Books by Anne Hart
Glad not to be homeless because every job skill I ever used to make enough money not to be homeless was learned in one 1950s era 7th grade touch typing class at age 12. Nothing I learned after the 7th grade was necessary for me to find office work, not at least in the academic-college prep course curriculum that I studied.
Every course I took in college I could have learned from reading books in the public library, for example skills from spelling and grammar, learning to write books and articles, editing, copywriting, proofreading, and all those novels and plays, history books, and books on anthropology and sociology could have been read in any library.
Those who took the commercial course, not the academic college prep curriculum, in high school, which I did not, at least theoretically learned specific job skills relevant in the 1950s when I went to school, which was bookkeeping, shorthand at 80 to 120 words per minute, transcription, typing at at least 60 wpm, business machines, and clerical practice, which skilled those high school graduates enough to find a permanent job upon graduation in most offices.
My high school also had an academic-commercial curriculum which included college-prep and commercial courses, which also somewhat skilled students for immediate work after high school. For those of us, like myself, who had to work his/her way through college by attending evenings and working full time days, and by saving enough to be financially independent, paying all expenses from rent and business attire to getting teeth fixed.
For example, being female in the fifties, the pay was unequal for those working right after high school, compared to the pay for males who had other job skills such as mechanical, learned in vocational high schools. At least, any loans for college could be paid off more easily than in later decades, and scholar incentive awards helped many students.
The point is looking back to what I have learned leading up to my M.A. degree, (in English with a creative writing emphasis), all courses I took in college and high school could have been learned from reading books in most public libraries. Any skills I have learned from writing sales letters to novels, scripts, articles, poems, and plays could have been mastered by practice and reading from books without listening to lectures in college.
What the degrees in reality gave me was paper saying I was able to write essays on the books I read, books, largely written by people who never went to college, novelists who wrote about life experience, some of who had fourth grade educations in the days when self-taught people still could find ways to earn a living.
Eventually, California no longer required the community college teaching credential which I earned along with my M.A. degree, and community college teaching jobs in "creative writing" were few and many non-tenured, temporary or resulted in one-day a year work as a substitute teacher. The only solid skill that led to permanent job offers was that 7th grade course in touch typing.
A gal could walk into any office in almost any business and apply for a job as an entry-level clerk-typist, receptionist, file clerk, Dictaphone secretary, or what they call now an "administrative assistant" with that skill, and nowadays, as long as the individual had a diploma, even a degree, might find a job.
Today, it's computer literacy and keyboarding ability along with office experience that possibly lands a job, if one competes with many others vying for the same few openings. That's why in the 1950s it was so much easier to reach middle-class status with a high-school diploma as compared to today's high cost of education and so many people competing for so few job openings in the fields that attract many people.
Today, it's about finding a niche that matches a person's abilities to learn and stay healthy doing the chosen career. As for teachers, math and science teachers or teachers of vocational subjects such as mechanics and technologies in demand at the time are still more in demand than generalist teachers of creative enhancement such as writing, art, dance, drama, or music.
If you're creative, the larger need is in inventions and technology, medicine, or applied math. At the same time being creative in writing novels, law, public speaking, sales, marketing, or art becomes more competitive as more people have talents in entertainment writing, sales, real estate, law, sports, or art than have gifts in engineering and technology or applied mathematical genius.
There's a lot more competition for careers/jobs outside the world of technology. On the other hand, within technology, there's more competition among the brightest, most skilled, and youngest with the type of experience, contacts, and capital for what's actually available in the market place. The good news is technology allows more people to work at home online in more ways, which is great for people who enjoy such flexibility. The goal is to think of more ways to fill a need in the market.