CREDENTIALISM

A friend posted a notice for this job on social media. To be clear, there's nothing remotely wrong with the job itself. It looks like a good one, in a good location, for a good organization, and likely at non-poverty compensation levels. By the time I reached the end – "Requirements" – I thought immediately of yesterday's post about online / for-profit universities peddling useless paper while Americans rack up billions in student loan debt. I'm not going to parse the entire job posting, but here are the major functions of the person who holds the position:

Primary Purpose: To enter and acknowledge gifts and accurately maintain data for Minnesota Orchestra donors, updating records in a timely manner according to standard business and accounting procedures.

MAJOR JOB FUNCTIONS
Gift Processing
· Enter gifts received by check, lockbox, telefunding, internet and other sources
· Ensure accurate and efficient entry of all gift and patron information
· Troubleshoot questions about gifts with appropriate fundraisers as they arise
· Review and balance gift entry totals against deposits and/or reports

Acknowledgement Processing
· Generate acknowledgements through database and mail merge for all gifts following internal business practices
· Edit, print and distribute letters to appropriate fundraisers for signature
· Maintain accurate tracking system to ensure all letters are mailed in timely manner

Communication (Internal/External)
· Generate daily email to department with lockbox and check details
Complete and send corporate matching forms
Follow up with patrons with expired, expiring or declined credit cards
Assist Manager of Development Operations and other staff as needed

Database Integrity
· Update donor information based on gift entry forms and other communications
· Update demographic information received in daily reports from Ruffalo Noel Levitz
· Research returned mail for current addresses and update database accordingly
· Other duties as assigned

Pretty basic, right?

The first requirement is "Four-year college degree."

Can anyone explain to me why a Bachelor's Degree is necessary to do any aspect of this job? No offense intended, but this is essentially a secretarial / data entry position. If you can work an Excel spreadsheet (as a lot of high school graduates or 2-year degree holders can no doubt do competently) there is nothing here that you can't do. Most of it amounts to data entry, sending emails, compiling summaries of data on donations, and so on. One of the stated primary responsibilities is mailing letters. And a four-year college degree is the first requirement listed.

We talk a lot about the problem of creeping credentialism – the insistence by employers that basically any position that does not involve french fries or a mop be restricted to college graduates – and this example belongs in the Hall of Fame. People are rational. Maybe not smart, wise, curious, or reasonable, but they are rational in that they respond to incentives. If you tell people that they can't get a job unless they raise two goats and a palm tree, the majority of people are going to respond by becoming impromptu goat / palm tenders.

By all means, apply. Looks like a decent job. What it doesn't look like is a job that requires a $100,000 degree to do competently. People will continue to throw money at diploma mills in direct proportion to the share of entry-level positions restricted to the most over-credentialed applicants.

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68 Responses to “CREDENTIALISM”

  1. The Jack of Hearts Says:

    I had that exact position years ago, but it was at a four-year university. I did not even have an AA degree at that time, just a good amount of secretarial experience. It paid well with good benefits (union) but was boring as hell and I only lasted six months.

  2. Leading Edge Boomer Says:

    I have a couple of friends in University Development, also a fundraising enterprise, and ongoing donor relations are everything. The ad mentions interactions with donors and potential donors, even though limited at the start. A certain level of "elementary sophistication" (for want of a better term) is required to handle those interactions. I have had employees with no college degrees, or just bad ones, who I would never want to be exposed to anyone outside of my organization.

    While some of Ed's rants are on-target, this one is just curmudgeonly for the sake of it. Sorry Ed, you're not qualified for a position dealing with people you want to take money from.

  3. The boring one Says:

    A relative of mine told me that at her current company, they advertised a secretarial position with the express requirement of having no four year college degree, because for anyone with a degree, the job would be, as Jack of Hearts said, boring as hell. And since their requirement was borne out of negative experiences in the past, the Minnesota Orchestra might very well be hurting themselves with their requirement.

  4. Earl Says:

    Leading Edge Boomer:

    If they want someone with a fine arts background who can discuss classical music, they should just say so. Though I'd bet a very nice dinner that they don't pay nearly enough to reasonably land such a person. Otherwise, not sounding like an idiot on the phone can be tested during a phone screen. Nothing about that job needs any degree.

  5. The boring one Says:

    Hm, Leading Edge Boomer and I report contradicting evidence. My example comes from the Netherlands; maybe their high-school graduates are more sophisticated.

    But apart from that, I'd say that requiring a college degree might still be unhelpful, in spite of LEB's example. After all, the Minnesota Orchestra don't have to hire everyone who applies, so they can just reject applicants whom they would not want to be exposed to anyone outside of their organization.

  6. The boring one Says:

    So what Earl said, but more long-winded.

  7. LK Says:

    Here in Israel, where formalities are just a thin veneer, there's a well-known (and well-documented) gap between the stated requirements and the actual requirements. If you see a job posting for an engineering position asking for 3~5 years of relevant experience, you can bet your paycheck that most applicants will have 1~2 years of relevant experience, some will have 3~5 years of completely irrelevant experience in a different field (but in roughly the same compass direction) and a few above-average-but-not-quite-exceptional recent graduates will also apply. and you can bet another paycheck that the HR department was aiming at exactly that mix of applicants when they crafted the requirements. Everyone thinks they are overqualified for their current position, that they can operate at least one level above their "formal" qualifications, and everyone adjusts for that when hiring or looking for a job.
    I won't be at all surprised if it turns out that none of the former occupants of the Minnesota Orchestra position had a four-year degree when they started, and that no one expects them to. This could easily be just a filter to get to those applicants who don't have a degree, but think they're a great fit for the job, and "I'll be as good as any four-year graduate doing this", which are sometimes the ones you really want.
    Skewed incentives, anyone?

  8. Caroline Says:

    Consider the professional American librarian – academic, public, K-12, etc. Most librarian gigs will require you have a degree from an ALA-accredited program. And that's the minimum. If you are going to be a K-12 librarian, you probably need a teaching license. If you work in an academic library, you are often expected to have an additional advanced degree, ideally in a subject related to the job (e.g., a Social Sciences Librarian may have a graduate degree in anthropology). And the pay is just okay. And sometimes it's downright depressing. This is especially the case in rural areas. But it can also suck in urban areas, as I've seen academic library jobs in places like New York or Chicago with salaries under $50,000.

    Tying in to the previous post about for-profit institutions, check out this job ad for American Public University. Granted, it's in West Virginia, so cost of living is low, but still…all this responsibility can be yours – for $36,000 a year!
    http://apus.jobs/charles-town-wv/academic-services-librarian/BEFFD0BED70442FFA2C7F70B3D50B9C4/job/

    Now, I'm not arguing that librarianship doesn't require specialized training. It does. And granted, the low pay of librarians is not news – many librarians knowingly accept the trade-off of getting to do something they love and not being compensated very well for it (like teachers). But given the crisis in funding for higher education, and the low pay of many librarian jobs, I don't see how it is sustainable or fair to insist people incur debt to earn a graduate degree in order to get a job that will not allow you to do more than merely service that debt. If you can actually find a job. I would advocate that librarians revert to the BLS as the baseline credential, and let the master's be an optional degree.

  9. HoosierPoli Says:

    LEB has the right end of the stick, I think. 30 percent of so of this country has a 4-year degree. The Minnesota Orchestra wants someone from that 30 percent. It's not about any job qualification, it's about getting the "right sort of person". You can put a happy face on it, as they did, or you could say that it's about needlessly shutting out 70 percent of the workforce due to class-based discrimination. Honestly, they're both right.

  10. mclaren Says:

    Seems clear that the requirement "four-year college degree" is a proxy for "white middle class person."

    As for being a "good job," seriously….you're kidding, right? Anyone with an actual 4-year degree would be so bored they'd be huffing the White-Out by week 2 and stapling their eyelids to their foreheads to stay awake by week 3.

    Moreover, I strongly suspect this is one of those unpaid internship "jobs." It'll give you life experience. And a resume point. And the opportunity to hobnob with rich donors. Just, not, you know…actual cash.

  11. carrstone Says:

    Why point your accusing finger at the employer?

    In the face of the frequency with which 'their' is confused with 'there', they may well be justified in recruiting clerical staff at graduate levels.

    And, frankly, even that may be a forlorn hope, given the excellence of our education system.

  12. job Says:

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  13. freeportguy Says:

    On the other hand, you will find PLENTY of organizations looking for someone with a four-year degree AND a baggage of experience for a compensation suited for someone who raised two goats and a palm tree…

  14. Xynzee Says:

    A friend of mine recently resigned from a gig that he effectively was given the opportunity to design around himself. He just happened to have the right talent, drive and was able to connect with right people at the right time. It's important to point out that he also did very good work and was competent and conscientious in the performance of his work, in other words he made the most of each opportunity.

    In his exit interview he kept reminding his boss that he made the role and grew into it. His boss wanted "someone just like him!" His boss wants someone who can hit the ground running. What they forget is that in order to attract someone with the ability to do that, then they're going to have to pay for it. Which of course they're unwilling to do.

    No one wants to invest in development of their staff any more.

    My gig I got with the equivalent of an AA—though I do have a 4yr and additional quals + experience. Since then it's evolved and increased responsibility.
    I'd still say that a 2yr degree with the right mix of other attributes—attitude, gumption, skills, wisdom, etc—is enough for my gig. Start the role back a bit, and give the person the chance to grow.

  15. Katydid Says:

    In my mid-20s, I had an "is that all there is" moment with my career field and took a job with a non-profit for slightly less than half of what I had been making, hoping to find job satisfaction. I learned many things that year, including the fact that non-profit status doesn't mean they're not raking in the dough–it's just the board that is compensated well, the workers are expected to live on a pittance. Another thing I learned is that non-profit status is granted for absolutely stupid reasons sometimes (this was a business started out of a church, hence non-profit even though they dealt with real estate). My boss kept reminding me that the only reason I got the job was because I had a master's degree (in a field not even slightly related to what the non-profit wanted me to do) and that I had "beat out" oodles of other applicants. That was no consolation when I was expected to put in 80-plus hour weeks at no extra compensation. The boss had never gone to college, and the tyrant of the office was a high school dropout, but they demanded all their employees have advanced degrees for a job that needed maybe a week's training for any average high schooler.

    I gave it a year, sat down and did the math, and realized they were paying me less than minimum wage and expecting diamond-level performance with no change in expectation on the horizon, and went back to my regular career. They were stunned that I left.

  16. Anonymous Prof Says:

    Actually, modern HS grads apparently *can't* handle those job requirements- hence the need for a 4-year degree.

    At my last school, I had a class full of freshmen, ALL of whom were pre-med, read a magazine article and write an analysis of it. Not a scientific journal article, mind you- a MAGAZINE article. About 70% of them failed the assignment because they couldn't tell me what point the writer was arguing. They were functionally illiterate. Favorite quote: "F?!? That's ridiculous! In high school, I would have gotten an A for this!"

    Now, I have a classroom full of science majors, who are nearly all seniors, and 2/3 of them failed an exam that asked them to copy formulas off of a cheat sheet and plug-and-chug them with a calculator.

    The reality is that if you took applicants from a lot of 4-year institutions, you would still have to do a lot of screening to find someone who could handle the job Ed described. I know with absolute certainty that most of my seniors simply can't handle it, because I've asked them to do similarly simple things for class, and they just can't do it. I can tell you right now that half the data they entered would be wrong, and some of it would go unentered because they would get distracted and wander off.

  17. Mike N. Says:

    There are very few jobs that require the education a college degree nets you. It gives you a chance to get better at certain basics, like writing, communicating, and problem-solving, but any good worker can learn that (more quickly and pragmatically) on the job.

    My feeling is that employers use college years like the NFL and NBA do: to winnow out some of the chaff that they'd never want and make hiring just slightly less risky.

  18. Hazy Davy Says:

    Writing my post before I read others, but I bet some say the same:

    College isn't about the field you study. The 4-year degree reflects a willingness to complete a goal, in which there are some challenges and setbacks, but to gamely stay with it.

    I think I would take issue if it asked for a specific degree (e.g., accounting). But it's asking for the degree, not the skills credential.

  19. Tom Says:

    On the other hand, they may already have an internal candidate for the job but their HR office requires them to post a job ad anyway.

    In these cases, they generally tailor the requirements to the specific person they plan on hiring/promoting/moving laterally.

  20. Tim H. Says:

    It's all about externalizing the training budget.

  21. c u n d gulag Says:

    Just to let everyone know, I still love this site, but I won't be commenting for a while.
    I have major reconstructive ankle surgery tomorrow, and will be in rehab for… Who knows. Weeks.

    I'm not taking my laptop or Nook with me, for fear that they'll walk before I do.
    Speaking of walking – I won't be for at least 3-4 months. And no driving for another 4-5+ months after that.

    Talk to ya after all of this.
    Keep up the great writing and commenting.
    I'll miss you all!

  22. J.D. Says:

    Credentialism is a problem, but it's not a problem caused by any individual employer.

    Imagine the Minnesota Orchestra doesn't require a four-year degree to be the person who interfaces with its donors, but every other fine art/music organization in Minnesota does. Potential employees then know that if they want to get into the art/music administration world, they better get a four-year degree if they're serious about it. After this cycle becomes established, the only people who are applying for such jobs who don't have a four-year degree are ones who either are doing it on a whim, or who don't have the dedication necessary to complete a four-year degree. Neither type is desirable from a hiring standpoint.

    So it's tough to blame the Minnesota Orchestra for requiring a four-year degree even though the skills gained have nothing to do with the job. If they don't do that, they'll be flooded with the least motivated, least dedicated applicants. Qualified applicants will be mixed in with those, of course, but it's tough to accurately discern intangible qualities like motivation and reliability during an interview process.

  23. Tim H. Says:

    cundgulag, good luck with the surgery and rehab!

  24. Herp Says:

    I was a 1099 employee for the business school of a prestigious higher learning organization (hint: it churned out some notorious wreckers and floppy-haired presidential candidates) for a year and a half. (Never mind that due to requiring me to work on-site, my being a 1099 for that long was technically illegal.) They strung me along for that long promising the job was temp-to-hire. Problem was, once they finally posted the position, I was told I was not qualified to apply for it because it required a four-year degree. Even though I had been doing the job for 18 months.

  25. Misterben Says:

    Lots of very reasonable explanations offered here for why the M.O. requires a 4-year degree for this position: it's about completing goals; people fresh out of high school are dumb; everybody else does it.

    I just take it as further demonstration of something we all know to be true: there isn't a competent HR department anywhere in America.

    A competent HR professional would know how to properly and clearly list required qualifications for a job, instead of just using "four-year degree" as a cop-out. A competent HR professional would know how to screen candidates over the phone to determine who showed the maturity and confidence to be called in for an interview. That same HR pro would know how to interview candidates from all sorts of backgrounds, to find the best candidate with the right mix of skills and personality for the job in question – again, not just relying on a college degree as a catch-all.

    But as we all know, most HR types are only good at reading generic interview questions from binders to candidates who went to the same sort of schools they did. They don't have any actual skills at finding or managing, you know, "human resources". So they use defaults and cop-outs, like blanket requirements for college degrees.

  26. paintedjaguar Says:

    "Dedication"? "Gamely stay with it"?

    I think what you guys meant to say was "Willingness to put up with large amounts of arbitrary and expensive BS in order to demonstrate compliant personality."

    Yep, that's what we need more of.

  27. BigHank53 Says:

    So they need someone to (a) write the thank-you letters (and tax receipts) to the donors, and (b) answer the basic questions that said donors will have.

    I'd look to hire someone with a year's worth of experience as a waitron in a sit-down restaurant, personally. I'd know they knew how to be polite to customers and answer the questions they know the answers to, and when to get help with a new question.

    Unfortunately, they'd probably be earning more money there than the orchestra could offer.

  28. Katydid Says:

    Gulag; take care of yourself and do the exercises they tell you to do; you'll get out quicker.

  29. Xynzee Says:

    @CU: glad to hear you're finally getting your leg fixed.
    Fwiw, I'll be praying for you.

  30. Tsotate Says:

    The requirement for a four year degree means that the employers know their potential employees have a high enough debt load to be desperate. They know full well that the job is mind-numbingly boring, but that the person with 100K in student loan debt can't afford to leave.

  31. Mo Says:

    pj – I had the same take as you did. Fuck being a good little worker bee.

    All apparatchiks are dedicated and gamely stay with it…right up until they get sent to the gulag themselves.

    Then they become informers and toadies.

  32. Brutus Says:

    I’m suspicious of job advertisements that list arbitrary qualifications and requirements that function as kludges for actually evaluating candidates. I’m suspicious of candidates who possess such credentials (or several) but still can’t function at the level expected of high schoolers 50 years ago. And I’m suspicious that a precise fit is needed in what appears to be a low-level clerical position that may nonetheless involve subtle interactions with high-income donors who are used to being gladhanded by development departments. The fact that all this occurs within the context of the Minnesota Orchestra, which recently (Jan. 2015) ended a 15-month lockout as labor and management struggled with each other, does not indicate to me that those in management fulfill their own job responsibilities with much professionalism.

  33. Skippper Says:

    Misterben stole all my good material. I blame HR. HR has no idea how to evaluate candidates. So they make up a laundry list of "requirements," many of which don't even make any sense.

    For example, they sometimes require you to have experience with a specific Windows-based word-processing system, despite the fact that anyone who is familiar with one such system can learn another in a couple of hours. But it's a way for them to separate resumes into piles.

    However, since resumes and cover letters are now read by computer, some tech-savvy people have found a way around it The systems looking at the resumes are searching for key words, and people have taken to including things like "I have no experience with Word 97, but am willing to learn." Once the computer sees "Word 97," you go into the "good" pile.

    The other side of this fiasco is that the idiotic requirement for a college degree is what leads people to pad resumes.

  34. Skippper Says:

    And just in case it has escaped anyone's attention, each and every GOP presidential candidate has a 4-year college degree,

  35. Freecookies Says:

    It's basically to reduce the number of resumes they have to look through. Nothing more than that, I'm guessing. Too much supply for the demand.

    And they know the economy is so bad, that there are enough recent graduates out there who will take anything at all, as long as it sounds plausible on the resume.

    I guess the people doing the hiring might relax their requirements when they feel they'll have trouble getting a college grad to do this type of work. But for that to happen either supply has to go down and kids have to stop going to college or better jobs have to be created for college grads to work at. My money is on supply going down first.

    Probably the fix that will happen all on its own, is that most of the higher ed system will shut down when the funding bubble pops and the stream of women's studies grads gets shut off overnight. It'll probably take another few years for the current oversupply of grads to work its way through what's left of the economy, and then you'll start seeing ads for positions like these with more reasonable requirements.

  36. maurinsky Says:

    As I have posted before, I got my BA this year, at age 45, because during the last recession I realized that if anything happened to my job, I would not get one in my area (Connecticut) without a degree. I had some classes I enjoyed and I learned some stuff, but it was mostly jumping through moderately expensive hoops so I could protect my future employment. I really buckled down when I applied for an office job at the Community College, a friend of mine who works there in a high level job recommended me, and my resume was put in the trash because I didn't have a degree – no one even read it past that point.

    In CT, even car dealer receptionists are preferred to have 4 year degrees.

  37. kent Says:

    Skipper: Scott Walker was thrown out of college before getting a degree. Not that he's much of a candidate at this point….

  38. Skippper Says:

    @ Kent

    I stand corrected. So a guy who wants to be president couldn't get a job as a data entry clerk. Fascinating.

    But, George Bush probably would have been tossed out of Yale if he hadn't been who he was. He also wouldn't have made it into Harvard Business School with his crappy grades from Yale — and he certainly wouldn't have survived, what with bugging out every Friday through Monday, while his classmates were working 26 hours a day on their case studies.

  39. Barry Says:

    Seconding katydid – do them for a long, long time, long after you think that you're healed.

    Take your Nook, at least. You'll want a lot of reading material (however, don't be surprised if you don't read much in the first few weeks).

  40. mojrim Says:

    Just another case of supply driving demand.

  41. Scout Says:

    " Tsotate Says:
    September 16th, 2015 at 9:35 am
    The requirement for a four year degree means that the employers know their potential employees have a high enough debt load to be desperate. They know full well that the job is mind-numbingly boring, but that the person with 100K in student loan debt can't afford to leave."

    Ding Ding Ding!!! We have a thread winner.

    As for the assertion made somewhere upthread that only non-college grads can't differentiate between there and their (not to mention your and you're) implying that college grads wouldn't… well, that's just ridiculous. I know PhD's who can't spell.

    Further, assuming the only non-degree people who might apply for this job are fresh out of high school is also taking a giant leap.

    I agree with Ed. This is not a position that requires a degree, just someone intelligent and mature.

    CU – good luck with the surgery and recovery.

  42. greatlaurel Says:

    @c u n d gulag Good Luck on your surgery and rehab! You should buy yourself a cheap smart track phone to take with you. I will miss your comments while you are gone. Take care and listen to the physical therapists. I have not had a bad experience with PT.

    Ed's post reminds me of something we saw on the local news last night. A threatening letter was sent causing a local school to cancel their homecoming activities which are a big deal in the small town where the school is located. The TV reporter was interviewing two HS girls about the threats. One girl stated that it could not be a student since none of them know how to write a letter! Not sure if she was trolling the reporter or serious, either way the young lady was hilarious. Major Kong may have seen this, too. Would be interested in his opinion.

  43. mothra Says:

    Cund Gulag:
    Take care and heal up fast, mmmkay? Hope all comes out well.

    And, yeah, do those exercises.

  44. Katydid Says:

    @GreatLaurel; neither of my kids (ages 23 and 20) can write in cursive except to sign their name, if that's what you mean by "write a letter".

  45. greatlaurel Says:

    @katydid The young lady the TV reporter interviewed stated that the threatening letter could not have come from a student at the high school as none of the high school students knew how to write a letter. My oldest kid was taught cursive, the youngest not(4 years apart in school and similar in ages to your kids), but they can still both write (the younger one does a type of print writing) and would be able to "write" a letter. I just thought it was hilarious the girl's statement was put on the air. I am leaning to the girl trolling the reporter, but she said it so deadpan and the other girl did not smirk at all, so she may have been serious.

    If the girls were not trolling the reporter, the situation to speaks the credentialism Ed wrote about. It might take a college degree now to know how to write thank you letters. Good grief, filling in bubbles on standardized tests is the most important thing in school now. Thank you, W, Ted Kennedy and Arne Duncan.

  46. mwing Says:

    Why require a 4- year degree for what's basically an accounts recveivable clerk/secretary job?
    Well, why not, if they know they can get it?
    Here in Boston, of course, it's even worse.
    I agree with the others who says it's mostly just about reducing the pile of resumes that you're actually going to read.

    In my most recent job search, I was put off by the number of job listings that asked for experience with specific software – as if learning a new accounting software program was like learning a foreign language, as opposed to something any competent accountant could mostly figure out in a day. Software is software, and its all pretty similar, and anyone in my line of work is expected to learn to use new software all the time, and EVERYONE KNOWS THIS. Including the people who are doing the hiring. But they still include, on the requirements list, specific software. I never could figure out why, whether it was to thin out the pile or what.
    Or maybe, some kind of weird cultural hangover from several decades ago, when "pink-collar" jobs were becoming computerized, and the

  47. mwing Says:

    …feeling was, the old ladies wouldn't be able to adapt. Or something.
    Bah humbug!

  48. c u n d gulag Says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the kind thoughts.

    And yeah, I'll do what they tell me to do.

    I have a bit of German blood in me, so some of me doesn't mind taking orders! ;-)

  49. Jack the Cold Warrior Says:

    c u n d gulag,

    Good luck with the surgery, understand what you are going thru, had ankle surgery in 88 and still have circulation problems with that foot… OTOH, I'm lucky the accident that caused the problem didn't kill me…

    Best of luck and we look forward to your return!

  50. Anonymous Prof Says:

    @ cundgulag- good luck and best wishes!

  51. SeaTea Says:

    Let's be honest. Most degrees really don't teach you much about the subject in which you get a degree. I had a 3.96 GPA at a top-10 University for Computer Sciences. I didn't learn crap about software engineering. What I demonstrated is that I can learn, and that I could hang in there year after year until I got my degree. And that is, really, what someone is saying when they ask for a 4-year degree. "I want someone with a demonstrated track record of being able to learn and also someone who has a demonstrated track record of finishing something that they started."

    Not that you need a degree to do data entry, or that a degree actually demonstrates anything of the sort. I'm just saying that it's seen as shorthand for a list of desirable characteristics that are hard to ascertain otherwise.

  52. chopper955 Says:

    We'll miss you c u n d. Get better soon.

  53. Mayya Says:

    A high school graduate would br bored with that job. Heck, so would a high school dropout. The only person who WOULDN'T be bored is someone who'd never had a job before, and thus found everything about working to be a novelty.

    C u n d gulag, wishing you a speedy recovery.

  54. Rich Says:

    This probably is an entry level job that could turn into something else later for a good candidate, where being a college grad might matter. But otherwise, it's laziness and supply/demand: jobs like these wouldn't have had educational requirements 50 years ago, but since the later boomer era (roughly the mid-70s), there have been too many college grads for the jobs that used to go them. Also, internal management training programs and the like began to disappear.

    My grandfather was an auditor and later a senior manager for a large city with second grade education and whatever he got while spending a couple years in an orphanage. Those days of of coming up through the system in politics or the private sector are long gone.

  55. Nunya Says:

    I wish I could debunk the myth that completing a 4 year degree shows that a person can "Buckle down and stick it out."

    In my experience, the kids that dropped out of college mostly did so for financial reasons. On the other hand, kids who were getting a free ride from mom and dad routinely took a semester off here or there to find themselves or switched majors multiple times and dropped any class that seemed like it might present a challenge to them.

    More and more, being a college graduate is just an indication of how much money your parents had. This is particularly true of those with advanced degrees.

    Ultimately, on the job training is required for any entry-level worker. Being an elite graduate may or may not make that process any quicker or more successful.

  56. okay, then Says:

    Ms. Caroline up there in comments hits the Library degree nail squarely on its head. As a 60 y.o. librarian holding a Master's degree, whose library was shut down due to supposed budgetary constraints, I've had two interviews in two years, neither for a library position.
    For me, there are no library jobs to be had, though my alma mater is still cranking out the M.L.I.S.s.
    In response to Ed's observation, requiring a candidate to have a four-year degree is just a way of winnowing out the applicants. In my experience, those jobs go to people that are already socially connected to the ones hiring. Eh.

  57. Bosh Says:

    Well the thing is look who the "BA required" filters out:
    -Old people.
    -People with poor parents.
    -People who had kids really young.
    -Really dumb people.
    -People who are incapable of sitting still and putting up with bullshit for four years.
    -People who can't follow simple instructions and show up on time for shit.
    -People with big dreams that don't require college education (singer for example).

    That's a pretty damn good set of filters for this sort of job if the person doing the hiring is sufficiently cynical.

  58. Katydid Says:

    @Nunya, I agree with you up to a point about who drops out and who stays the course. At a 4-year-college you might have that flakiness from kids whose parents pay the bills, but community college is another issue. I had two kids who took community college classes while in high school, and before the oldest got his driver's license, I did an awful lot of chair-warming in the lounge of the local cc. That gave me the opportunity to overhear the conversations of students who were likely footing the bill for their education themselves (classes are about $300/each per semester there). Broadly speaking, the older students (that is, the adults in their late 20s and up) who were likely either there for the first time or to retrain for a new career, seemed to spend their lounge time studying or writing papers on laptops. It was the 18-through-early 20s that wasted hours bragging to each other about skipping classes, whining about having to read 5-page short stories ("too long!"), complaining about being failed in classes simply for not showing up or doing any work ("a clear case of instructor bias!"), and appearing to have the attention span of a fruit fly. I wouldn't hire any of those types to work for me, and I doubt many of them bothered to complete a degree in anything.

  59. Sluggo Says:

    @ cu
    Get well soon!

  60. Templar Says:

    CUND, good luck with recovery and be patient with yourself. I'll be praying for you and hope to see you back soon.

  61. bb in GA Says:

    @katydid

    "I learned many things that year, including the fact that non-profit status doesn't mean they're not raking in the dough–it's just the board that is compensated well, the workers are expected to live on a pittance."

    I have some experience as a Board Member with small 501 (c) 3 charitable corps. And I have read the relevant IRS regs (though I'm not an expert)

    I don't mean to fence words with you, but because of the way the IRS runs 501 (c) 3s it is very unusual for Board Members to receive compensation of any amount other than expenses associated with attending BoD meetings. Less than 5% (if I remember correctly from the stats) of BoD members receive direct compensation.

    Now Officers of these corporations can and do receive sometimes outrageous compensation packages.

    The small ones I have worked with – nobody got any salaries – all volunteer.

    //bb

  62. Skepticalist Says:

    Good luck with your surgery CU.

    We'll be waiting to hear from you.

  63. Goblin Says:

    One thing to keep in mind with this job posting is where it is located.

    The Twin Cities Metro area is arguably the most educated metropolitan area in the country, located in arguably the most educated state in the country (we are functionally in a tie with Massachusetts for that honor).

    IIRC, roughly 70% of people looking for entry level jobs in the Twin Cities have 4 year degrees. Virtually every job application I've seen here requires a four year degree, unless they are hiring students. A friend of mine works at a coffee shop that requires a degree because they got tired of hiring students.

    More than likely, the thought process was this:

    "Hey, Sven, do you want to interview 19 year olds for this? No? Okay".

  64. Townsend Harris Says:

    @CU – It's often painful, but the physical therapists are our friends. Good luck and best wishes.

  65. Cat Lady Says:

    This is really not an entry level job. There is nothing weird about this job asking for a 4 year degree. Seriously.

    This was my last job (although it was with a different type of non-profit). I have shit tons of experience, a BA from a top university (public + free ride based on merit/financial status – so no, I'm not trying to justify some overpriced degree; it was free) and I can guarantee that non-profit development is tough. Many jobs simplify descriptions, especially when they come from non-profits (which pay fairly low, as I estimate this job does — I'm guessing it clocks in at about $11/hour, judging by the location). There is a reason this job asks for a college degree; it requires both math and writing skills that surpass those acquired in basic high school education. Does that mean that there aren't exceptional candidates without degrees that could do it? Of course not, as with *any* other job. [Surely there are many, many people that can handle teaching a bunch of teenagers how the US government works 2x a week, amirite?? And yet they require a PhD for that…]

    Sorry for all the butthurt but seriously, this is the first time I've ever read anything here and thought "this guy has no idea what he's talking about." I'm sure there are jobs that require unnecessary degrees (for the record, I was one of the first people they'd hired for this position *without* a masters degree, which I still find an excessive requirement and more in line with the example you're trying to make) But a basic BA plus experience? Makes complete sense here. I think you picked the wrong job description to make your point (which frankly makes me wonder about some of the other jobs where folks laugh about how stupid it is that they require a degree).
    [ok…rant over.]

  66. Cat Lady Says:

    And also… c u n d gulag, best wishes for fast healing. Hope to c u n d comments section again soon.

  67. Gross Says:

    This posting really brought out the classist degree-worshipping fucks.

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