A guest post from our Agent Alex.
Let me start off by saying that if you're a reader of Captain Capitalism, you don't need me to tell you that the whole academic gig is a scam. Heck, you might have even realized it before you even stumbled upon his works. It's really not that hard to pick up on. You go to class, and it seems like the professor isn't even there. Chances are good that he's an adjunct, commuting between three different campuses a day and earning less than minimum wage, ruing the day he decided to waste seven years studying Medieval English Poetry. Say he's not one of the growing army of “professors” making burger flipping wages. Still, the lucky bum getting a living wage looks over the classroom and sees fifty to a hundred people who really don't care about what he has to say, and distract him from his need to publish or perish, or conduct far more interesting graduate seminars.
The first college I ever attended was one of those crappy for-profit degree mills they advertise on daytime television in between reruns of “Little House on the Prairie” and Judge Judy. The kind of school that a person who sells his plasma for money or needs a pay day loan goes to, or in my case a naive kid just wanting to get out of the boondocks and into the city. The first day of class, the English professor goes up to the podium, introduces himself and says “I am a playwright. Unfortunately, no one gets paid for being a playwright in Arizona, so I am paid to stand here and teach you how to write papers on books you'd rather not read. If you want to get your degree in computer programming or electronic engineering, you will listen, you will write, and you will get graded on it. Maybe you might use this later in your career, but most likely not. However, it's the hoop you have to jump through. Let's try to make this whole thing less painful for the both of us by just accepting that.” Of course my bad luck started when I found out I liked reading books and writing about it better than crunching C++ and Java, but the tale of how I became an academic ghostwriter, or as I prefer to call it; “a phantom of the Ivory Tower” is a story for another day.
The fact is, most professors don't give a shit. They're going through the motions just as much as the students are. So what does that mean for you? Well, unless you're a tradesman or one of the lucky guys who figured out it was going down the tubes before you had a family and all the financial obligations that it comes with, you're likely stuck in some sort of office job that requires certifications to climb one more rung up the side of the crab bucket. Certifications means taking classes. Taking classes means... you guessed it; jumping through hoops. Here's the thing. Jumping through those hoops takes time.
Say you're a systems administrator who wants the certs to add information system for business operations to your resume. Is it really worth your time to take those classes on business writing seriously, when it has nothing to do with what you're really aiming for? Take it from me. Even if you're good at writing papers, good enough to get paid to do it for others, it's still hellish to look out that window and realize you're trapped inside in front of a screen while the sun is shining outside. Life is finite. Go out, play with your kids, have a nice cigar, and go to the beach. Why waste that weekend agonizing over a paper that doesn't matter to you, doesn't matter to the person grading it, and is ultimately pointless to the world at large?
It's all pretty much a sign of the decline. Professors teaching things they don't care about to students who don't need it (and in the case of the aforementioned degree mill 2/3rds couldn't comprehend it), all so that... well... what, really? We're educated? Well, if you're smart, you do learn something, but it has nothing to do with the pointless lectures and time wasting papers. You learn that academic credentialism is nothing but a pyramid scheme inside a pipe dream. It's a demoralizing soul-crushing grind for everyone involved, in which money and time is extracted in return for meaningless pieces of paper, which, if you're smart enough to choose pieces of paper that serve as a marker of desirable skills, leads to future monetary returns. In better times, education used to be about enrichment of the mind and of the character.
It sure as hell ain't that anymore.
So why not let one of us phantoms do the heavy lifting for you along the way, hmmm?