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A college degree

2015 February 19
by Bill

Recently (February of 2015) Howard Dean, M.D., the former Governor of Vermont, Democratic bomb-thrower and non-practicing physician, mocked the Governor of Wisconsin and Presidential candidate Scott Walker for the lack of a college degree. It seems that Mr. Walker left college in his senior year at Marquette to accept a job with the American Red Cross so that he could support his family. Dr. Dean never had that opportunity to make a quality decision, he came from Upper East Side (NYC) money and never wanted for a dime…(One wonders why the Dems selected the ever annoying Debbie Wasserman Schultz to head the DNC over Dr. Dean, I mean just how bad can this guy be?)…but I digress.

My older step-brother went to college. Mostly, I think, because it was the thing to do, and to meet girls. He graduated from a NY State Teachers college with an education degree and the qualification to teach up to, and including, third grade if memory serves. He went immediately after graduation to NY City and snagged a job with J.C. Penny in the automotive after-market equipment buying office. Shortly thereafter he was introduced to a great new product, joined that company, and rode that horse until retirement. He never taught one third-grader that I can remember, other than maybe his daughters.

Through a variety of uncontrolled circumstances I went to 13 schools in 12 years (no, I was not a discipline problem) so the last thing that I wanted to do was go to another one so I entered the work place, became a volunteer firefighter/EMT, joined the Army, and then the corporate world at the lowest levels (think mail room, but outside), and rose through the ranks using wit, hard work and life experience. I took a few college courses but life, kids, divorce and so on limited where and when I could go, so I didn’t. More on that in a bit.

My first wife is a nurse (and still a good friend). She graduated from a three year school where the students actually practiced their chosen vocation for 36 months straight before being granted their RN (Registered Nurse). By all that I know they were superior nurses to their competition who attended four year colleges, had summers off, and did not experience the wide range of medical presentations that the three-year nurses did. No matter. Once the BS RN’s took over nursing management the three-year schools were driven out of business and all of their graduates had to go and get their BS RN degrees in order to continue to work as RN’s. Ultimately she earned her Masters and her license as a Nurse Practitioner so that she could practice on her own without M.D. supervision (an interesting result of good lobbying) and has since retired.

Currently I am married to a beautiful, smart lady who has a business degree from a very good school and a degree in Physician Assistant (PA-C) from a better one. She can only practice however under a physician’s direction (a result of very poor lobbying). She is studying for her Doctorate in Naturalpathic Medicine (N.D.) but won’t be able to practice in our state! (That lobbying thing again.) She has established her own practice as a Certified Thermographer, Nutrition Counselor, and is only one of two Electronic Lymphatic drainage practitioners in our state. Busy lady. Hard charger. I’m very proud of her.

Both of these ladies have multiple degrees and I applaud them both. I believe that a degree is necessary for a number of professions; education, law, medicine, scientific research perhaps (although I can name a few who set high standards in science without one; Tesla, Jobs, Rife, Gates and Edison come to mind) and perhaps some others. The few Fine Arts majors that I know are looking for work. Starbucks are full of over-educated barristas. Degrees are all well and good, if you can afford them (let’s not go there right now), but what we need are welders and brick-layers, machine operators and carpenters, cooks and truck drivers. We can’t rely on illegal immigrants to do what we need to do for ourselves.

So, how did I do what I did? No secret, I drew the longer straw. I was fortunate enough to spend years 16-35 in a place filled with successful businessmen and veterans of WW2 who vicariously taught me things like work ethic, loyalty, and faith. Some recognized the talent in me that I did not see and gave me opportunities that were not available to anyone without that magic degree, and I did not disappoint. That experience that I built in the volunteer fire service (don’t knock it, most of the country is protected by these folks), and in the Army Reserve (again, that straw) parlayed into a job where I was working directly with the Surgeons General of all of our military, major military commands and bases all over the world and even to the White House where I was able to serve every Administration from Carter through Reagan, Bush (41), Clinton and Bush (42). I worked with the NFL, traveled all over the world and eventually started my own business that has enjoyed success for the past 20 years! It has been an amazing trip, and I’m not done yet. Sadly, I doubt that I could do all of this today. There are too many people like the arrogant Dr. Dean who demean those who don’t meet his lofty standards, and I doubt that he, or they, even get it.

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