False Goalposts – Cedar Sanderson

*Dave Pascoe — aka number 3 son by adoption — seems to be trying to write the world (it’s a family thing) so Cedar is pitching in, and he’ll run later this week.  He’s not dead.  He’s looking after a baby.  Which ties in with this essay too.*

False Goalposts       – Cedar Sanderson

I recently wrote a post about motherhood. In it, I detailed the ways mothers are expected to leave their children from birth, go out into the world, and have a career. What I didn’t get into was the ways that is a false goalpost. Remember the old Peanuts cartoon, where Charlie would run at the ball, and at the last second Lucy would whip it away, and he would wind up on the ground, seeing stars and wondering what had happened? This is what a lot of young women are wondering.

Things started out so well. They were going to graduate from Highschool, as Homecoming Queen, natch, and have a prom of the ages, and then trip lightly off to college on a path of rosepetals. After school, they would land their dream job, and somewhere in there would be the perfect 2.1 children, boy and girl (no one ever talks about that poor 0.1 child…) who would themselves be sweetly brilliant…

We all know where this is going. The reality that includes drunken sex, parties at college until the GPA dips too low to keep going, or the parent falling ill and the child dropping out of school to care for them, or… I know a lot of these young people, trying to get through school on their second try. Heck, I am one, I just left a lot more time between my first and second try.

Whoa! Where did the ball go?

So, we have established that not all young women will make it through college. A high percentage of those young women will drop out of school because they are pregnant, either before or after having the baby. Pregnancy isn’t all glows and happy baby kicks in the belly. It is a huge job, of carrying a growing being that is consuming all your energy, nutrients, and then there is the wash of pregnancy hormones that turn a woman into someone she may not recognize. Not to mention the issues that can crop up near the end of pregnancy. I had four happy healthy pregnancies, and one of those where I was on bedrest for two weeks with very high blood pressure. Things happen. Do young women figure this into their plans? No.

Let’s say she manages to avoid all this and keep going through school, get a degree before baby. Now she has a bachelor’s in… something. Let’s make it Liberal Arts, for a catch-all degree. Our girl bounces down the commencement aisle to get her piece of paper, all smiles and sunshine in her cap and gown. Wipe away that tear, and think about what’s coming next for her.

Kids these days think that’s it. Get a degree, get a career. I remember working in an office, talking to a coworker, who was still in shock over having graduated the year before with his fresh history degree. He wound up in the office doing customer service work, and barely able to pay his loans. He was working seven days a week just to make ends meet, and his fiancé was working, too. They didn’t know when they could get married – not soon – or start a family. Buying a house? Out of the question. And yet, both of them had their pieces of paper that were supposed to be the keys to illustrious careers.

Whoops! There goes that ball again.

So now our girl has that piece of paper. She also has a baby now. Where does she find work? Well, in the motherhood essay I talked about the woman who was expected to do it all: have a career, have a family, so off she went, leaving her baby in the care of minimum-wage daycare workers. Guess what, that’s where our girl is, working in the daycare. This is the illustrious career she worked so hard for. Of course, having her own children in the daycare she works at costs her almost as much as she is making. Gas for commuting takes the rest of her pay. But she can’t give up her career for her family, that would be admitting defeat. My parents told me at some point they sat down and crunched the numbers when my sisters and I were young. For my mother to go back to work would actually cost the family. Oh, not a lot, and for most it would be breaking even, not a loss. But this girl never looks that close at the budget, she just drags home exhausted every night, to pizza or something unidentifiable in the slow-cooker.

Where the heck is that ball?

Girls are promised in school that they can be doctors, and lawyers, and… So they can. Nothing wrong with shooting for the moon. The difficulties come when they are reaching for false goalposts, and not re-evaluating when circumstances change. Motherhood is not a penalty, it is a score, but it’s not without consequences. A new life, a tiny daughter… what is our girl going to say to her, when she gets old enough to start running up the field toward the goalposts? Shoot for the score, but when life knocks you down, get up and dust yourself off. Recognize that the goalposts might be false, and it’s ok to have goals that are smaller, or less socially acceptable to the world around you. And above all, it’s dangerous out there, take a friend. He’s called a husband, and he’s meant to be your partner, confidante, and supporter. Don’t undermine him, and he can help you score all the goals.

Charlie Brown could never thump Lucy for being such a pill about the ball, nice boys don’t hit girls. But I’m not a boy, and I can look at her, and walk away. Time to play my own game.

114 responses to “False Goalposts – Cedar Sanderson

  1. Soul-sucking psychic vampire that he is, it isn’t entirely Wee Dave’s fault. The KiltedFamily (two outta three ain’t bad) is transitioning from a month in Georgia (the state) to almost the same time in Colorado. I’m nearly done with the post that will run TBD, it’s just been … lots. Lots of the lots.

  2. Digression because of the day:

    “Let all that belong to great men remember th’ old wives’ tradition, to be like the lions i’ th’ Tower on Candlemas Day, to mourn if the sun shine for fear of the pitiful remainder of winter to come.” —John Webster, The White Devil, V.vi.261-4

    And how the lions became groundhogs, we may never know.

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Charlie Brown couldn’t hit Lucy but he should of stopped trying to kick that football. [Wink]

    • Charlie Brown should have, just once, run up and kicked Lucy as hard as ever he could.

      • Would have been good for her.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          It’s a Psychotic Break, Charlie Brown!

          • Lucy is the nastiest Peanuts character.

            • Linus really got her a time of two, though. My sincere hope is that Charlie Brown has the sense to NOT get involved with Lucy.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                What an idea. What would the Peanuts characters be like when they grow up? Lucy a Democratic Politician? [Very Big Evil Grin]

                • She does have a hairstyle like Feinstein and Pelosi…

                  I’m going to go wash my mouth with bleach now. Can’t believe I willing said those two swine’s names….

                • Linus is a pastor at a mainline denomination

                • MAD Magazine did a piece on that once, tracing the lives of the Peanuts characters from ages 19 to 65. Lucy eventually married Charlie Brown and led him a dog’s life, whilst still unsuccessfully trying to have an affair with Schroeder. In the final strip we see Charlie Brown, now retired, reminiscing about his childhood as he looks through the boxes of his old possessions in the attic. In the last panel, he wonders when Lucy’s bridge game will be over, so that she will finally unlock the attic and let him out.

              • I think Mad Magazine did a parody back in the 70’s where the Peanuts characters were all grown up and Charlie married Lucy who was a total witch, and was trying to get Shcroeder to fool around with her. It was hilarious, but I bet Charlie Schulz was not happy with it……

          • But his last name wasn’t brow– Never mind.

      • Patrick Chester

        …except Charlie, being a Cosmic Chew Toy, would have found that Lucy was trained in aikido. So he’d go flying anyway.

        The Universe Hates You, Charlie Brown!

  4. On the goalposts thing, it’s been very useful to me to have someone explicitly point out how the math works at an impressionable age. In my case, it was an older brother who married young, and when they started to have kids, she stopped working. He mentioned, offhandedly, that they ran the numbers and calculated that it would cost more to have them both working because of childcare costs. I was a newly-minted teenager, and family finances were not something I’d had to consider. Having that math stated to me in simple terms made me realize that the “goal” of having both adults working is not always (if ever) the ideal.

  5. A big part of this mess, which I have mentioned before, is the con that a college degree has become. A Bachelor’s degree, even if it seems to be required for any job with any prospects (much less good ones) isn’t actually a qualification to do anything but get a Master’s. And, outside of the sciences and engineering, a Master’s Degree qualifies you, principally, to get a Doctorate.

    And the kinds of nonsense that one can”study” at college beggars belief. That poor schmuck in the Occupy protests who owed 35K on a Master’s in Puppetry was only doing what the system told him to do; whatever he wanted to do, get a college degree in it first. That college is fantastically ill-suited to teaching some things, puppetry very much included, is something you would be hard put to get a college administrator to admit.

    I am, more and more, convinced that the growing drumbeat of official outrage at “For Profit” colleges is an attempt to distract the Great unwashed from the demonstrable fact that thousands of young people are being sucked into the Academic Industrial Complex and saddled with crushing debt in order for places the Traditional Colleges to meet payroll.

    If you are college age, and thinking about going, for Gods’ sake have a plan. I knew a young fellow a few years back who was majoring in Political Science with a minor in Arabic Languages. The combination would probably send me creaming into the woods, but he seemed to like it, and you have to admit that he’ll have no trouble finding work.

    If you don’t know what you want to study, you can be pretty sure nobody will pay you to do whatever it is. Get a job flipping burgers. If you turn up for work on time and fairly sanitary on a regular basis the corporation will probably try to make you a manager. That’s what happened to a young lady of my acquaintance some years back; she was working fast for to save up for her next semester of college, intending to quit and study full time when she had a next egg large enough. And every time she did this, she would get put on Management Trainee track and would have to break it, gently, to her boss that she wasn’t going to stick around.

    And whatever you do; check to make sure that those goalposts you see in the distance aren’t a con. Puppet boy, as I have remarked before, should have hitched to LA and gotten a job running coffee for jim Henson Studios. He may be a dolt, but the academics who sold him that Master’s Degree are crooks.

    • I am very glad that when one of mine decided on a career, they found themselves surrounded by advisers in that same profession, who did much to explain what works and what doesn’t. It was also heartening to hear a potential employer to say to contact him after college.

      I’ve also seriously mentioned a fall-back in case life happens, a flare for a trade that will make good money and could eventually turn into their own business, all without a college degree. I don’t think that’s been considered enough. Not because of stars in their eyes, but because it’s so easy to them they consider it almost trivial.

      • Son wants to be a pharmacist. Yay! He can hook me up with the good stuff once he gets out of college.

        But in the mean time – he’s looking at starting a business delivering firewood… to campgrounds like the local Corps of Engineers ones that don’t have campground stores where the people can buy it. Local gas stations have bags, but it’s usually not great wood. (Usually pine, often still pretty green.)

        There’s apparently a lot of retirees that are full-timers, and the idea of a young, strong back delivering a few days worth of firewood direct to the campsite might make him some money.

        So between his college aspirations and his ‘I really need a job’ desires, he may well end up doing pretty well for himself.

        • He should be aware that it’s a long haul, and not cheap. Our older daughter just graduated Pharmacy school last year. Thanks to scholarships, jobs, and our help, she’d finished her undergraduate degree with no debt. We told her that with her younger sister about to start college (and the much higher tuition) the most we could do was to handle her living expenses during the school year – she was going to need to cover her tuition and books.

          She took out student loans for her tuition. After the first year, she managed to get a paying internship – nearly full time during the summers, about half-time during the academic year. She lived frugally and put everything she could towards minimizing her loans. And graduated owing ~$150K – which was well below the median loan amount for her classmates, who either didn’t work or had more expensive tastes.

          She’s got a good job now (same place she interned – they knew her work). But she’s going to be paying >$1500/month for the next ten years. She still thinks it was worthwhile. But that’s a *lot* of money.

    • Heard on the radio last week or the week before that the first two years of college results in an education equivalent to a high school diploma twenty years ago. Turning that around, our education system is turning loose on the world the equivalent of 15 year old adolescents, telling them they are adults and qualified to make adult decisions. Is it any wonder we have kids deciding they should get a masters in puppetry?

    • “And every time she did this, she would get put on Management Trainee track and would have to break it, gently, to her boss that she wasn’t going to stick around.”

      Honestly, I would delay my college return for another semester or two, get that management job, and have that on my resume. It’s amazing what a management position does for your job prospects. And it’s kind of annoying that I don’t have that on my resume because of a very thoughtful GM. He agreed that I belonged in management, but of the three times I applied, one had a better applicant, one had a weird schedule that he didn’t want to stick me in, and one was right at the time my husband got knee surgery and he thought I’d be needed home. On the other hand, that was at Borders, so it’s probably just as well that I didn’t stick there in the long run.

    • A batchelor’s degree is the only assurance that your employer has that you can read, write and add 2+2 (unless you are in math. Math profs cannot add). They can no longer legally actually test for this stuff and a high school diploma no longer guarentees it.

    • I must point out that college-the-first-time, where my major was arguably useless, I had a practical year on the Puppet Team, which experience has been invaluable to me in a career I fell into. Performing for children ain’t easy, folks, but it’s a whole lot of fun (note, I’m not defending the feckless young fellow, I’m standing up for puppetry! LOL)

      • I don’t think he was feckless, though that seems to be how people take it. I think he was a nice young man who accepted what he was told, and wanted to be a puppeteer. Why not? Is it any sillier than Barista? Especially if it’s what you want to do? Where he went wrong is in trusting his teachers,who told him (probably from kindergarden on) that the Right Way to prepare for ANY craft was to get a college degree in it.

        He did what the education system told him to do and the system screwed him so that some talent-proof workshy bum of a Professor could keep his teaching position.

        • If there’s one thing that fellow has, it’s Feck. He’s so full of Feck he’s absoluetly Feckful. If there was a Feck competition, he would win, and likely accept the award with his puppets, just because his Feck is so awesome.

          He’s… The Most Feckful Man In The World.

          • He should name one of his puppets Feck, and write a book about how he used to be Feck-less, but not any more.

          • Is it an Odd thing to not like that series of beer commercials? I often finish that line in the commercial thusly:

            Radio: He’s…

            Me: … the most PRETENTIOUS man in the world.

    • Perhaps he should have hitched to LA and got a job running the coffee as you suggest anyway… probably would have done him better than sitting on Occupy and he should, at least have spoken the language of his employers, and might have gotten him the job he was complaining about not getting. Especially if he was actually good a puppetry.

      • That’s the question I had. After all this education in Puppetry, was he actually capable of being Entertaining? Or was he merely useful as an SJW in holding up the giant Paper Mache’ Bush puppet.

        • Eh, he could at least have tried to get work in the production department at Jim Henson… he certainly wasn’t getting any closer to a job by joining the Occupy movement.

  6. In short, life happened. Things don’t go as planned, or if they do, is seldom how we think it will be. And you deal with it. The only question is how rose tinted those glasses are to start with.

    • Jewish Proverb; If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

    • Yep – life happens. Better to have plans within plans, and backup plans for when those plans fall through. And even then…

      • That is of course one of the actual points those who argue women should get an education and a career before family do kind of have. Life happens. There are enough stories of older couples where the wife did stay home and keep home and raise the kids but then the husband maybe died without leaving much, or things fell apart between them and there was a divorce in which she didn’t get much, and then you had an older woman with not much of a chance of getting a job because she may have had no papers, or had a degree but very little or no work experience. Also ones of the two staying as a couple, but falling into a situation where he no longer earned well enough to support his family, and she had been a housewife long enough that her job prospects had become either non-existent or close to it.

        And the worse it can be the longer the marriage does last before things go wrong.

        So for a wife to depend on her husband’s income, especially for a long time, can be bit of a scary alternative even when otherwise for her to stay home would be the smarter alternative.

        But there have to be other ways to solve that problem, if we look at it as something society wide, besides trying to force all women to work all the time, including when their kids are small.

        • There are enough stories of older couples where the wife did stay home and keep home and raise the kids but then the husband maybe died without leaving much, or things fell apart between them and there was a divorce in which she didn’t get much, and then you had an older woman with not much of a chance of getting a job because she may have had no papers, or had a degree but very little or no work experience.

          I grew up on these stories; I know of one, in person. (And it is a pile of nasty cliches brought to life– guy cheated on her while they were engaged, and between the wedding and the honey moon, through some 15 years of marriage, with multiple women. And her family thinks she should’ve stuck with him for the money. She found out because he decided to cut costs by not using an accountant anymore, and she was doing the books, and a lot of money was disappearing into his business. She remarried very well and is now happy, for those wondering.)

          In contrast, quite literally half of the married couples I know who are about my age are involuntarily childless. All of them are women who go an education or at least five years of work before marriage. (Mostly military.)

          • I have heard of a few too. My aunt by marriage was an inveterate gossip, and loved to tell those ones when I visited her in her later years, after my uncle’s death when she lived alone.

            And her own marriage was not a good one, uncle was a hopeless alcoholic for most of his life. He did finally manage to quit but by then he was already close to 70. When their three sons were young he wasn’t exactly a good provider.

            But as said, there has to be better alternatives than trying to make all women have exactly similar careers as all men.

  7. Professor Badness

    Many of my friends have had both parents working, out of necessity. They have never liked the idea of their children being raised by someone else, and have striven to get to a place where at least one parent was at home, (sometimes it was the dad).
    And yes, its been hard, but lets face it, how many luxuries do you need? What can you honestly do without?
    My wife is a stay at home mom, (she’s disabled so doesn’t actually have a choice). So I’ve learned to cook from scratch, (Much as our lovely yet evil hostess has also mentioned).
    We don’t go into debt for cars, (or anything for that matter). The only payments I make are on my student loans.
    I guess my point is; what is your priority? Wealth and comfort? Job security? Family security?
    Or a lifetime of memories worth remembering?
    Kids won’t remember going without cable, (though they may complain at the time). They will remember time spent with parents.
    You want to make the world a better place? Start with your kids.

  8. I’m wondering if Lucy and the football is the right analogy; Lucy is an independent actor working specifically to thwart Charlie Brown.

    Instead, I’d use the kite-eating tree… an inanimate force which could be avoided with planning.

  9. Genes and memes, memes and genes. You should be passing both on to the next generation. Children raised by their parents get both. Children raised by government credentialed, regulated, and inspected “early childhood educators” may be getting a very different set of early memes – and that period is the most crucial for forming character. (Research has shown that the basic character traits are fixed by the age of three.) There’s a reason they keep pushing for more early childhood benefits, and the propaganda arm, er, I mean the media always show the career woman in a much better light than the stay-at-home mom.

    Oh, how this hits home. My own daughter was looking at colleges while texting her boyfriend this weekend… She’s a very smart girl, and I want to support her dreams, while trying to be realistic about goals. (The current debate is science vs/ engineering degree program. Art and theater are what you do in your spare time as a hobby.) *Opens bag of Red Wrigglers (the Cadillac of worms!), shakes it, and pours it out.* Then the older part of me, the one that grew up in what seems now like a different world (where girls were old maids at 21), wonders why I’m preparing to waste so much money. Because, like so many before her, she’ll probably go to college, find a guy, get married, and raise their kids (yay, grandkids!), never using the degree, assuming she even completes the courses. Just like her mother and grandmother and great-grandmother. Of course, I don’t worry about this sort of thing with my son. I’m just trying to point him at the armed service he’d fit best into.

    Bad male! Non-progressive! No cookie! Pain!
    (Is “non-progressive” semantically equivalent to “counter-revolutionary”?)

    • Non-progressive is not, YET, equivalent to counter-revolutionary. May it please the Gods, it never will be. At the moment it IS equivalent to “has a working brain”

    • I recommend a girl interested in the sciences or engineering to aim for it. But to also realize that she’ll probably need to work for another ten years to pay off any college loans, buy a house, be sure the marriage is solid, and the husband’s career well on track before she has kids.

      I had my kids a bit late, and it’s not a bad way to go.

      The other way, marry early, have kids and then start college when the kids go off to school has the advantage of avoiding the (probably) career ending break to be a full-time Mom or daycare decision. And the disadvantage of marrying while immature, financially insecure, just starting to work.

      I expect the internet age to change a lot of this. Between online college classes, telecommuting, and business start ups, a career gap can be well disguised, and classes taken while caring for a baby. Not that I’d recommend a heavy schedule, mind you.

    • Perhaps you should look at it as her going to college for her Mrs degree. Unfortunately it is no longer nearly as target rich an environment for her in STEM as it used to be.

      • Or majoring in bachelor studies. And you’re right, STEM is down to four or five to one instead of the old ten or twenty to one ratio. In liberal arts, women outnumber men about two to one these days. In some ways it’s a good thing (never discourage talented young people), but the question seems to be – are they pushing through girls for the sake of having more girls in the degree programs, or because there are more girls actually interested in STEM now? Which leads to questions of affirmative action hires at the firms later on, which leads to all sorts of problems in a feedback loop. “So, are you here because we needed a woman on staff so we don’t get sued, or are you actually good at this and really want to be doing it?” (See Germany’s recent decision to force corporate boards to have a certain percentage of women, and silicon valley’s current rather vocal PC prostrations before the great god Diversity. {All hail!}) Which brings us back around to individual justice vs/ social justice, the big question of the, um, forever?
        Of course, that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Probably carp. *ducks behind desk*

        • When I went, the school of engineering was about 500-1.

          There are reasons that I would not trust a female MD who graduated in the last 20 years. At least not without a stellar recomendation from someone I do trust.

          • I’m not saying your thesis is wrong for all schools. But I haven’t personally, seen evidence to support it.

            What I *have* seen is that my daughter’s Pharmacy school classes had close to a 2:1 female-to-male ratio. Many of them had made the same calculation she did: given the horrific hours young MD graduates work as interns and residents (and the erratic on-call hours thereafter for many specialties), Pharmacy was a solid, well-paying medical profession that had schedules more conducive to starting a family before their mid-30s.

            Not that it’s perfect, of course. But I noticed that many of her classmates either married during school or just after graduation. And a few have already started families. Knowing that your work hours almost never will exceed 40 hours a week, are typically scheduled weeks in advance, and (sometimes) can be scheduled so at least one parent is always home is a big plus.

            • Add-on: I have seen news stories pointing out that the slightly higher percentage of women now attending medical schools is really hurting the physician-to-patient ratio.

              Compared to their male colleagues, once past residency female physicians on average choose to work a reduced schedule (something like 70% of the hours, as I recall). Which means that since we are *already* graduating fewer physicians than needed for the “ideal” doctor-to-patient ratio, preferentially admitting female applicants to medical school may be bad policy. Since if all those seats were filled with male candidates it would effectively give 10-15% more physician/hours.

              Not that I’m advocating sex-based admission quotas. But actively promoting *more* female applicants (which many schools do) is counterproductive. Going back to a merit-based and gender-blind admissions process might be sensible.

              • Tye doctor shortage could probably be solved if we had certified any med schools in that last (what is it now?) 30 years or so….

                • True – though in just the last couple of years my daughter’s undergrad alma mater opened its own medical school (had been doing the first two years of a joint program with Big Local University, so may not have needed to be certified as “new”).

                  We could *really* use more nursing schools, too. We have considerably less than we did a generation ago. Are there any teaching hospitals left? (Mom worked her way to her RN in a teaching hospital. Long since gone.)

                  • Ah, but if we certified enough medical schools to actually meet the need, we would lower the doctors to the level of auto mechanics, which would be Really Terrible.

                    I hung around Johns Hopkins Homewood (undergrad) campus for five years (dropping out and then courting). In that time I met TWO pre-meds who I would have trusted with a stethoscope or a tongue depressor.

                    The rest were clearly not worth the oil it will take to fry them in Hell.

                  • I know at least one in my area. I take my son there. Doctors and nurses both learn there.

                • Under Obama, for complex reasons buried in you know what legislation, medschool SLOTS for existing medschools were cut in half. Trust me, I have a kid fighting to get in.

          • I graduated from UT Austin in 1979 in Mechanical Engineering, there were 128 graduates that spring for a BSME and only 3 or 4 were women.

        • *shrug* The women I knew in the engineering program were very much interested in science. I was in the program for a year and a half before I realized that it was actually counter to my personality—mind you, I could have successfully been an engineer, I had the GPA and the knowledge for it, but I wasn’t enjoying myself. My brother, on the other hand, is a rocket scientist and worked on the propulsion for the probe that’s reaching Pluto very soon.

    • I knew several girls in some of my engineering classes back in the day. One of the big advantages in engineering is it pay well enough that one person can still support a family (usually). So being in classes with engineering students makes it more likely to marry one who can then support the family with out her having to work away from home.

      Several of my coworkers wives are also engineers but more then half just stay home with the kids.

      Science is fun but takes a lot longer to be profitable and there is fewer positions out there.

      • One of the big advantages in engineering is it pay well enough that one person can still support a family (usually).

        Depends where you end up. Engineers out here (Silicon Valley) most emphatically cannot afford to support a family on one income, though to be fair, pretty much the entire bell curve save the very righmost tail is in the same boat.

        This is one of main reasons for the ongoing mass exodus of technical talent from CA; the sequence of [Land a good paying job -> find significant other -> realize you both have to work to maintain a household] inevitably leads to [look for somewhat-as-nice-paying-job elsewhere where it’s way cheaper to live].

    • Encourage her to get the science/engineering degree the cheapest she can. Now that I am raising little brat geniuses (they were, today, honestly) I really wish I remembered more of the calculus that I did take and took more than I did.
      Think of it as investing in her future home school mom career. Probably the best bang for the buck you’re going to get.

      • I’m starting to think the “Feb Flubs” are real– we were doing classwork until after three, here. Just being lazy! (Read off the body part names, pointed to them, started writing… and then started doing everything but. And tried to get me to do her math for her by doing lazy mistakes.)

  10. “no one ever talks about that poor 0.1 child…”
    Aaah, the poor, forgotten ten percent…

  11. Oh, those Horrible for-profit colleges! Not like the Simon-pure non-profit colleges like Harvard and Yale and those (gasp) State Colleges that have more administration and staff than professors and such!

    • With a for-profit you know what you are signing up for, you know what you are supposed to end up with, and I suspect you are less likely to get sandbagged by policy changes. (“You have 15 days to find an apartment because we’ve decided to close all fraternities” is not going to happen at a for-profit. It came close to happening at a few n-f-p’s this year and may yet happen.) There are some things you may miss, depending on your field, but if all you need/want is a basic BA and you have some self-discipline? For-profit may be just the thing.

      • No, you get that stuff from the “accrediting bodies”. After fifteen years practical experience, I started working on a masters in computer science through an online school my employer had partnered with. I was 9 hours short of completion when the accrediting board said the school wasn’t doing enough to ensure the professors were continuing their educations/researching/whatever. Never mind they were all part-time instructors with advanced degrees and full-time careers in the field…

        I can’t say it was a wasted effort, or that I couldn’t have transferred the credits elsewhere, but it was a kick in the teeth.

        • Ugh. That stinks.

          The others get hit with that too, just not as bad (since the POTUS appears out-to-terminate the for-profits). Flat State had to implement “capstone courses” and a battery of “outcome determination exams” in order to prove to the accreditors that students were learning, in ways that could be measured. Now how that works for the 7th-year seniors (full-time no less) or the guy that showed up every day at nine AM with the 44 oz mug full of Jim&Cola I have yet to hear.

        • I know some in both teaching and maintenance at one college that came within a hair of losing accreditation. Knowing of the shenanigans in administration, I was only surprised they kept it. And when the accreditation team interviewed them, what they said did not match the administration story at all.

          The sad thing is that had they lost accreditation, all of their programs would be suspect, when most of the issues were elsewhere, and the students would be holding the bag.

  12. This post brings a lot of, uh, weirdness to mind. I work in sales. It’s something that I’ve done a lot of over the years. The type of thing that Cedar is referring to is known as “selling the dream.” The thing is that, in certain circumstances it can actually produce the dream. In sales, as in college, you are told to follow the path and you can make your life better and your income grow. In both instances, it works for some.

    In sales, it’s all about PUSH PUSH PUSH make the sale and get the commission. Even when working in a consultative, no high pressure environment, you still have to be constantly calling, following up, sending reminders, whatever. It’s understood by any decent salesman that there is a LOT of work involved for both the monetary and non-monetary rewards. If you forget that, your sales manager (if he’s worth a damn) will be sure to remind you. And yes, there are non-monetary rewards as well. Seriously. Don’t believe me?

    Ladies, try this on your husband sometime: It’s called the affirmative close. It’s a good way to get agreement. (It occurs to me that I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to an awesome woman who lurks here. Maybe I shouldn’t be letting out my secrets. Oh, well.)

    The wrong thing to ask: “Hey honey, want to go out to dinner tonight?”

    Better thing to ask: “Hey honey, I was thinking about dinner out. Were you thinking Red Lobster or Carrabba’s?”

    The best way to ask: “Hey honey. I was thinking of doing dinner out tonight. What sounds good?”

    Thus endeth the lesson.

    The thing about a lot of college degrees in the here and now is that too many of them seem to focus on the extra benefits and not the ability to actually make a living. Take the guy who has a degree in puppeteering. That sounds like an awesome gig right? Seriously. Who wouldn’t want to play with puppets all day? But here’s a question: What does that pay? How many jobs are there in that field any way? What kind of odds exist for making that degree useful?

    It works similarly in other fields as well. It’s like the woman I saw on Facebook who swore she was being discriminated against because she had a Masters in Women’s Studies and a nine dollar an hour job. Sure, she got to go to school and whine her little Golden Hoo Hah off and tell everyone how bad she had it, but what form of employment did she think she was preparing for?

    • The best way to ask: “Hey honey. I was thinking of doing dinner out tonight. What sounds good?”

      Once when my wife did that, I said “Sardines and pork and beans.”

      Job availability beforehand is seldom discussed, which is why I am grateful of those unofficial advisers who told our’s there wasn’t much of a demand for that particular major, and ours had the good sense to change.

      • It’s sales. Nothing is 100% effective. It’s still the technique that works best.

        And yes, knowing what is available in a given field is key.

  13. My parents told me at some point they sat down and crunched the numbers when my sisters and I were young. For my mother to go back to work would actually cost the family.


    And I actually have 5 years experience in a rather well paying field….

  14. Two great evils have been done by our society.

    The first is that we’ve allowed college advisors to brazenly lie about the “value” of a college education. They have gotten away – with no consequences – with claiming that any college degree at all will pay back its costs.

    The second great evil – which doubles the evil of the first – is to convince college kids that they are entitled to a middle class lifestyle _while_ going to college.

    • Professor Badness


    • Wouodn’t you love to see some of the pricier and snootier colleges sued for fraud?

      • Been done a few years ago to law schools. The judges sided with the schools even though there was proof that they had cooked the books on their placement rates.

      • There is a reason I’m not assigned any students for advising.

        • Advise them anyway, okay? Best thing that happened for ninety of the hundred and two music students in my first semester freshman theory class: “There will only be jobs for ten percent of you in the field. Most of those will be part time, like church choir directors, or they will be public music school teachers. If you can picture yourself being content with any other career at all, do yourself a favor and change majors today.”
          It took two years to shake down to just twelve of us, but it happened. I’m probably the most dabbler-type of the remainders, but I messed my wrist up pretty badly along the way, and having a full ride scholarship at least I did little harm to myself by finishing the music degree I can’t well use very.

          • Most of the music majors I know give private lessons as a side job. One of them works for the local youth symphony as his primary job and gets paid opera gigs on an irregular basis (he’s a tenor married to a soprano and they are FABULOUS people, so sweet.)

          • Maybe you can answer this… or maybe they only told this to music ed majors… why are high school and junior high music programs always:

            Marching band
            concert band (basically an orchestra)
            jazz band

            I mean , is there some Professional Marching Band (in every city) i don’t know about? I’m pretty sure there aren’t quite enough orchestras and symphonies…

            • No . . . when you’re running a school music program, you need to get your students taught music in a mixed group. Given that you’ve got a bunch of students on different band instruments, you need to get them playing together somehow. And if you run a marching band you can have them perform at the football games. People like it. They like hearing the fight song and all, too, so your students get positive feedback.
              Concert band and orchestra are NOT the same thing at all. Band has no strings. Orchestra must have strings but does not need any other instruments. Concert band is marching band sitting in chairs and playing more classical style music.
              There are a fair number of amateur orchestras, bands, and choirs around. Both supply places for students who like music but don’t make a career out of it to continue.

              • High school music does not prepare one for professional music work, either. Private lessons can, but just playing in the high school ensemble does not. It’d be reasonable to think of it as an exposure course.

              • Sure, but so does the crummy cover band at Joe’s Bar, Grill, Tackle and Bait. More kids would be attracted to music education if they were playing music they actually listened to.

    • The third would be shifting so much of the education that is supposed to occur in high school, into college.

  15. Depending too much on college can have you end up like this poor young man:

    I have no idea what skill sets he has other than writing and doing video game walkthru videos (which he is excellent at). I’m suspecting there are other reasons he isn’t getting call-backs.

    • It can be as simple as “doesn’t present well.” I do really well if I can get to the interview stage, but I’m sure my resume needs a re-vamp, and the post-downsizing “help you get re-employed” organization group I “got” as part of being downsized was pretty useless. I sent them my resume, expecting to get concrete help, like perhaps the same information on a pretty new template, set up the way that’s current, and instead I got generic advice like “you should put everything in active voice.” That was the big help. “Put it in active voice.” Sorry, that’s nothing like actual help. Maybe sending me a modern template instead of the one I’ve been using since the 90s would be nice? (Funny, I didn’t end up with a new job after that. It’s hard to find a reliable PT job that only takes place once a week when there’s somebody else to watch the kids…)

      • P.S. I’m not annoyed because I didn’t get my resume re-done; I’m annoyed because this was supposed to be a huge extra for getting laid off with literally no notice, and instead it was a lazy half-assed low-bidder group that pretty much ignored me. It was a year before our finances normalized.

        • Yep – Major profit center growth industry in post-layoff “Outplacement” services, and as a huge plus the consumers are the companies doing the laying-off, not the poor RIF-ees attending the classes, so the classes can be crap and they don’t care.

  16. The thing is, young women were told for years they shoud want to have it all, by women who didn’t want half of it.

  17. HE’S A LIVE!!!!!

  18. I studied Women in college, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. 🙂

  19. This is much on my mind now, with a daughter graduating HS and one entering HS.