Thursday, July 06, 2006

The one year bug

A year into their job, aspirants seek to more qualifications to their resume to gain that "edge". Correspondence courses, distance learning courses are the ones they usually pick. Very few of them get completed. The one year bug afflicts everybody...

A year into their job, employees feel inadequate and decide to collect a post graduation degree or certification or diploma by hook or crook (or correspondence). After all, a job is a job is a job and one cannot expect a promotion within a few months, but for the new entrant, without a quick promotion the job seems dead end. And he tries to add "value" to his resume in an effort to search for a new job.

At this point many of the engineers who had "decided" to stay on in engineering as a career decide to "try for" CAT. For many of the MBAs, it is the time when they think if they should acquire a law degree or a CFA. Techies try to get themselves certified in as many courses as possible. In organizations where training is available, they try and attend as many trainings as possible and put it on their CVs. CAs think of acquiring a costing degree or a CFA degree.

Applications are sent to ICFAI, CS and other universities - which I think (based on anecdotal evidence) rank in decreasing order of the number of dropouts. The common theme is "Let me invest some money in this course, therefore I will study". The investment happens, but study doesn't.

As a nation, we have trivialised the value of a degree. We hire graduates (and find them, since there is a perennial paucity of jobs) for positions that require little or no intelligence. We hire post graduates, engineers and MBAs where any qualification, really, would do. Therefore, everybody is running after a degree, because there is simply no other option. If you dont have a degree you stand to lose out not only in the job market, but also in the marriage market, therefore collecting degrees is our hobby.

Alternate careers were a strict no-no until recently for various reasons (employment) and for various other reasons (low paying "other"jobs). Why, many of our best cricketers have engineering degrees.

The point being, a qualification will only take you so far. Without a degree your resume wont even earn you an interview invite. There are universitites and institutions cashing in on this "apparent" need and laughing all the way to the banks. They attract a huge number of fee paying students on whom their investment is just a few printed notes and they wont even complete the course. A random survey around you of those who have completed one year at work will tell you that they are "disillusioned" and are looking for ways and means to enhance their value in the job market by adding one more qualification to their resume. The hypothetical situation they are trying to address is that, "If there are two perfectly matched resumes on which the employer has to shortlist, he will shortlist mine because I have one more qualification." Believe me, such a situation will never arise. If it does arise and you have an interviewer who decides to employ you based on such a situation, you are better off not joining that place.

Once you are in a job, in many places the education qualification doesnt matter it is only your performance in the job. (what goes unsaid is the fact that degrees matter atleast a little - a good degree is never forgotten.) So, when the first year bug bites, just let it pass. The additional value of every incremental degree or certification is very low. It does nothing. At some point it can become a talking point with your interviewer, but really little else beyond that.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

many go for degrees and certifications not really becoz they want to but they are forced to..a feeling that you might be left behind without that extra edge..the same kind of instinct that makes you run after money !! a very few can get over it..

nkhl said...

Certifications like CFA does give an edge for certain jobs and gives a huge boost to confidence... I got a better job profile and better pay with level I CFA qualification compared to my collegues.....

Neelakantan said...

That depends on what your previous qualification was. If you already are a CA or an MBA, then one more degree will not make any difference.

At an entry level, perhaps yes, but once you are up and working, barely...