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What To Say When People Tell You Your Degree Is Worthless

22/04/2014 13:05 BST | Updated 23/04/2014 09:59 BST
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Degrees have been getting a fair bit of bad press recently - what with graduate starting salaries dropping by 11%, a list of degrees with no job prospects being bandied around and a recent surge of school leaver on-the-job training schemes - but if someone tells you your degree is useless, you don't need to throw yourself out a window.

Make sure to check out the rest of our advice, tips and information on Skills Space.

Whip out one of these handy responses, provided by Stevie Martin of GoThinkBig rather than bursting into tears:

Only around midday, otherwise I'm easy

Pretend you've misheard and don't let them continue speaking. This can be done by either bombarding them with a constant stream of words (any will do), rapid-fire interrogation style questions on an unrelated topic or covering them in cake. If you're really running out of ideas, cause a diversion by dropping your glass or, if standing on a carpeted floor, throwing it at a wall.

It was less about the course, more about skills & contacts

Great for Philosophy and English graduates who often get the most grief - just talk about how you learned solid research skills, the ability to work to a deadline and made lots of strong contacts who can help you later on. If they sneer and mention something non-descript like "hmm nhnhnmmh on-the-job training bleurbsblaahs students staying in bed 'til 3 drinking" then point out that law conversion courses require a degree. A non-specific degree, like [insert artsy fartsy degree you did].

So if all else fails, your three years getting out of bed at 3pm will have led to a starting salary of £30k. Then smile warmly.

I believe in doing what you love

Some of us decide to do degrees in fine art because a life in the City doesn't appeal to us. Happiness is just as important as money because, after all, you can have money and be really sad but you can't be happy and really sad. Yes, I'm Gandhi. Extra points if you say this to someone in a tinkly voice with a glazed expression.

Loads of degrees get you very well paid jobs

From medicine (right at the top of the high-earners list) to engineering to business, there are plenty of degrees disproving the theory that "all degrees are useless". In fact, maybe use that as a direct quote because it sounds pretty haughty, intelligent and nobody can really argue against you because it's the facts, baby. Maybe don't say "it's the facts, baby", though.

If you didn't do any of these well-paying degrees then YOU might not be benefitting from a top class salary - but that's not to say nobody else is. And you wanted to study ancient Greek with post-war poetry for the intellectual stimulation, rather than the career potential, anyway.

You're worthless

Not the most mature approach, but it's definitely an option. Make sure you emphasise the "you're" for maximum effect.

Well, that's quite rude

Call a spade a spade, or rather, call a spade rude because it's telling you that a major life choice you made was the wrong thing to do. Have you told them that their new wife looks like a shoe and their job sounds so boring you couldn't even concentrate long enough for them to finish explaining what it is they actually do? Also, if you've done a degree and are struggling to find employment, that's a really hard thing to go through. Like baldness. Which they seem to be struggling with. Did you bring that up? No, because it's insensitive and none of their business. Tell them they need to get some manners and, if they really enjoy making wild assumptions about other people's lives, they should write a self help book called How To Be A Giant Prick And Have No Friends.

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