Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Monday, December 6, 2010

The credentialization of work: a rant

I know, I made up that word. But I'm irritated...

I have a lot of education under my belt. I have spent almost ten years of my adult life in an academic institution. I have an English degree and an M.Sc. in Health Information Science. I am a part of that generation that felt lied to about 'get a university degree, you'll get a job'.

I'm living in this small community that all but shuts down for the winter, and I can't find work. There is a smattering of jobs here and there with the local health authority and with some of the resorts, but I don't have my Foodsafe certification so I am not 'qualified' to handle food (I spent six years working at McDonald's in an era that predated such certifications, I'm pretty sure they invented Foodsafe). I can't get a job in any sort of health related office because I don't have my Medical Office Assistant certificate, or my Medical Terminology certificate.

I am not averse to retraining. In fact, just now I was poking around at Pharmacy Tech programs in BC. It seems there are two: Selkirk College in Castlegar (an online program) and Vancouver Community College. It would take about two years to complete.

Then I thought I'd look at what the colleges on the Island have to offer. Camosun no longer has Pharmacy Tech. Vancouver Island University (formerly Malaspina) has no such program. North Island College has the Medical Office Assistant (which requires Medical Terminology), but before you can get into that program you need the generic Office Assistant program.

I looked into the courses for this and it has things like Keyboarding (yawn), How to Use the Internet (are you kidding me?) and other things that I have long been adept with.

So what pisses me off is that there has become a standard in so many industries where you have to have a certain piece of paper that says you know how to do this Thing or that Thing. Even if you already know how, or are qualified to teach the course, the job requires the piece of paper. Is this something that happens everywhere? It seems rampant in British Columbia. I have already spent something like $70,000 on my post-secondary education and I'll be damned if I'm going to pay another $80 so I can serve food in a restaurant.

This is the reason that people like me get this excellent training and then don't work in our fields: I am very intelligent but I don't fit into any pigeon holes. I am also unwilling to pay more to get certification for things I know how to do.

It is so disheartening and demeaning to be in this position, to feel like I'm highly qualified to do things but not be able to find work. I'm sure lots of the places I've applied to around here haven't called me because I'm 'overqualified'.

1 comment:

  1. i totally agree and understand. it's stupid when you have a master's degree and you can't get a job doing X. It's just like that in Social Work. I've been thinking that if I do my PhD I'm going to have to get them to organize an UNDERGRAD level practicum with MCFD just so I can get a job after, even though I'll have my PhD!

    So stupid.

    I think, though, after looking at so many government jobs that we're in this position where we're in communities/regions that don't have "leadership" positions, but that our education means we are better suited to leadership/policy/bureaucratic jobs. Those postings usually say graduate something and x years experience. too bad they're all in victoria :( if there's any at all that is!

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