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Why a College Degree Doesn’t Make You a Good Employee 

 

by Glenn Shepard
October 13,  2015
Category:  Careers

   



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Congratulations to the finalists for the 2015 Glenn Shepard Leadership Award:

Samuel Brightwell
Lockheed Martin
Lufkin, TX

Libby Campbell
West Texas Food Bank
Odessa, TX

Lori Gallenberg
AbbVie
North Chicago, IL

Winston Howard Jr.
Hamilton-Ryker
Covington, TN

Kyle Laramie
Veterans Care
Lake St. Louis, MO

Jammey Harroun
Associated Finishing
Mankato, MN

Tom Jurich
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY

Dan Morris
Advantage Controls
Muskogee, OK

Heather Robinson
Bloomington Chamber of Commerce
Bloomington, IN

Brian Sweatt
Lighthouse Christian School
Nashville, TN




     There’s no question that a college degree is a requirement for many jobs, as is having a high grade point average (GPA).

     But having a degree and a high GPA are often more helpful in getting a job than they are in succeeding at a job, even in positions that require advanced education.

     For example, imagine that you’re a brain surgeon.

     You hold a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from an Ivy League college, where you graduated at the top of your class. You hold a medical degree from another Ivy League college, where you also graduated at the top of your class. You are officially a brainiac.

     Now imagine that you’ve been working at the same hospital for 10 years. You’re applying for the position of Chief of Neurosurgery, and the hospital’s board of directors has narrowed its decision down to you and one other surgeon.

     The other surgeon’s resume is nearly identical to yours, with one small difference. She’s also been practicing surgery for 10 years, her track record in the operating room is the same as yours, and she went to the same college and med school as you. But she graduated sixth in her class as an undergraduate, and eighth in her class at med school.

     Think the board will choose you over her because you graduated higher in your class? If you do, think again. They might have chosen you over her if they were hiring you straight out of med school, because your academic record was more significant at the time. At that early stage in your career, it was the best indicator of how well you were likely to perform in the real word.

     But now that you have a 10 year track record at work, how well you performed as a student is far less important than how well you performed as an employee in the real world. Notice that I didn’t say, “How you performed as a surgeon”. You now have a 10 year track record of how well you performed as a surgeon inside the operating room, and as an employee outside the operating room.

    Even a perfect record in surgery won’t be enough to get you the position of department head. What you did outside the operating room for the last 10 years will now come into play.

    If the other candidate showed up on time every day, while you regularly called out sick and drug in late, your chances of winning the position over her are about as good as your chances of winning the lottery.

   Regardless of whether you’re a ditch digger or a brain surgeon, your work habits will have a TREMENDOUS impact on your success, and your income.

To Your Success,




P.S. For proof of how a reputation for being unreliable can derail your career, look at actress Lindsey Lohan. As www.TheRichest.com reported, she “Turns up to work whenever she wants”, which is why “No one in Hollywood wants to touch (her) with a ten foot pole”.


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