Your degree isn’t a restriction

May 28, 2015 by Joshua
in Choosing/Decision-Making, Education, Models, Perception

“I’m stuck because I can’t find a job in pharmacology.”

“I don’t like law but what else can I do?”

“I wish I could get out of engineering.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people talk this way. People about to graduate looking for jobs and people in the workforce alike. Even people from elite universities. They believe you have to make a living in what they got their degree.

I felt that way once. When I was finishing my PhD in physics I thought I had to go into academia, industry, or finance, which is where most people with physics PhDs went.

If I hadn’t felt that way, this myopia—thinking more training gives you fewer choices—would baffle me.

People’s mental constraints make them like horses with blinders. Only blinders come off easily. Mental constraints are harder to remove. People think the world is just that way, that people won’t accept them in a field without a degree from it and that a degree from another field makes the connection worse.



I go to a lot of alumni events for science students trying to figure out where to work. It takes a while of listening and asking them to think differently for them to expand their horizons to see opportunity instead of restrictions. I like the feeling of expanding people’s horizons, but what’s happening in schools that results in their students in such mental jails?

I can see why a pharmacology company would only want people with advanced degrees in certain subjects, but that doesn’t mean the people with those degrees should only work at those companies.

Nearly anyone is about six months away from being near the top of any field.

Your education isn’t a restriction.

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1 response to “Your degree isn’t a restriction

  1. Pingback: Your past isn’t a restriction - Joshua Spodek

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