KING VALLEY, CALIFORNIA — Dana Hillman got her Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley in 2005. While she hasn’t used her degree “directly,” in her words, she says that being taught the disciplines of philosophical though — logic, and reasoning to name just two — have enabled her to open many doors in her career that some like Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) might not think possible. “I’m a good critical thinker, which makes me an incredibly good business analyst,” Hillman told our reporter, “and companies pay pretty good money for someone who can look at their operation and the people in it and give them solid, reasoned advice as to how to improve both. All of that is thanks to my philosophy degree.”
“Sure,” Hillman said at one point in the interview, “I’m not discussing Voltaire or Nietzsche when I’m analyzing the cradle-to-grave of a file in our Claims Department. But I am using my ability to take in all sides of an issue, and to approach that issue in non-linear ways if needs be. Philosophy isn’t just about sitting around at a cafe drinking highly-caffeinated beverages and waxing on about the meaning of life; it’s about the thoughts behind things, and well, I haven’t met a businessman yet that can’t use a little help in their critical thinking skills.”
When Rubio said in the most recent Republican Primary debate that America should be encouraging more people to be welders than philosophers, Hillman said she “laughed hysterically.” The 32-year-old Hillman said that she’s got lots of friends in her town that work jobs like welding and construction and that “their paychecks never come close” hers. “In fact, the stability of my 9-to-5 job makes them all quite envious, since they’re much more beholden to economic trends in construction and other industries than I’ll ever be,” Hillman told our reporter.
“Basically, I have a philosophy about politicians — they don’t know shit,” Ms. Hillman said. “People like Rubio, for all their claimed intelligence, just aren’t deep thinkers,” she later said, “because they really must think that once you get your degree in philosophy that your only career paths are in academia or at some company that pays you to come up with deep, philosophical thoughts on all kinds of existential issues of our time. But that’s not how the real world works. In the real world, companies need smart people who showed they can study serious subjects and become experts at them. Sure, there are specialized firms that want specialized degrees for their industries, but every company can use people like me, regardless of whether I have a degree in Liberal Arts or computer science.”
Hillman related a story to our reporter before the interview ended that she says “tells you everything you need to know” about the economic efficacy of philosophy degrees. “My friend, who is an auto mechanic at the BMW dealership in town said he’s going to have to get a second job because his hours have been cut back so drastically,” Hillman said, “and I told him that the company I work for is looking for late night data entry help and that as long as he can pound keys on a keyboard, they can use him. He’s needing a second job, I’m about to buy my second home.”
“Don’t tell me how useless my philosophy degree is,” Hillman said, “tell my employer. They’ll laugh you out of the building, but go ahead, tell them.”