A degree of change

I don’t have a degree. There’s a couple of reasons but long story short I was quite ill between age 15-19 and as such got good GCSEs but didn’t finish my a’levels. It was my choice. I could have carried on and scrapped C’s in English, French And Theatre Arts but as I knew that I was screwed physically and mentally due to illness I chose not to – I chose to go to my bed for a few months and get well.
My parents were amazing – they knew I was ill and knew that I had tried for years. My school were great – accepting of the inevitable and supportive.
After a few months convalescence it was time to work. I got a job and worked, worked, worked.

It’s now 22 years later. I’m still ill occasionally – it’s with me for life but I manage it- but that choice I made comes back to hurt me.

I’ve worked at a senior level for the last many years. Without blowing any trumpets I’ve been successful and made a difference. I’m a Fellow of my professional body (CIPD) and I’ve contributed to major change projects over the years.

I’ve been a non exec at a housing association, a school governor and an active volunteer.

I’ve worked on multi million pound projects, delivered global and local change and been the trusted advisor for the senior chap at a FTSE 40 company. Worked with national treasures, knights of the realm, even Nobel scientists.

But.

But.

I don’t have a degree. I didn’t go to university.

I wish I had – wish I had the opportunity to explore my learning further, to research and develop to experience that life.

But I haven’t. I’m 41. I’ve worked non stop since I was 19. Does this count for nothing?

This isn’t the first time I’ve lost out on a job for not having a degree. And I completely see what skills you get from that discipline – but to discount me because of it in an non vocational role. Well that just sucks.

I won’t pretend I’m not disappointed – I am. It was a great role in a great location but really. Really?