Get Your­self an Ed­u­ca­tion that also In­cludes the Facts of Life!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Jenna Gas­ton

As a child you grow up hear­ing your par­ents preach about the im­por­tance of man­ners and ed­u­ca­tion, the morals and ethics that will help you be­come suc­cess­ful in this life. Fe­males hear about the at­ti­tudes that de­ter­mine a good woman and we soak it all up, take it all in as if in­deed our dreams de­pended on other peo­ple’s im­pres­sions of who we re­ally are.

Then comes the wakeup call. You dis­cover three­quar­ters of all that cher­ished stuff never amounted to a hill of beans; that it had very lit­tle to do with real life; that, for the most part, peo­ple are too busy look­ing out for them­selves to care about you, ex­cept to gloat when you fall. There’s a name for that:

schaden­freude. Cyn­i­cal? Ed­u­ca­tion is with­out doubt life’s most im­por­tant tool. But many will tes­tify to the fact that ed­u­ca­tion is not an au­to­matic pass to the good life. Oh no. Sadly, many well-ed­u­cated in­di­vid­u­als, young women in par­tic­u­lar (which is not to say boys are not also vic­tim­ized), have learned a les­son not taught in class. And it is that far too of­ten what you do with the big boss man (or boss lady) is more im­por­tant than what you stud­ied and what you qual­i­fied for.

I some­times won­der why it seems the same group of peo­ple are al­ways the ones land­ing the plum jobs. What about the rest who are as qual­i­fied but re­main con­stantly un­em­ployed? Are em­ploy­ers more in­ter­ested in be­ing ser­viced than in the ser­vice that could lift their com­pa­nies’ profit lev­els?

In a job hunt, some ex­perts say that con­nec­tions are the most im­por­tant in­flu­ence in land­ing a job. With­out a per­sonal re­fer­ral to pass your ré­sumé along to a man­ager or some­one who can put in a good word for you, your chances of land­ing a job are sup­pos­edly nonex­is­tent. Let’s face it head on: it seems the only peo­ple get­ting jobs in Saint Lu­cia are the ones with the right con­nec­tions.

Then there’s this thing called nepo­tism. The word de­rives from the Latin nepos, mean­ing “nephew”. It would seem that un­less you have the right rel­a­tives, pro­fes­sion­ally qual­i­fied or not, your chances of land­ing a good job here are lim­ited. Should teach­ers be­gin warn­ing their stu­dents of such real life im­ped­i­ments? Should kids be taught that ed­u­ca­tion is fine but no guar­an­tee to a bet­ter life than their par­ents had? With the world chang­ing too fast for most eyes to keep up with, are we about to make ed­u­ca­tion val­ue­less? Then again, I’ve been as­sured that nepo­tism is as old as the hills and while ed­u­ca­tion can take you a long way, the not-so-vir­tu­ous have al­ways had a heads-up over job ap­pli­cants who are ready to bend over back­wards for what they de­serve!

Should our chil­dren be taught that ed­u­ca­tion is fine but no guar­an­tee to a bet­ter life than their par­ents had?

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