you should be allowed to assume.

18th Apr 2009, 22:42

Sounds as if standards in engineering degrees are being upheld, in Ireland at least. Just as nobody wants to be treated by incompetent doctors or dentists, or defended in court by a second-rate lawyer, society needs to be provided with reliably safe, well-designed and maintained bridges, cars, building structures, aircraft and all the multitude of engineer-created artefacts which everyone takes for granted.

To put it bluntly, we can't afford to allow poorly educated and ill-trained dead-beats in any profession affecting public safety and wellbeing. So let all the hordes of history of art, media studies, and similar self-indulgent non-vocational newbie graduates take their paper certificates and find jobs (if they can), where they can't do any harm. The jobs that they do end up in are quite likely to have no relevance whatsoever to the subjects they chose to study.

19th Apr 2009, 01:14

In my own sordid trade of the law, for example, many if not all whom I meet from Germany are Herr Doktors, and an admirable crowd they are. But all trades and professions recruit from the same genetic pool, and not all recruits can come from the top ten per cent

Indeed - I sometimes wonder whether, being inexperienced at these things, I was buying the wrong sort of breakfast cereal - as it appears that Doktorats were dispensed in the same way as small plastic animals were in my youth. To my chagrin, they don't even give those away any more.

My lawyer in Germany has never got around to getting his PhD. This has not prevented him from carving a lucrative career, but I suspect that it may have stifled his ambitions somewhat. I'll ask him if he promises not to charge for his opinion (he's my former BIL after all.)

We once had a neighbour in Frankfurt whose houseplate read Frau Professor Dr Dr Dr (her surname appeared here). Either she'd bought plenty of the right breakfast cereal or she had a stutter.

I know that some people might find this difficult to believe, and I wanted to ensure that I was not misleading anyone. GIYF, try 'Prof Dr Dr Dr' if you think that I am pulling your leg.


Rich Lee
19th Apr 2009, 01:36
Your comments smack of bitterness and a large chip on the shoulder, I don't know what your Degree is in (if you have one at all?) or if it was of any relavance to your career (if you had one at all?), but in the UK, the vast majority of degrees of any worth still require an enormous amount of hard work, financial and personal commitment.

The differences between the spelling of words in the US and the UK is a constant source of amusement to me. We use the spelling 'relevance' here rather than 'relavance' as used above and, one assumes, by the educated elite of the UK.:}

19th Apr 2009, 01:40
Frau Professor Dr Dr Dr (her surname appeared here).

I can't quite match that, but I do have a niece by marriage who is indeed a
Frau Professor Dr Dr [just the two], although I have never seen her trade under that title. To be fair, she is a very bright and industrious girl, and both of her doctorates are genuine research degrees, one from Germany and one from the USA; neither is of the standard issue that flatters the holder without demanding the sacrifice.

Rich Lee
19th Apr 2009, 02:59
FPD2 or FPD3? Impressive! I would imagine you would need the big box of crayons to get one of those. I reminded of the film Young Doctor Frankenstein (or was it Frankenstien?) for some strange reason.

19th Apr 2009, 12:32
So let all the hordes of history of art, media studies, and similar self-indulgent non-vocational newbie graduates take their paper certificates and find jobs (if they can), where they can't do any harm. The jobs that they do end up in are quite likely to have no relevance whatsoever to the subjects they chose to study.
That's basically what I see happening e.g. a lot end up in Marketing, or Human Resources, but some also end up in Management, and I have a problem with that, particularly with people who get MBAs without underlying technical skills. I've had bad experiences with managers of technical people who, themselves, have few technical skills. You can also see this in the current financial crisis e.g. "rocket scientists" create highly-technical financial products, which ended up in the hands of "money managers" without an understanding of how to use them.

A few years ago I was looking at various options for further education, before I decided on the track I described above. I thought an MBA might be something to consider later, so I took the GMAT (http://www.mba.com/mba/thegmat), and scored pretty well. My scores were automatically submitted to various institutions, and I got a bunch of emails from business schools around the world, saying "come on down" to Singapore or whatever: if I could afford it, which I couldn't. I contacted a local business school (the UCD Smurfit School (http://www.smurfitschool.ie/), one of the top-rated schools in Europe), and they said they would consider my application based on the scores and work experience, even though I did not have an undergraduate degree of any sort at the time. I chose not to apply, since I wanted to keep a technical focus in what I do, and would like to gain a more solid scientific foundation. The GMAT scores did help me get in to university, even though I'm not doing a Management track.

I'm not down on MBAs in general, and might do one later, but I think this says something about how much a degree actually means, when it comes down to it. I have a friend with an MBA, but he's also a chartered electrical engineer, which means he has the skills to do real technical management. He's only had the MBA a few years, but he's already the Americas project manager for the power generation company he works for - a growth industry if there ever was one. :ok:

19th Apr 2009, 14:39
There have been some interesting and thoughtful comments.

The old chestnut of 'uneducated' versus 'thick'. Just because you have a limited education should in no way infer that you are unintelligent. Some of the wealthiest individuals I have met have been Irish where, unfortunately, this distinction has been lost to many commentators throughout history!

Degrees have been devalued to a point where a second degree is now deemed de rigueur in many professions if you wish to develop and specialize to any extent.

The pass mark for degree subjects/modules is 40% (as was the case with professional exams in my day). Although 'merit' and 'distinction' grades are available for more able students, to only achieve a minimum pass percentage has always seemed bizarre to me. Especially when the CAA (JAA) insist on 70% pass in aviation subjects - and a 100% pass in some.

The argument with aviation always was that the 30% you don't know might kill you! What about the 60% an architect or engineer might not know!!! This is certainly the case with my MSc studies where the pass mark is 40% for each module (I'm aiming for marks more in line with the 'CAA standard' in order to get best value from the course by the way!).

In my own profession (away from flying) the standard of graduates coming through the 'system' leaves a LOT to be desired. Great emphasis on 'management' subjects, but little evidence in respect of the 'bread and butter' knowledge required in practice for the 15 or so years before the candidate will be required to use the management 'skills' acquired at University.



20th Apr 2009, 22:53
I work in an engineering company, at head office, where we have a number of people with doctor as their title, bl**dy useless the lot of them, tell them you have a back problem, broken leg, even the common cold, can't do a thing about it.:E

20th Apr 2009, 23:32
The argument with aviation always was that the 30% you don't know might kill you! What about the 60% an architect or engineer might not know!!!
My response to this kind of problem is: teamwork. In an effective team, the skills are complementary, and one person can spot things that another person misses. Something as crucial as safety should not ride on the back of one person alone, so even if one person has to sign off on safety, they should not be doing it all themselves.

One thing that's become clearer to me since I started studying is that there's a difference between knowing something and remembering it. I know stuff that I can't recall on demand, out of context, but it may come back to me in the right context, or I know where I can look it up. (Maybe it's age, but I am not a jukebox of facts.) Conversely; a bunch of remembered facts is not knowledge, and is even further away from wisdom.

If all goes well, I'll eventually be a structural engineer, one of the people architects turn to to make sure that their buildings don't fall down, and I'll be expected to sign off on their structural integrity. I'm actually sharing some Structures-related courses with Architecture students, but they're just not in to the Maths side, and I can't blame them. They don't have to deal with Calculus at all, something I envy them, but I don't envy the amount of drawing and model-making they have to do. :\

21st Apr 2009, 00:53
In my former life, I worked with a highly respected academic institution on the development of an MSc (Eng) programme for our most able engineers. The selection process was rigorous, and those who graduated from it were very highly regarded all round - and rightly so.

What it revealed, though, was the width of what counted as "BSc". Some knew their stuff very well, and some (frankly) hadn't a clue. We developed from that a list of which universities we regarded as "proper" and which we did not. It was brought home to me when I went to interview at one institution, and was told by the senior tutor that I'd know his candidates - they were the ones in suits. I remember thinking "never mind the quality, feel the width".

When I left the real world and went off to do an MA in Theology, I found out what academic effort means. The first degree some decades before was a breeze in comparison. I think I also annoyed the tutorial body when I told them afterwards that the MA had been "fun". Apparently, it wasn't meant to be - just to give me lots of "transferable skills".

I never did get round to doing an MBA, and don't regret that omission.

21st Apr 2009, 09:16

Your last post above reveals a considerable perception of the qualities required, but not always in evidence, of a really sound engineer.

I am now retired after more than 40 years with civil/structural consultants, but with your sharp insight and thoughtful attitudes, I would have been very pleased indeed to have had you working with me.

In my opinion any construction that you sign off in the future as structurally sound is likely to be exactly that, with those attributes. And I speak with personal experience - my signature is on the independent check certificates of a number of alarmingly high-profile structures, yet I still manage to sleep at night!

21st Apr 2009, 14:19
603DX: Jings! I am flattered, and I'm positive it would have been an honour to work with you and learn from your experience. It's nice to hear that I'm doing something right, since it doesn't happen often, especially on PPRuNe. This business about remembering vs. knowing is on my mind right now, with the final 2nd year exams almost upon me. :ok:

Now, back to our regularly-scheduled programming ... :E

21st Apr 2009, 14:28
Arthur, FFS!, there's nothing anyone can do for the common cold!!!!

21st Apr 2009, 14:52
Though I graduated at the age of 49, I hardly ever use anything I studied. The main benefits I got from earning that degree was having my brain stretched, learning a new way of thinking and most usefully, developing the ability to speed-read - scanning at up to 9oo words a minute & slowing to 350 for full comprehension. (If only it were possible to type at that speed!)

Being over sixty, one has certainly encountered ageism, but find that I remain in demand more as a result of my technical apprenticeship and the knowledge from a lifetime in aircraft maintenance rather than any credit arising from having a first degree.

P.S. goatface is perhaps, a suitable username for someone daring and daft enough to insult the admiral. ;)

21st Apr 2009, 21:31
Being over sixty, one has certainly encountered ageism

Oh great. I'm not there just yet, but it's on the horizon, and I'll have^Wwant to work until I'm physically incapable - tomorrow morning, say.

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is that I have been given the graduates - the FNGs, if you like. Degrees still warm from the printer and keen as mustard. To their alarm, they find themselves with me - someone with utter contempt for all software, hardware and meatware.

Unless I am obeying orders, their project will be formulated by me to give a palpable return on investment which will endear them to management (I don't tell the intake that). Once the aims have been discussed, that's it. Please give me an update when you have something. If there are any technical questions, please read, then ask.

Of course, I have access to their libraries so I know how they're getting along. It's always a delight to watch them slack off, then realise that they have to produce something, and really brainstorm, tirelessly. None of them has disappointed yet.

Sorry if I appear to have gone off-topic here, but it's not really. Deadlines exist in the real world, yes, but they're not the same as the deadline demands of University. At Uni, no-one rings you up at 0300 telling you to get out of bed. Everything's structured, you know a priori what you need to do to shine. In the real world no-one's going to share that sort of gen - how to stand out - it's rather like giving away winning Lottery numbers in advance.

That's the difference, really. If you'd worked those three years, you'd have three more years' experience of being an adult. Which is why, in the last intake, my first choice was someone who'd dropped out to work in the family business, working metal presses, because they were having a hard time.