After my dad left us, my mom worked three part-time jobs. I helped by raising my two younger brothers and then earned money babysitting. We all helped mom when she started her own housecleaning service.
When I turned 16, I got a six-hour job after school. There was no question of going to college. Although I was smart, my high school grades suffered because I worked.
When I was 18, I landed a full-time job, and my years of knowing how to work hard paid off. I climbed the ranks in my company. When the pandemic hit, I was one of the lucky ones. Although my company furloughed me, I knew how to work. Between Door Dash and Uber, I made enough money to pay rent, buy food and anything else I needed, and help my mom.
I then got a new job in a larger company where I’ve worked for a year. Last month, a promotional opportunity opened, and I applied for it. The company chose “Wes” instead. My coworker friends told me, “You deserved that promotion. Wes doesn’t work half as hard as you.”
I asked my manager who couldn’t give me a solid reason why management chose Wes and not me. I thought the answer might be sex discrimination.
I went to HR and filed a complaint. The HR officer read my grievance, and assured me the selection wasn’t discriminatory, but that all managers in the company needed a college degree. Wes had one. I didn’t.
Fast forward to the government’s decision to “forgive” ten to twenty thousand dollars in student loans. I’m one of those taxpayers who pay for this. So, Wes gets my promotion and I pay part of his college debt. I’ve already heard through the grapevine that Wes doesn’t plan to make any loan repayments because he thinks the rest of his loan might be “forgiven” after the new year.
This rips me. My tax money helps pay for Wes’s degree, but his degree gives him an advantage over me. Aren’t there other needs more deserving of government money than college graduates?
In what universe is this fair?
The core answer to your questions is politics.
In a career and HR sense, however, you have two other answers.
You have a solid work ethic and ambition. Another employer would be lucky to get you. As yesterday’s post https://workplacecoachblog.com/2022/08/college-no-longer-needed-for-a-high-paying-job/ documents, many companies now regard alternate credential and work experience as important as college degrees. Find one and vote with your feet. If you want, explain why your current employer lost you when you’re exit interviewed.
The employer’s policy may eventually be challenged. A policy that’s neutral on its face but has the unintended consequence of discriminating against categories of employees may be legally challenged. Minority young people are not as likely as Caucasian young people to attend four-year colleges. It’s potential your employer will consider this, particularly if it wants to diversify its employee ranks.
Finally, if what you’ve said about Wes is true, your soon-to-be former employer made the wrong choice.