A major point in Jim Collins’ bestselling book, Good to Great, goes as follows: “Good to great leaders began the transformation by first getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figuring out where to drive it.”
Makes sense. And I’m on board (pun intended). But what about all these college graduates that keep coming to us, wanting to get on the bus, but they took the wrong road to get here? I hear this complaint constantly at Oasis International Schools, where I help hire teachers willing to move overseas.
Inevitably in the interview process with new applicants, I ask, “So, what’s your degree?”
“Intercultural Studies,” they sometimes say … and I’m reduced to an interior monologue. Well this is just GREAT. Why didn’t someone along the college path, point this person in the right direction? Let’s say, oh I don’t know, maybe a degree that means a paycheck that’ll cover rent and the occasional burger?
Or maybe they say, “Sociology. I like people. And students are interesting.” Yeah. You’re perfect. I’ve got just the thing. Pack a notepad, get in the car, and go down to the mall. Record people’s strange and interesting behaviors while you enjoy a double-yogurt with sprinkles. Brainstorm ideas for interesting charts and grids.
Of course its cousin, Psychology, is wingin’ in there right alongside. (And the arts are usually up there, too.) Don’t get me wrong, if a student is going to continue on with degrees and become a doctor in the field or a professor, keep going! We need these people. Or at least I will if I have to explain why these kids are ill-equipped one more time … I seriously wonder how many times I’ve said, “I’m sure that was a very interesting field of study for you, but we run K-12 schools around the world so I need to see a degree in education, state certification, a Masters’ in your field, maybe?”
Here’s the rub: The degree matters if you’re buying the bus ticket and hoping to get on … some bus … going somewhere … you sort of want to go. So why are you standing at my bus stop, when you don’t know where it’s going or how you got here? Think about what you’re doing, and maybe consider Georgetown University’s recent list of “majors that have the highest unemployment rates”: Economics, Area Ethnics/Civilization Studies, History, Anthropology, Philosophy/Religious Studies, Information Systems, Art, Graphic Design, Film/Photography, Architecture.
Believe me, we want to see graduates like you with the right ticket, standing at the right bus stop, and ready for us to help lead you on the right path. But you’re gonna have to meet us halfway…