Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Please indicate your highest education level

I have issues. I mean, this is not news to anyone who knows me, but the issues that I’m talking about go beyond my normal insanity. As if garden-variety craziness isn’t enough.

We all occasionally participate in surveys or registrations where the organization with whom we are sharing information asks to collect demographic data. As a marketer, I totally get this. In fact, I have constructed surveys myself where I ask people the same questions. Age. Gender. Marital status. Stuff like that.

There’s one question, though, that trips me up: Education Level. Oh, it seems innocuous enough. There are lovely little categories that make it quite simple to state how far you’ve gone in academia.
  • Some high school High school degree / GED
  • Trade / Technical School
  • 2-year college degree
  • 4-year college degree
  • Graduate degree
  • PhD
I check “Graduate degree.” Which, you know, all things considered, is pretty good, right? I have a Master of Business Administration, jauntily referred to as an MBA. M and I worked our butts off for two stinkin’ years to earn our Masters. We likened it to being underwater, having to leave family parties early – if we could go at all – and turning down social invitations, tickets to Cardinals games and more. It was rough, to say the least, but we did it and we graduated with honors and we walked with our robes and our graduator hats (Zoe’s term) and our honor society ropes and now we can tack those three letters behind our names on our resumes.

And yet…something eats at me when I check that little “Graduate Degree” box. You wanna know what it is? It’s that the “Graduate Degree” box is not the highest box. There’s one after it. Ph-fucking-D.

Let me just say that the thought of returning to school makes my skin crawl right now. I barely have enough time to get the basics done, much less tack on a strenuous study program. But there it is. Mocking me. “You didn’t go all the way. There’s more. There’s one more step…”

I can’t figure out if it’s a Type A personality thing, or if it’s OCD (must. check. all. boxes.) or what. Or maybe it’s just that I know that I like to learn, and that it’s intriguing that there is more out there.

I don’t even know what I’d study. It sure as hell wouldn’t be business. Not that I regret the MBA at all. It gave me a lot of good stuff that I use in my career in Marketing & Communications. It even gave me a good foundation should I ever decide to change my career from Marcomm to artist (stop breathing in the paper bag, M…it wouldn’t be until after Zoe’s through college and I’m ready for my Second Career). But if I’m going to go back to school it’s going to be for something I love, for myself. Be that writing or photography or, preferably, some combination of the two. Can you get a PhD in that? I don’t even know. I do know a PhD is an awful lot of work, so I better love what I’m studying.

I guess until then, I’ll just have to suffer in silence every time I check the Graduate Degree box. Poor, educated me. (end sarcasm)


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