All my myriads of readers (me manifesting) might note that I tend to have more than one blog on related topics, before I move on to the next topic. This is not because I can only focus on one topic at a time. On the contrary, my mind works overtime on all my millions of thoughts….racing….twirling….darting through my head continuously.
So essentially, I sit down to write a blog on a topic that had managed to stand out above the rest of the frenzied thoughts racing up there, and suddenly emerges a torrent of more related thoughts. Then my head is filled with complete pandemonium……which then results in what I shall refer to as ”the blog allot” Yep, the full blog has to be allotted to two different blogs…..you know, for easier reading….you know, something I seem to aspire to….but realise must fail at dismally, after now reading this paragraph back to myself!! Anyway…I present to you part one of a two parter.
So here I am, again, being…..contradictory…different….difficult….rebellious…..yawn…you get the idea? Of course, I write on MY experiences….in MY circles…..MY generation…in MY Country. Damn straight….this here is MY blog!!
Yes I did get a law degree. However, as I previously mentioned, it was not about the law, or the degree. I mention this, not to be like those who get a degree, so that they can literally spend the rest of their lives adding that on as a hyphenated last name whenever they introduce themselves. Best not forget that after the introduction (you know…Tom Ford-With a Medical Degree), they will remind you between every second sentence, that they are a Doctor.
Nope, the reason I mention this, is because I have come to learn that people define themselves by their degree…and even though a lot of these people never even use their degree, or only fleetingly use their degree….they will forever define themselves by their degree…and sadly, so will everyone else.
I had no cooking clue that I was respected more, and regarded as having superior intelligence than the apparently unworthy and brainless person that society refers to as ”one with no degree”. This only started becoming apparent to me years after I had left my profession. I was actually the complete opposite of the swankers. I was always sheepish about mentioning this fact to anyone. The only time I did, was when people would ask what work I did. A question people have the intense need for you to answer soon after meeting you, so that they will know how to define you.
So, when people boldly exclaim that they have a degree in…..WHATEVER…they are immediately perceived to be of superior intelligence, someone who deserves respect. But I always felt uncomfortable when I was asked that question. I felt like I was bragging. So the way I would reply, was under my breath, with my head cocked to one side and my eyes down, in a fairly soft and (for some reason) high pitched voice (similar to a child explaining where all the cookies had disappeared to ). Of course, what then happened was, the inquirer would look at me wondering…..how in all the oceans of Statutes could this whimpering blithering fool be an attorney????
Be that as it may, I stopped practicing after eight years, and started ”mommying”. I started a completely unrelated home business. When other moms asked what work I did, I mentioned my part time home business…..not my degree….not my profession that was now a thing of the past. The question was “‘what do you DO?”. They did not ask what I had studied, or what I had done in my past. This question, in my mind at least, was not a job application. I did not feel the need to recite my résumé!! Of course, now I realise, it may not have been a job application, but it certainly was some type of an application……
After a year or two, someone who knew me from my attorney days had casually mentioned to the one mom that I was an Attorney.
”Are you an Attorney?” I was asked by one mom, as I was walking to fetch my children from class one day.
”Well no…..I was, but….” I started, before being cut off mid sentence.
”OMG, I cannot believe it, I would never have thought. How come you never mentioned it??” she responded.
”Well, I didn’t think it was important, and……” I tried to continue, before again being cut off by an eager mom, excited about this ”vital” piece of information that had come to her attention.
Before I knew it, everyone knew I was ”an Attorney”. People with degrees, who I had been passing for years, and from whom there was the ”polite nod”, or at most a couple of sentences between us, suddenly stopped me so they could chat. People without degrees were suddenly more attentive. What in the world was going on here? I thought, totally confuzzled by the fact that people had changed their opinions of me overnight on hearing I had a degree. I kid you not, if I had mentioned I was also a money launderer, I would still have commanded the same respect! In fact there were some parents who were known to have had some dodgy dealings, but if they had degrees…respected!!
Those guilty parties are not totally to blame though, as there is a whole other beast, known as ”society”, that has attached, and continues to attach more and more significance and value to this piece of paper.
I am not minimizing the amount of work, diligence and sacrifice that goes into getting a degree, or the benefits some get out of their degree. What I am merely saying, is that the respect or social status of a person should not be dependent on whether or not they have a degree or not. But go figure, for so many people…. IT IS!!!
Early on in Articles, my Principle Attorney asked me why I wanted to be an attorney. Of course, even I had no answer to that question, so I decided to improvise, and enthusiastically told him it was to ensure that justice was achieved !!
”Wrong answer”, he declared, after which I looked at him slightly befuddled, as I had been unaware that there was a right or wrong answer.
”You become an attorney for the status, the social standing and respect it gives you”, he continued.
I, of course being the totally naïve and green dimwit that I was, believed that this poor sod was a just very insecure, and needed a piece of paper to feel adequate. Little did I know that this was (and is) in fact how so many judge you.
Now, if those people respected you because of all your hard work, pressure and sacrifices you endured to obtain the degree, that would be understandable. But the degree automatically qualifies you for the respect in their eyes.
Sad that the same respect will so often not be given to the person who went through all that (and sometimes more) to become perhaps even more successful, and have no degree to show for it….. but no degree….no respect.
On that note, I am off to find that degree of mine, did not realise how valuable waving that little bugger around would be!!