Saturday, May 6, 2017

Things to do with a sociology degree

My step-daughter Hanna texted me this morning with the news that she'd just served Marc Emery a hot-dog. Apparently the plucky Persian had one of his food "trucks" towed to Queens Park today for the Global Marijuana March. Shrewd call, Hoonan!

Which is what brought Emery to the scene, logically enough. I told her to put a Wally-burger on the menu in honour of the original Prince of Pot, Wally Tucker. 

So Hanna is slinging hot-dogs with her soc degree. But that's not the only road open to a recent graduate. You could be an Uber driver. Many soc grads find meaningful work in retail.

Hey, the sky's the limit!

There's no such thing as too much education...

Personally, I found my sociology degree hardly held back my welding career at all. Sure, the other folks on the shop floor will view you with a degree of suspicion at first, but one thing sociology grads understand is how to blend in.

Hanna in Hoonan's food truck.

Me in Irving's shipyard.

There's always the option of more education, of course. Go for the graduate degree. Go all the way and get yourself a Doctor Phil. Your Uber clients will be massively impressed when you drop that tidbit. 

Even thirty years ago the job market was tight for soc grads. I remember a sessional at UGuelph wingeing about the lack of tenure-track opportunities back in the early eighties. He'd been on the sessional track with his Ph.D. for ten years at that point, and the problem has gotten exponentially worse since. He often expressed his regret at not having become a high-school teacher instead.

Which is not to say there are zero tenure track opportunities. Who gets a crack at them though is a mighty sketchy business. White males would be pretty much SOL. White females perhaps slightly less so. What's required, beyond a visible identity as a member of an oppressed subset of society, is an appetite for political correctitude and advanced ass-kissing skills.

Hanna has more people skills when she's sleep-walking than I could ever conjure on my best day, but I'm afraid she shares my skills deficit in the ass-kissing department.

But lets not forget that a university education isn't intended as job training. Unless you're in medicine or engineering, of course. It's about building character and building a network, don't ya know!

I shared many a pint with my various profs over the years in the interest of building a network. One of the folks I really liked was a guy named Ian Currie. He was a sessional, and if I recall correctly, he didn't even have a Doctor Phil to wave around, but he had a best-selling book out at the time which I suppose, in the eyes of the hiring committee, made up for that short-coming.

Alas, he took himself to his reward before my budding networking skills had a chance to fully blossom. 

And Hanna met some illustrious mentors whilst doing her degree at York, including a couple of folks I'd studied with thirty years before. The most illustrious by far was Mel Watkins. I didn't realize the old pinko was still alive till Hanna nonchalantly mentioned that he often walked her home after his evening class. Don't know if a letter of recommendation from Mel would still open many doors.

Whatever else he is or was, there's no getting around the fact that he's still a white male.

I've suggested to Hanna that she should consider a law degree. Sure, there's plenty of folks with those who are under-employed too, but Hanna has the smarts and people skills to stand out in the crowd.

She's all in if I pay for it.

Well kid, I've got a lovely batch of seedlings that I'm planning to put in just over the fence-line just as soon as I'm sure the danger of frost is over for good. The way Justin is going about his legalization gambit will ensure a healthy grey-market for ganja for years to come.

There's hope with dope, even when you have a sociology degree.

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