The Assembly Line, too Good for an MA in History.

Posted: August 20, 2013 in (Un)employment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

As a recently graduated student with an MA in history, I can’t be to picky when it comes to jobs. The book Finding a Job – for Dummies teached me that there is nothing worse than the arrogant student who wants to jump to the top of the ladder and demands a pile of cash from day one. I took this advise by heart and applied for a variety of jobs, including a job at an assembly line.

It seemed like a last-resort job. I thought, If I really can’t find anything else, I can always get this one. No skills or knowledge needed, just packing cookies. A job even a historian can handle! A few days later I received the reply: “After a thorough screening of your profile, we decided not to include you in our further selection procedure.” I wonder on what this screening is based. You don’t have to know anything at all. So is the selection based on age? I’m in my mid 20s! Or geographically? I live 7km from the factory! Could my degree actually hold me back in this case?

I never believed in the idea of being over-educated. Yes, I have some knowledge about the history/sociology/philosophy of science. Big deal. It doesn’t decrease my cookie-packing-skills! Pay me what the Highschool dropout makes next to me. I don’t mind. The only reason that I can imagine is their fear that I might leave the company soon and they will have to look for another employee. Fair enough.

Yesterday evening I talked with a friend about this situation. The ultimate question seemed: How many job opportunities have I gained and lost by getting this degree? The answer is a bit complicated. For example, The jobs in medium or higher administration will require a more thorough job interview and tests in which you’ll have to beat contenders. Being new in all this, I might be in a disadvanted position. Also, those jobs often require relevant working experience. My student jobs usually aren’t considered relevant experience. On the other hand, when I do get such a job, I’ll get paid better than the assembly line job. But unemployment is obviously still paid the worst of all…

Maybe I’m a bit too negative. At the moment I actually do have a job. Unfortunately it’s only for a very short period of time.

Anyway, getting rejected for an assembly line job, that’s an unexpected experience!


Charlie Chaplin and his clash with the modern factory.

  1. Whitney Rains says:

    I went for an interview at Starbucks and haven’t heard back. I caught myself thinking, “really? I can make coffee! I’m about to get my MA! I live on coffee.” The past few weeks have been eye opening to me. I thought getting an MA would help me get a job, I’m to the point of thinking that I should have just gotten a job after getting my BA. Where do we fit in, in an economy that value business and money over critical thinking and science? My program said they were preparing me to work, yet I have no real skills. I can read and write endlessly, but how does that help? Great post!

    • Philosiful says:

      After this Assembly Line-experience I decided to make a second CV. The first lists my education, including a bunch of certified certificates and there is a special section with “skills.” My second CV will just have the basic information about where I live and some previous jobs. Maybe I’ll write my name wrong…so they definitely know I’m dumb enough for the job :D.

      But seriously, it also depends on what university you’re studying at. I studied for one year in Poland (Cracow). Overthere I did 3 presentations, 2 group works and apparently every student (no matter what you study) has to do one or multiple English exams. At the end of their studies in, for example, history, they also have some skills. None of that during my many years in Belgium (just 1 presentation en 2 group works). I feel like my university let me down on this. Sure, they are all academics who don’t have to care about the live outside the walls of academia, but we the students do need some skills. And learning these skills don’t degrade the academic level of the education…

      I try to be open to possibilities. Lets buy 2 000 dollar house in Detroit!

  2. violetwisp says:

    I feel for you. I remember feeling the same when I graduated. It gets easier once you have a few jobs under your belt. 🙂

    • Philosiful says:

      I’m sure it does. At the moment I’m studying for a selection-exam at the local government. It’s actually quite interesting to read all these rules and laws. I don’t mind doing these kind of things in search for a job. But I can’t stand all this “marketing.” Getting a job is selling yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any moral problems with this. I just don’t like doing it 😀

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