We Are Not Our Credentials

Our society loves credentials.

Where did you go to school? we ask. And graduate school - did you go there?

Let’s see that resume, potential employers say.

If you want to be an X, you have to do Y, the industry experts tell us. It’s awful, it’s lame, it doesn’t make sense, but it’s just the way it’s done, they say with a shrug.

There are boxes to check and dues to pay. Industry-speak to learn and thousands of dollars to fork over for a comma and a few letters behind our name.

In some cases, that’s needed: my BA in Cultural Anthropology doesn’t give me the skills I need to be a cardiothoracic surgeon.

But there’s a difference between required skills and status quo practices. “Just because it’s what everyone else did” is not a good enough reason to do something.

If we’re over the moon for all things accounting, by all means, let’s get the certificates, do the webinars. But blowing our wad and our time on that stuff to pad a resume and impress someone in HR is a terrific way to reinforce the status quo.

Our work is not to be a slave to the way things are. Our work is to move the world forward. And we have finite time to do that in.

Our credentials are not evidence of our worth. Our worth can’t be reduced to a fancy-pants resume and a jumble of consonants and vowels after our last name. And anyone who thinks they can be aren’t worth our finite time.

We are creatures of infinite possibility with finite time to realize it in. How we spend our time is one of the most powerful choices we have. We can choose to endorse the status quo. Or we can choose to make a new path forward that could, perhaps, move our world forward.

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