Monday, October 14, 2013

High School Dropout Needs To Face Opportunity Head-On

Dear Tazi:

I have a secret that nobody knows: I never graduated high school and I don’t have a G.E.D. My current employer requires all people have a diploma or equivalency and I got around that by lying on my application, figuring they wouldn’t bother to check (which they didn’t). I have done quite well in my job because I work hard and follow orders, and I don’t mess around when I am supposed to be working. I am polite and respectful to our customers, and am good at solving problems. I am so good at my job that my Manager wants to recommend me for a promotion; she told me that the job requires a degree, but for the right person they could work around that and I could take the job and work towards my degree at the same time. When I told her I didn’t have the money to go back to school (which I thought was a convincing excuse) she told me that the company would pay my tuition, so I shouldn’t have to worry about the cost of it.

Tazi, I am in big trouble! I can’t get into college without having a diploma or G.E.D. and if my company finds out I don’t have either I will be fired instead of promoted! I immediately looked into getting my G.E.D. and the process would take too long to finish before my company would expect me to start taking classes. I told my boss that I had thought things through, and felt that the promotion was not right for me, that I am happy working where I am. She was disappointed, and couldn’t figure out why I would turn down a better job that paid a lot more money, and so far she has brought up the subject twice – the first time right before the company hired someone else, the second time after that person wasn’t working out well with the other employees. I hate disappointing my boss like this, but I don’t know what else to do! Do you?


Dear Caught!:

Do you want the promotion you are being offered? Do you want the opportunity to go back to school and further your education? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you are in luck. Community colleges do not require you to have a diploma or G.E.D. to take courses there. Federal law requires you have one in order to receive financial aid, but since your company would pay for the classes you can skirt this issue; your academic records are your private information, and you do not need to reveal to them the information on your application for admission.

If you want the promotion, or any other kind of job advancement, you will need to talk to your boss about the types of classes you will need to take; if you need to be in a degree program or if you can take a few classes first before deciding to enroll as a matriculating student; and how long the company will give you to complete the degree requirements. At this point you can discuss your academic strengths and weaknesses with your boss. You do not have to reveal your lack of a diploma if you feel it will cost you your job; you can simply say, “It has been a while since I have seen the inside of a classroom, and I may need some remedial coursework in a few subjects.” Community colleges usually offer remedial classes, although not for college credit because the work involved is on the junior high and high school level and is intended to prepare students for college level work. Your company will probably pay for these because it increases your chances of doing well in the degree level classes you will need to take.

A lie, once said, cannot be taken back without repercussions, something you are discovering the hard way. You seem remorseful for your untruth, so I will not paw slap you over you, but encourage you to go forth and correct your mistakes! Don’t let fear hold you back, especially when you have your boss on your side!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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