Nowadays people and their so-called “conventional wisdom” say that in order to make a good living you must have a college education. While it’s true that you must have an advanced degree (medical, doctorate or an MBA) to work in some of the highest-paying fields, you can have a well-paying job with just on-the-job training. Most of us are taught at an early age to get a good education so that we can get a good job in our adult life: Our teachers, our counsellors, and our parents all have instilled these ideas into our brains. As a parent, I couldn’t think of any other lesson more valuable to teach a child, because after all, knowledge is power. But is theory right? Not necessarily, in this new era of global technology, many jobs don’t require candidates a high level of education.
In fact, there is an overwhelming majority of jobs that are based on the thesis of learning as you go, hands-on approach. In Mike Rose’s Blue-Collar Brilliance, one of the main arguments is that the majority of people associate intelligence with institutionalized education, whether it is a college degree, technical, or vocational certification. From my point of view, these assumptions are far from the truth. The reason why I agree with Rose’s view is that many jobs today don’t require any of the above, in fact, education does not guarantee a good job or high income, and sometimes what you learn in school can’t even be applied to our everyday life or job. Mr Rose’s article reflects that society in general often forgets one of the most essential types of intelligence: “the blue-collar intelligence” or better known as brilliant intelligence. He states this by narrating his mother’s mesmerizing abilities, and how she acquired them by working as a waitress at a coffee shop.
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“Rosie devised memory strategies so that she could remember who ordered what. And because she knew the average time it took to prepare different dishes, she could monitor an order that was taking too long at the service station”. Another person that Mr Rose talks about is his uncle Joe, a humble man that dropped out of school in the ninth grade. Despite the lack of formal education, Joe was able to advance through the ladder at his workplace, by showing his brilliance and excellent interpersonal skills. Joe worked for 33 years at General Motors, his tenure started in the assembly line and ended as a paint and body shop supervisor, Joe achieved this by being a good worker, adapting and showing interest in learning. These types of skills are not taught at any college, you obtain them through everyday interactions and experience.
Having a college education is basically just having a piece of paper (diploma) stating that you’ve met the requirements of the course in a particular area of study. It doesn’t prove that your people skills are better than someone else’s or that your brain is somehow better nurture for that matter. The author main focus is to establish that higher education does not mean being intelligent, although higher education provides us with knowledge, it does not give us intellect. I think we can all agree that one’s success is not measured by the degrees you hold, but by the person you are and the ability to learn, adapt and outperform. In conclusion, intelligence can be reflected in many ways, human beings learn in different environments, the determination to excel and grow into a better self can lead us to make the necessary arrangements to gain the desired knowledge. It doesn’t matter where it takes place: at an educational institution, at work, or by just engaging in a simple conversation with a person who knows about a subject. Learning can take place anywhere and at any time as long as we are full of desire to immerse into the giant world of knowledge.