What a confronting question.
“How can you help other people?” is perhaps a more polite variation of this question, or “What skills do you have?” but for impact I like “What can you do?”
It forces you to think in terms of your responsibility to produce an outcome.
If we begin telling hight school/secondary school kids they must answer this question when they graduate they are more likely to begin thinking about developing their capacities to help; to produce situations that they and other people value, and not just about passing their finals.
Capacity to transact
Being able to design, solve, implement, persuade, communicate, facilitate, mediate, heal, protect, entertain etc., etc. are the things that people care about; not your degree.
It’s because a surgeon can do something of value (save your life) that s/he is well paid; not because s/he has a degree.
Degrees used to signify these capacities,
but increasingly they do not.
The education business offers degrees in exchange for money, and with everyone and her brother seeking degrees as the path to economic livelihood, employers now use degrees primarily to screen out candidates. Meaning you need the degree just to be considered.
But then what? How do you stand out for the job, for advancement, for better pay?
The answer is by focussing on your capacity to do something—something that people care about—and do it well. Medical degrees do this, but many others, especially BA degrees, even MBA degrees do not.
It’s up to you to show how you can help
The earlier in life a person learns to think this way, the more career capital (currency to exchange for money, position, autonomy and prestige) they are likely to accumulate.
The consequence of not focusing on this question is more credentialed incompetents that create mischief, obstruct progress and otherwise make it difficult for everyone including themselves to live a great life.
No one really cares what or how much you know. They care about what you can do, or how you can help.
The sooner you choose an answer to that question, the sooner you can begin getting very good at it.
So good in fact, that you can use that capacity to help (do something that people value) to transact for money, and autonomy or whatever it is that you want. (smile)