My grandfather is coming for the holidays to visit my family and I for a little while. It will be great to see him and I love listening to him tell funny stories and idioms since he is quite the tall tale teller. However, through my mom I have heard that he is confused and a little upset that I am not using my degree (I have a B.S. in Biology, currently working in a bakery and as a librarian) and that I am being 'wasteful'. This is not the first time I have heard this (although my parents are very supportive of my 'be happy with whatever I do' attitude to work) and is mostly from the older generation.
While yes, I would enjoy using my degree and if a job landed in my lap that was exactly what I wanted I probably wouldn't say no, I do not require a job in my field to be fulfilled and happy.
So to all the old people: Understand this.
1.) Learning of any type is never wasted. It is by definition the gaining of knowledge and a method of personal growth. Most of my generation does not use their degrees, there are various reasons for this, but rarely is our education 'wasted'. Although my degree is in Biology, I took a myriad of other 'Core' classwork and other types of classes in college. I took several business classes (I am now manager for a small business), English, Math, Journalism, Speech, PoliSci, all of which have made me a well rounded adult with skill sets that can adapt and change to suit whatever profession I find myself in.
2.) The world is not what it was in your day. The days of starting up the bottom and climbing up the corporate ladder no longer exist. Not that there isn't some upward movement in a company, its just today there is a lot more movement between companies to gain higher positions. Some say that our generation is not dedicated to the job enough, millennials who don't know what it is to do an honest days work, and although that may be true in some cases, on the flip side companies are less and less inclined to respect their employees and invest in their personal development and we are a generation that is likely to demand more from them (because of the aforementioned education).
3.) I am happy with what I do, I love what I do, and if it comes to the point where I don't, I have both the freedom and the passion to do pursue something else.