One of the hardest things an employer has to do these days is to find out who will turn out to be a good employee. College isn’t much of an indicator since people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell never graduated from college. Here’s a list of “100 Top Entrepreneurs Who Succeeded Without a College Degree.”
Companies like Microsoft, Career Builder, and Google no longer require a college degree.
My business partners and I do not require someone to have a college degree. In fact, many people who have a college degree are some of the hardest people to train. They confuse somebody else’s definition of “qualifications with competency.”
I have a friend who owns several car dealerships. He told me that he does not hire people who have worked in the car business. It’s easier to train people who have skills and gifts in other areas to be successful than to retrain people who have been in the car business for years. They often bring a “I know it all attitude” to the job.
Howard Dean’s claim that two-time Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is “unknowledgable” because he did not graduate from college has gotten people to ask the question about how valuable a college education is, and is it required for all professions.
So if a college education is not always an indicator of how well a particular person will do in a particular job, how does an employer know who to hire?
When Rowe heard Dean’s “unknowledgable” gaff by Dean, he had to say something. Rowe gained popularity for his “Dirty Jobs” show. Currently he is the host of CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It”:
“I don’t agree with Howard Dean — not at all…. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skills, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning. And I think that making elected office contingent on a college degree is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard.”
As I mentioned in a previous article, our current economic situation, past wars, environmental policies, and new healthcare laws were implemented by people with college degrees. President Obama has a college degree as well as a law degree. Here’s what billionaire Mark Cuban had to say about Obama’s desire to make the internet equitable for all: Net neutrality will “f— everything up.”
“Rowe shared an anecdote from early in his career. He described an audition he once had with the QVC shopping network in which he had to sell a pencil for eight minutes on camera. He explained the reason for the odd job interview:
QVC had a serious recruiting problem. Qualified candidates were applying in droves, but failing miserably on the air. Polished salespeople with proven track records were awkward on TV. Professional actors with extensive credits couldn’t be themselves on camera. And seasoned hosts who understood live television had no experience hawking products. So eventually, QVC hit the reset button. They stopped looking for “qualified” people, and started looking for anyone who could talk about a pencil for eight minutes.
I took the test last night and did quite well. It helped that I had some knowledge about how pencils are made, some experience in advertising as well as speaking experience, none of which anybody needed college to learn.
Take a look at the video “I, Pencil,” adapted from the 1958 essay by Leonard E. Read. It might help you if somebody ever asks you to talk about a pencil for eight minutes and sell it as a must-need item.