Saturday, April 12, 2014

Random thoughts: That paper qualification

Was reading SMOL blog about success, and chat about graduate and non graduate. How many times have we heard parents say this: without a degree, how are u going to find a decent job and survive in Singapore? I heard my colleagues telling this to their charges numerous time.

My take: it's the economy that determines the quantity and quality of jobs, not the other way. If the economy is vibrant enough, even people without a diploma can find their footing and perhaps even do very well.

I attended a secondary friend wedding. My secondary school is a notorious school, according to a colleague who didn't know I came from
There, I didn't mind. It is true we had many gangsters there, the toilet was always lined up with smokers and once every fortnight, there will be a police car parked outside the school. I am very proud of my school, I love my 4 years there. Also, I think I am open to all people, I have no Pre-set mind on who are bad guys. In fact, I find ah bengs make great friends. Maybe I am beng myself? Haha!

Back to the dinner, there were many who just like me, went to university, and got a decent job, some became CFO, climbing the ladder successfully. Some, who stop after their O levels, are single parents who do haircut or make up for a living, some own their saloon, some are going to Paris to do make-up for models. Wow. Happening! Who needs a degree? Of course, there are also non glam jobs like hawkers selling carrot cake. But all Of us are happy catching up with one another. So, it's not gospel truth that u need a degree to survive. I am also highly aware that those learning to do haircut, make up, had a tough time during apprentice stage. They made very little and were bullied by their seniors while I and the other more academic inclined ones remained shield in the ivory tower of education and engage in intellectual exercises instead of learning how to engage the customers.

I can understand, nonetheless, why parents want their kids to believe its not possible to survive without a degree. One, it is not a bed of roses out there. Second, if u can climb the academic ladder, and become a doctor and / or lawyer or the likes, the last thing u need to worry is about your pay, although some unenlightened ones might have to worry about spending.

It is however, not a coincidence that those without hard knocks or being through rough patches tend to be yaya about their achievements, while many of my friends, are very restrained when they talk about their achievements.

In a highly competitive Singapore, we compare results, we benchmark against the best, while there is nothing wrong with these, there can be no end to comparison and knowing when comparison yield very little value is wisdom. Happiness is something that cannot be compared, when u compare if u are happier than someone else, u lost that tranquility and part of the happiness.

Pursuit paper, but academic excellence just mean u are taking a mainstream and proven path. It is well and good, but there is no need to be proud that u journey far in this path, I have more respect for those who taken the less traveled path, do u?

I told someone who is very disruptive in lesson and has no interest in study, that we study so that we stay in this safe path as long as possible until we are sure we want another path, or until we have difficulty staying in this main path. I ask, are u sure u want to go a less travelled route now? If not, u are pushing some of the track and they might get lost because of u. Think he woke up after that.

Now, it seems I have something against paper pursuit. Nope, I just make sure I am in a sector that place great emphasis on paper qualifications. Hahaha... Just kidding, I just go for a job that I always wanted, one that I find purposeful, and I am thankful that it turn out well.


  1. Society changes with time.

    In the past, qualifications make a lot of sense. Governments and big corporates were the main employers, and they look at paper qualifications as the easiest way to find good hires.

    No paper? Take risks and be an entrepreneur. Depends on how big the business becomes, may end up hiring the Grade A paper-qualified to do your accounts and paperwork. Lagi better, haa!!

    So paper gives a bit more certainty in income, but may lack upside or may not be what the individual is interested in doing.

    As a parent, would you prefer your kid to have more certainty or less certainty in earning a living? It will give you an idea whether you will ask the kid to pursue the paper and to what extent.

    On another note, glad that you are still in touch with your secondary school friends despite most of you moving on to different paths in your lives.

  2. Haha Henry,

    Honestly, I would like my son to be in the mainstream of education as long as possible, as it is the proven track.

    Nonetheless, if really my son is a goner in academic studies, I dun really think I will be in a state of denial.

    Most probably, I will ask him to get a skill ASAP, can be technical vocation skill, or soft skills like sales...

  3. hmm...

    I dun mind pursuit both, getting both, I have be happy.If not, I think I can live with it.

    hahahah ;P

  4. sillyinvestor,

    Ah! Connecting the dots back from this post, it now makes sense. I was wondering how you were able to understand people like me...

    I could be one of your secondary classmates ;)

    It's always interesting having a reunion amongst old friends and schools mates. Last year I met up with some primary school mates. Can't imagine that pretty little girl then now has a son 18 in NS already!?

    Then it struck me. If I married at 25 like her, I am her!

    I'm still 47 years young!

  5. HUh, SMOL,

    Why would I have difficulty understanding people like you? Because I am a graduate? Hey you are the discriminating one now wor... I think most people are like me la, siao siao, cannot trust people who cannot let their hair down and jokes, I guess the feelings are mutual, those ATAS scholars won't trust me too. See, Ying and Yang, the world is fair and unfair ;P

    Haha, Yes Forever young! I felt old physically though?