Publisher Penguin Random House says job applicants will no longer be required to have a university degree. The firm wants to have a more varied intake of staff and suggests there is no clear link between holding a degree and performance in a job.
The article does its best to suggest that the reasons are everything but the one many might suspect, that many colleges no longer add that much to someone's skills and that grades (another requirement employers are beginning to ignore) mean little. Reality has caught up with dumbing down and grade inflation/
What do you think? If you're planning to be a writer (or perhaps an editor at Penguin), does it make sense to go deep into debt to get that degree or to put some variety in your life, perhaps traveling and working at a variety of jobs, meeting a lot of different people in the process?
I would note that one of my jobs is a Penguin-like one, editing and laying out scientific texts. For that, I do need some formal education and the writers themselves needs lots of it, typical multiple PhDs.
I'd also add that knowing how to write well, with good grammar and clear sentences also matters. And I suspect that's a factor that helped Penguin change its mind. Colleges aren't teaching good writing as a matter of course, so why treat a degree as something that matters? Reading books about writing and and good writers will do anyone a lot of good, degree or not.
For a lot of writing, it's the experiences and wrestling with how to communicate them that matter. I'm now working my fourth book about my experiences working at a major children's hospital. My formal training for that job was almost nil—that of an EMT—but the experience has proved a rich source of understanding.
What do you think? Has your education helped your as a writer? Is the education you're getting now a benefit? Or would you benefit from spending more of your life outside classrooms?
--Michael W. Perry, author of My Nights with Leukemia