Your credentials are holding you back
Ican’t leave now. I don’t want to waste the $50 000 I paid for my master’s degree.” Susan mulled over her second-year experience at a large consulting firm. She didn’t feel passionate about her job, but she didn’t despise it, either. When I pressed further, she maintained a steely resolve: “I’ll be damned if I’m going to quit the job I spent my entire school life trying to get, at the firm all of my classmates wanted to break into.”
Perennially caught between the dream of pursuing her true passions and the responsibility of generating a direct return on her education, Susan once again decided to grin and bear her current role.
While conducting research for my book, Passion & Purpose, I met many talented young professionals who showed unlimited potential but found themselves handcuffed in low-impact, high-paying corporate jobs. The limiting factor? Credential overhang. Defined simply, it’s the perverse way in which our university schooling limits our career options rather than enhancing them. If you’re sceptical, consider these figures: 58% of millennials now have university degrees (compared with 36% of baby boomers), driving total student loan debt in the US past $1tr. As unemployment in the US continues to hover around 8% and average salaries for recent graduates remain stagnant, the unfortunate economic reality begins to take shape. We’re now literally unable to put our credentials to work.