How Much Is Your College Diploma Worth?

November 19, 2010

There is a lot of talk about today’s 65 being yesterday’s 45 and that does seem to be true.  They are certainly much more energetic and interested in so much more than they used to be.  These are the baby boomers and they lead very active lives and are still holding responsible jobs.  But now I look at another parallel.  Is today’s college diploma the equivalent of yesterday’s high school diploma?  It certainly seems to be.

I won’t say that a college diploma today brings a “yeah, so what?” attitude but it certainly doesn’t mean what it used to.  We have only to look at today’s college graduates to see that they aren’t well-educated.  They don’t know how to write a business letter or express their ideas with the written word.  They have gotten so lazy and so accustomed to the abbreviated form of communication in E-mails, IMs, and texting, that it spills over into their formal letters.

Right now the college graduates are still working for bosses who were trained the old-fashioned way.  They are still expected to know proper grammar and punctuation when writing a business letter.  Managers and supervisors still have to write memos, reports, letters, and E-mails that are written well enough to pass muster.

But the frightening thing is that maybe in twenty years, the people who are now learning sloppy writing habits in schools may be the future CEOs of companies.  If they are competing in this country, their expectations of job performance might be considerably lower but their expectations of their earning power will be considerably higher.  If they are competing in a global market, they might not be equipped to hold their own.

Today’s college graduates are writing things like “how r u?” instead of “how are you” and LOL to mean laughing out loud and ROLF to indicate they are rolling on the floor laughing.  They are also using emoticons to let the reader know that the writer is sad or smiling or using upper case letters to show they are angry.

For a very short while I started to write on these message boards in the same abbreviated, no brainer way until it started spilling over into my business letters.  Since my business depends largely on my communication skills, I couldn’t afford to get into sloppy writing habits so I went back to formal writing.  This did not sit well with my fellow posters who were still writing cuz for because and btw for by the way and prolly for probably.

One day, to make a point on a message board, I wrote that I was having difficulty reading a book because there were no emoticons to tell me if the author was expressing happiness or sadness or if I was supposed to laugh uproariously at what he had written.  I was chuckling as I was writing this.

My post was not well received because no one recognized the sarcasm for what it was.  In fact, they took me seriously.  My guess is that if I had used emoticons they might have laughed with me.  But since I didn’t, I’m sure to this day they are “prolly” thinking that even the Dick and Jane books are beyond me because they don’t have emoticons, although they might think that the pictures of Dick, Jane, and Spot could give me some kind of clue.

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