Thursday, May 3, 2012

in which my hair does not weather tempus fugit

You know, I'm awful dumb at times. In case you don't know me in real life (in which case we wouldn't be debating this), I'm going to tell you why: I've been giving between $500 and $700 bucks a month to the US department of Education for the past 10 years. At times, that $500 represented 3 weeks pay when I was trying to make a living lobstering in February, but I paid. That's 10 years of payments, plus postage. Turns out, I could have just stopped bathing and taken a crap on a cop car like everyone else. Don't I feel stupid.

 You know what pisses me off right now? My job is NOT in the field I was educated to work within. So when these shitstains with degrees in underwater basket weaving (with a minor in transgendered asian studies) whine that they can't get a job in their field after graduation, I say 'so fucking what?'

 I spent over $100,000 on my education to become a research scientist. I actually LIKE writing, and I got pretty good at talking 'bout chemical receptors, forced sex reversals (in fish. calm down!), and reproductive biology. I write technically, far, far better than I do creatively. I was told that I glowed like an expectant mother when I got to talk at a conference. But I'm here, now, 10 years later, a glorified floating gas station attendant because marine biology pays dick, and the US Department of Education doesn't accept dick as a form of payment. You adapt.
   Not like it was a bad decision, mind you. I love my job (some days). As a freshly-graduated, energetic young scientist, I enjoyed living in beautiful seaside communities, commuting to work on a motorcycle while wearing sandals (I was an idiot, then, too), and being the fonzie of Woods Hole, MA. I had a side job as a fisherman, so I had mad street cred with the other techs. But prestige doesn't come with medical or dental benefits.
     I don't suppose anyone ends up where they planned. Part of me is still the awkward fattish, long-haired shy young man who defined himself by his work so that he had something to talk about with strangers. Becoming a mariner coarsened me badly, and I am deeply attached to marine science still, as a hobby, but being knocked out of the ivory tower didn't rattle my screws loose- it smartened me up in a way that these OWS kids need, badly. Reality is hard, and their parents did them no favors in protecting them from it.
Me, age 17. 

Age 23, mid-blackout after speaking at a conference in Amsterdam, my 1st public speaking effort. I have no memory of this, but I do still have the hat.


HT said...

HHHEEEYYYY ! Whats up Fonz...

Anonymous said...

In most instances, a univeristy education is not a path to a career. It is for an education. If students want jobs when they leave school, the need to attend a trade school (or, after obtaining their university/college education, go to a trade school such as law or medical school). In a later post you referred to SUNY Maritime. Those guys (and gals) are learning a trade. How many of them will be unemployed six months after graduation?