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Passing paper judgementThe age old debate of Educational attainment verses vocational and life experience. Does holding a degree, or not, define you as a person. It definitely does not, but does it count in the cut and thrust of an employment process, probably yes, at least in part. A degree proves a level of attainment, like any qualification it is a matter of fact. Can a recruiter be criticised for appointing the most highly qualified candidate, probably not. They can point to what see as the hard facts that influenced their judgement. Does it mean they got the best candidate, again probably not.

Passing Paper Judgement
I never went to university,
The words, by their absence,
Leap off the page and stick in your mind.
They seem to linger,
Longer than I had hoped,
And cloud your inclination,
Regarding my application.

Should I elaborate and justify,
Explain to you my decision,
Or indecision, toward higher education,
And a paper qualification, which
I could hang upon a wall?

Am I not capable of learning;
And turning my experience into
Transferable skills without
Crippling me, financially?
Do I not show that I can apply myself,
Through a wealth of voluntary contributions
That I have made to local trade and youth,
Do I need the paper proof?

All the look upon your face,
Tells me, is that with your
High and mighty degree,
You still cannot recognise the worth,
Of individuality, and reasoned thought;
But instead value what is taught,
By stuffy scholars in crowded rooms,
Who have yet to assume
Any position in a real world environment,
Where money’s spent and lost at the company’s cost,
And to my detriment, if the wrong decision’s made.

And who can gauge,
From passing paper judgments,
My moral worth, and professional commitment;
How likely I am to commit fraud,
Feign stress or some such illness?

So think a while;
Before you pass my CV to the bottom of the pile;
It’s nothing but your prejudice that puts it there,
And professional pride that refuses to acknowledge,
That knowledge can be gained without the pains
Of three years soft graft in panelled halls,
And that framed papers stuck to walls,
Are just for show, and what you know,
Should be measured not by how much money you have spent,
But on working out its worth.

(Sara Humphrey)


More people are writing and thinking about work based poetry. Does this poem make you think of anything? Send your thoughts to editor@organisationalpoetry.co.uk

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