The current generations - Millennial and Z - are questioning what graduate degrees are "useless."
However, the broader issue is how did our generation learned to leverage doctoral degrees in the humanities, shit jobs, crazy bosses and other entities we probably designated as "useless?" Mostly it was through brutal adversity.
The hand I held included strong cards in communications and higher education. A college acquaintance told me about a public relations job at the University of Pittsburgh. I applied for it. I got it. The next stop was the big time in communications.
The second time I leveraged my experience was the next time I was laid off. The job had not been a shit one but the wrong one for me. The boss was, well, also not a good fit for me. Middle-aged, I was scared.
But I bundled the fear and the recent job experience in the food industry into what turned out to be a sandwich buyers couldn't resist. No, I didn't open a deli. I hawked my skills writing about consumer issues, including food.
The third time I mined supposedly useless experience for success was when the ghostwriting/speechwriting industry tanked around 2000. After at first decrying wasting my time in it instead of working in sales, I recognized that my skills in taking on other personalities and the conversational tone of speechwriting I could transplant to social media. It was an emerging field.
In short, nothing is useless. Not when we are hungry enough to push beyond our own disappointment and bitterness. I hope youth can get a hang of that without the suffering we had to endure.