A Catholic perspective on the world and all the good things therein, especially books and food. Literature cum chocolate is the order of the day at The Crockery.

Location: A Collegetown, Undisclosed Location, United States

No longer a graduate student, Teresa is now a professional know-it-all.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Super-Depressing Quote of the Day

Are you ready for it?

Grad school generally makes you less employable, not more employable. For example, people who get a graduate degree in the humanities would have had a better chance of surviving the Titanic than getting a tenured teaching job.

- from Ten Questions with Penelope Trunk

All depressing quotes of the day aside, this article contains some interesting -if debatable- claims, such as this one:

Question: Is it more important to be competent or likable?

Answer: People would actually rather work with someone who is incompetent and likeable than competent and unlikable. [. . .]

So stop thinking you can skate by on your genius IQ because you can’t. You need emotional intelligence as well. This situation is so pronounced that there are special-education classrooms rife with kids who could read when they were three. Social skills matter as much as intelligence when it comes to long-term success, even for the geniuses.

I emphasized that last sentence because I think that's the sort of thing that really needs to be taught in graduate school (er, even though we apparently aren't supposed to waste our time getting graduate degrees), because -let's face it- we gifted-program people aren't always equally gifted when it comes to social interactions. There are plenty of very gifted people out there wondering why they aren't successful. This may be part of the answer.

- Hat tip to Michael Spencer at Boar's Head Tavern


Anonymous nanhuff said...

Well, I think that's someone's opinion and I wouldn't worry about it. Lots of people need better people skills. I think that in the business world, people skills count for a lot more than bare brains. But you're not in the business world, so poo on them.

1:39 PM  
Blogger La Mama Loca said...

I think she's correct that proficiency in academics has a very limited range of usefulness. It doesn't mean nothing, but it certainly doesn't mean as much as I thought it did in school.

8:41 PM  
Anonymous nanhuff said...

I agree with la mama loca, but for graduate students who are planning on being professors, intelligence and degrees are very important. In the world that I inhabit, I see there are many other traits that contribute to a successful life other than raw intelligence or good grades. Traits like diligence, persistence, willingness to put yourself out for others, as well as people skills. Of course, those traits are probably useful in the university too.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Teresa H.T. said...

Of course, those traits are probably useful in the university too.

Yep. I think sometimes people assume that if their research is good enough, they'll succeed, even if they behave badly. And to some extent, that may be true. But it's also true that people in academia want to have colleagues they can work with, and getting along with people is part of collegiality. I think that's something not all academics realize, though!

9:29 PM  

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