Today’s letter is from Ask a Manager:
I work in the business/finance office for a large health care system that has hospitals in 5 different states.
It is driving me insane that my regional director of finance does not have any sort of finance education. She started out as a call center rep and has been around for 20+ years. Even the VP of finance has a “computer science” bachelors degree. My newly appointed “supervisor” has a bachelor’s in motion science ( he wanted to be a physical trainer but that didn’t pan out, so he too started as a call center rep and worked his way up).
I’m a few terms away from graduating with an accounting degree and a CPA certificate on top of my masters in Psychology.
The fact that my direct managers and upper level VP of finance are less educated but have “been around” for 20+ years makes no sense to me.
How can a huge organization with a complex financial and billing system be run by people with no education, or education that doesn’t pertain to the job? Does this happen at other large corporations?
It’s becoming a sticking point, so much that I don’t respect or look up to my managers.
Being promoted just because you haven’t left yet isn’t admirable to me.
Dear Educated Letter Writer,
I find it difficult to care about your problems. I, with my Ph.D., obviously matter so much more as a person than you do. I mean, even you know the Masters in Psychology was a poor decision since you’re back at school for something else. Real winners don’t change their minds like that, they stay the course on the same topic until they’ve achieved a terminal degree. I also find myself wondering where your degree is from. Mine is probably a better institution, which makes you somehow even less significant. Anyways, I’m going to pretend like you’re educated enough to matter and proceed with your actual question.
It is appalling that this department has allowed upward mobility based on time with the company. I mean, how could they expect 20 years of working for a company to count as education that pertains to the job. An intelligent person could not possibly learn through doing, they can only learn through formal education at an accredited university. That is literally the only way to amass knowledge. Working for a company for 20 years could not possibly equip a person with the knowledge and skills to do anything for that company other than the original role they were hired for. From my vast knowledge of workplaces (I worked as a lifeguard in high school!), this is the reason that good companies never promote anyone ever. They know that people can never learn new roles and a person hired on for an entry level position should never be hired for anything other than an entry level position.
My advice to you is to keep on the right path until you’ve acquired your terminal degree, then go to these “senior” managers and fire them because your education makes you more qualified than them. Nobody cares what skills they’ve developed over 20 years of work because college is the only place where one can learn anything about finance. Also, since everything is completely standard and every workplace operates exactly the same way, your education has perfectly equipped you with every skill you need for this particular company, unlike these lowly and uneducated managers. Since they did not go to finance school, they cannot know anything about how this company’s finances work and will likely be extremely relieved when you fire them and replace them. They’ve been living this lie far too long.
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Also published on Medium.