I’ve been noticing lately that opportunities in the realm of work seem to need to be purchased. I’m not certain if this has been true for my lifetime as I hadn’t perceived this until recently. Perhaps it has to do with the rise of the accredited institution from which bursts forth a sea of certified experts in any niche imaginable. Perhaps it has to do with the general inflation of our cultural fearfulness regarding non-vetted personal choice and opinion. Whatever the source, I’ve observed recently that advertised work comes with requirements that are not as skills-based as they are blessed by institutions.

And institution blessings come at a price. One that is far too steep for many otherwise qualified workers.

I’m not speaking solely of monetary cost though that is a factor, but of the costs of time and loss of practical experience while attending a degree program. If every job out there from hotel concierge to retail store manager to commercial prep chef requires schooling rather than apprenticeship or life experience, what happens to those valuable hands and minds who can’t get past the robo recruiting screener? What will become of our increasingly polarized culture?

Yes, working one’s way through a program is unquestionably valuable but so is knowledge and experience gained outside the institution walls. This is especially true for those who do not excel within the types of structured learning environments that dominate.

Will you be the person to look at the resume of someone such as this when it’s stacked in the inbox with hundreds of others? Will you hire them based on your personal assessment rather than on the pseudo-guarantee of conferred by letters following a name? I hope so.

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