Mistaking A Degree For An Education

That would be Bernard Warner.

Some folks pointed out that 33% is more than 28%, which prompted him to post the portion of the chart which he’d cropped out in his “educated” fashion.

33% versus 35% is lost in the noise; especially any public poll that asks suspicious gun owners to identify themselves as such, to random strangers on the phone.

But I’ll allow him the two points.

I don’t have a college degree; a specific conscious decision.* But I’ll put up my decades in telecom, and a pile of course certificates and diplomas a couple or three inches thick, against any social justice or journalism degree, and a large student debt.

I wonder if congressional offices call Warner for advice on policy and law, and drafting bills. Little ol’ “uneducated” me actually gets that. Because they know I’m smart and educated on that — and other — subjects. Not often, but it happens occasionally.

* I made that decision back in the ’90s. It came from three incidents while working at the late, not-so-great WorldCom.

I had an engineer in my POP doing turn-up testing on a new Nortel OC-48 system (a big deal ckba in the day). One day, myself, another tech, and this engineer were chatting in the office. Pay came up; when one of us techs said something about overtime, the engineer — a young kid fresh out of college — was astonished that we got overtime, because he didn’t.

I explained the difference between wage and salary. I had to explain, because he was clueless. He mentioned how much he was paid, and us lowly techs laughed; we made more.

Next up: The kid almost had a test ready to run: inject a T3 into an STS port, loop it at distant end, and run a bit error rate test. For acceptance, he needed a printout of the 72 hour test. But he couldn’t get the BERT set to talk to his printer. He asked me for help. I just looked at the comm port DIP switch settings, and set the BERT and printer to the same. Now it worked.

Finally: While the test was running he came back to the DSX panels where I was working, running T1 cross-connects. And then he asked me the most amazing question:

Which is faster, a T1 or a T3?

OK, some people wouldn’t know that; it was sorta specialized knowledge. But in the field we worked, that was extremely basic knowledge that anyone in that office should have known. Particularly if you’d gotten that fancy college degree to work in the field.

Who was more educated?

So; no degree, but make more money and know more about the field than degree boy. That’s when I decided stop working towards that electronic engineering degree.


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2A advocate, writer, firearms policy & law analyst, general observer of pre-apocalyptic American life.

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