Rant: get with the program

Rant: get with the program

Summary: Time to start thinking about a few realities.


Yesterday I had to deal with one of the rougher decisions I've had to make this year: just how much am I prepared to spend to ensure that my son stays in university with the best chance of getting a good grade? You might ask why that is a rough decision given that some of my colleagues went through their early days not knowing where their next meal was coming from? You know who you are. Here's why.

Up until the late summer, my son was holding down a reasonable job that went alongside his studies. He was far from rich but getting by. Just. In recent weeks that job has become much less secure as demand for the business he works for has collapsed. He is in his final year at university so making a good grade will be the difference between being seen as a worthwhile post grad person and a so-so ran. It is the way of the world. Yet the business outlook is far from certain. 

As an arts student he needs the best kit he can get. I don't just mean a Mac Book (he has my last MacBook Pro cast off), we're talking inks, paints and paper. Those costs are not inconsequential. His tutors say his work is let down by the fact he is using medium grade 'stuff.' Yet in the UK there are no funds to help kids trying to get through their degree for this kind of material. I am sure there are many other 'trade' students in similar situations. Student loans are barely enough to keep body and soul together let alone buy materials needed to complete studies. It's a seriously messed up system that will see him in years of debt after he gets whatever degree he achieves. 

I could easily say: 'Go get more work' except there isn't any. So as I sit back making out payments to try help him through I am really, really sad. 

For all the great technology we supposedly have at our fingertips it seems that as a nation - in my case UK - we're incapable of providing the basics to encourage those who will come next. Regardless of trade or profession, that's a dangerous situation. 

So I say to you Mr Banker, Mr Telco, Mr Food Retailer...Mr....shame on you for putting short term, quarterly proft in front of safeguarding the future of your long term business and the generations of those who have to follow. 

Never have I seen such a poor outlook for those who will follow in my footsteps. It's heartbreaking. 

If it wasn't for the fact ZDNet is a 'family friendly friendly' title I would be much, much harsher. Those who know me on Twitter and Facebook know what I mean. 

Rant over. 

Topic: Social Enterprise

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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  • I can't imagine

    Can't imagine what it's like to be (or have) a student this far into the 21st century. I don't see a future much anywhere unless you're able to join the banksters in ripping off the country, along with other countries until it all collapses. But the sheer material cost of classes can be crippling on any budget. Paper, ink, and pencils were never cheap, but today, they're insanely priced with no outlet for any bargains to be found. Good luck, I wish you both well.
  • Unfortunately, Arts Will Never Pay As Well As STEM

    Was your son not smart enough to do a science/tech/engineering/maths/computing degree? That would offer much better (and more lucrative) job prospects than arts.

    We never see economic predictions saying the world is in danger of running out of arts graduates.
    • Global workforce negates that

      Except that if you're an engineering grad, you're more likely to make $10/hour than a living. Today's economic reality means that even though you live in Buffalo or Kansas City, you're wages are competing with 4 million guys named "Xi" in China who are paid $10/day for the same work. Therefore, follow your talents.