[rescue] Mainframe on eBay

velociraptor velociraptor at gmail.com
Wed Sep 21 07:30:07 CDT 2005

On 9/20/05, Lionel Peterson <lionel4287 at verizon.net> wrote:
> >From: Barry Keeney <barryk at chaoscon.com>
> >On Tue, 20 Sep 2005, velociraptor wrote:
> >> I just look at my paycheck when people (try) to make
> >> fun of my English degree.
> >
> >  Funny, most of the people I know with english degrees
> >cry when they look at their paychecks :^)
> Well, you should never confuse your major with your occupation -
> I have a humanities degree (essentially an English degree, but a
> little (electronic) music and (computer) art classes mixed in, and
> I never planned on "working" as a teacher or similar occupation...
> I just studied what I liked, then got a job in computers because
> the pay was so good (and I felt I had an aptitude).

I had major culture shock when I got to college, going from a school
of ~400 to a school of ~36K students.  So getting bad grades my
first semester scared the bejesus outta me and I ran for my aptitudes,
so-to-speak.  But I also liked that stuff better.

Later I started doing computer support in the campus computer lab,
and I recognized that it was interesting (always changing, oddball
problems).  I started my MA, thinking I was going to take my PhD
in English until I saw # of uni job openings vs # of graduating
English majors.  Teaching tech writing was one of the more lucrative
grad assistantships, so I got into that, and that just sort of led me
back to computers.

> I once had a college guidance counselor try and talk me out of an
> English degree - he said there was "nothing to do with one." I
> used my acquired skills to write a persuasive letter to the
> President of the college, and got him "b*tch-slapped" for his
> guidance... See, I found something to do with my degree ;^)

Nice.  I never had that problem, I stuck with the English faculty.

One of the best sys admins I know is a French Literature major.
He's now retired (low Cisco employee number), and does both
stand-up comedy and is sort of apprenticing to a master cabinet

A lot of the folks I know have either a) no degree or b) no degree
related to computers.  Most of the ones that did have a degree
in CS or similar started out as developers and migrated to SA.

> The things I got from my education were a critical eye and an
> effective way of writing - skills that have served me well in
> various fields...

And while my education didn't really teach me to teach, my
combination of experiences taught me that I had an aptitude
for helping people (clients, if you will) solve their own problems--
that whole teach a man to fish vs. give them a loaf of bread.

Unfortunately, it seems that people are less and less interested
in that approach these days.  "I don't care about how to do it,
just do it for me."  Mreh.  I think this is one of the key things that
is missing which has gotten me so irritated about IT of late.


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