It may come as a surprise to you, but I actually went to college. Graduated and everything. My GPA was like 2.7, so not exactly anything to be proud of, but hey, I have me a piece of paper what says I’m edumacated.
Thing is, that piece of paper mysteriously says “Bachelor of Arts, English.” Now, you have to understand, all my friends were Computer Science majors, and so naturally I assumed I was too. But it turns out I actually had signed up for an English degree and never realized it. You’d think all those classes about Shakespeare and 17th century British Literature would have tipped me off, but I just assumed I’d picked some particularly weird gen-eds.
So you can imagine when I got around to trying to get a job after graduation, it was a difficult thing to explain to prospective employers. Here I was telling them I knew all about the UNIX and the Windows and such, and they were looking at my resume and asking “You have a degree in English? Seriously?”
I’ve had the same conversation in every interview I’ve ever had. I get some version of this question: “So how did you go from a degree in English to working in IT?” And I get to tell the story all over again. It gets old, and I’ve done everything I can think of to avoid the question. I bury my education details deep in the bowels of my resume. I tried once just leaving the actual degree off, just putting the school and the “B.A.” but that never worked. People just squinted at it and asked what subject my degree was in, and the jig was up.
You know what I never tried, though? Lying. I never actually just told them I had a degree in Computer Science. It would have been easy, and I’d probably have gotten away with it just fine. Nobody checks that shit, right?
Well, actually, it turns out, sometimes people do. Especially if you make it all the way to CEO. Just ask Scott Thompson of Yahoo. He’s apparently been telling people for years he has a degree in Computer Science, when really he’s just a skeevy accountant. Or actually, maybe it was a business administration degree. Who knows? Apparently not Yahoo, who have changed their story a few times now about just what Mr Thompson’s degree is in.
Now, does it really make any difference what his degree is in? Probably not. My worthless English degree doesn’t change the fact that I know all about the LUNIX and such and have managed to hold down a job in IT for nearly 20 years now. But we all learned as kids that lying is wrong. And misrepresenting your credentials isn’t an “inadvertent error,” it’s a damn lie.
So fuck you Scott Thompson. Fuck you, sir.