OPINION: Is it worth bothering with a degree?

PUBLISHED: 21:38 23 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:51 30 September 2018

UEA medical students during their graduation ceremony at Norwich City Football Club's ground. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

UEA medical students during their graduation ceremony at Norwich City Football Club's ground. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


Sharon Griffiths is aware of the many jobless graduates but there is a way to get where you want to go, she says

Have you got a job yet? If not, then there’s good news and bad news.

Summer is over. Leaves are falling. Time for new boots and bonfires.

Students have left for university and those who graduated a few months ago are settling in to their new careers. Whizz kids went straight into high-flying jobs on fantastic salaries. Others are starting on the lower rungs of likely-looking ladders.

Well, some of them are…

Quite a few are back at home, still kidding themselves it’s holiday time and hoping that a job might turn up – at graduate level, of course.

Well think again.

A report this month said that a quarter of graduates are over qualified for the jobs they’re doing. Many of their jobs could be done with someone with A levels or even a couple of GCSEs.

Depressing, isn’t it? All that time spent, all those essays written and all that debt incurred, for what?

Quite a lot actually.

Because here’s the good news: graduates who start work in jobs for which they’re over qualified tend, on the whole, not to stay there long. They’re bright and they’re educated and, providing they’ve got the work ethic and can read, write and add up (which, according to the same report, not all of them can) they’ll soon be racing ahead.

If you – or the new graduate in your family – didn’t get on to a whizzy graduate training scheme, then don’t panic.

Just let them get a job, any job and see what they make of it.

I can give you scores of examples – a friend’s son who helped out in a bike shop, and did their ordering as he understood the computer, then went to bigger bike shop to do that job officially and is now something terribly senior in purchasing for a Japanese car company. His degree, incidentally, was in music.

The barman who was offered a job by a wine merchant and now spends half his time visiting vineyards to sample the wares. Tough.

The waitress now a regional manager for a big hotel group, the call centre girl with a high flying career in insurance, the shop volunteer now running a cancer charity.

All of those, and many more, didn’t plan their careers. Their actual degrees were largely irrelevant but they took a job, any job and found the opportunities there and made the most of them.

Above all, they abandoned their high ideas about a “graduate” job and were prepared to work.

British universities turn out around half a million graduates every year. A degree is still likely to give you a higher salary – eventually, if you work at it.

Just find that first job…


The mystery of hotel cushions

Among the many mysteries of life that keep me awake when I’m staying in hotels are cushions.

Why so many? Why any ?

They’re piled high on the bed in strange formations.

I throw them out of the way and then trip over them in the middle of the night.

The chambermaid carefully replaces them next morning and so it goes on.

I’ve even tried leaving them outside the door in the corridor, but like bad pennies and old dogs, they inevitably make their way back again.

The record number was ten in a chi chi little hotel in the West Country. I think they might have been breeding like Star Trek tribbles. I grew nervous about going back to the room in case they would all tumble out of the door…

Many of the shortcomings in hotels are down to meanness or thoughtlessness – the kettle lead that’s too short, the hair dryer that doesn’t reach the mirror, the lights too dim to read by and the windows that don’t open. And why do so many double rooms have only one chair?

But someone must have thought about those cushions – thinking time that could have been better spent sorting out the light switches – and spent money on them having decided that was just what we needed.Well we don’t. Ditch the cushions. Get another chair. Sort out the lights, the leads and the windows. Your guests will thank you.

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