Thinking of a career? Think again.

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Forum topic by pashley posted 05-31-2008 02:34 PM 1916 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1044 posts in 3920 days

05-31-2008 02:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: college business

I’d like to relay some advice to young people out there thinking about a career – think again.

If you are thinking about being a (insert career title here), make sure you know exactly what you are in for. I was going to be a psychologist, but did not understand the work environment, nor the educational requirements to get me there; had I, I would not have gone that route. I’m not in the mental health field today – which means, I pretty much wasted 4 years, and god knows how many tens of thousands of dollars on college.

If you want to be, for instance, an airline pilot, buy at least three of them some lunch, talk with them, ask them about their jobs – what they like and don’t like. Ask the pay range, the hours, the work environment. You would probably have a lot of fantasies changed that you have about the job. You don’t want to get into a job and not have it what you expected it to be!

Another thing – think about skipping college.

I know that statement will make some of you send off death threats to me, but hear me out.

If you go just 4 years, to a state college, what happens, financially? You spend about $5,000 a semester on college, and probably again as much on a place to live, books, food, and all other expenses. That’s about $15,000 a year. Now factor in the loss of income if you worked a half-way decent job, say earning $30k a year. That means you’re in the hole at least $45k a year, for four years, for a total of $180k after 4 years! If you went to a private school, figure tuition is $20k a semester, which brings your four year total to $240k, almost a quarter million! And you haven’t earned a dime yet.

Yes, I’m aware that a four-year degree is required for positions with decent pay these days, and if you really want to be a lawyer or doctor, you have to go that route, that’s fine.

But I think a person also needs to consider the option of opening your own business right away out of high school. I’m not saying buy your 18 year old grad a Woodcraft franchise, but rather, have him/her somehow mentor with another business owner, to get an education in real life, regarding business owning. It’s no secret you don’t get rich working for someone else, that your own business is the way to go.

My best friend works in radio. He started his own business about 8 years ago. He makes the commercials and jingles you hear on the radio. He has himself and 4 other people, and he’s netting about $120k a year. That’s good scratch. Had he stayed in radio as an employee, he be making, at most, half that. Yes, he has the headaches and responsibilities, but I think it maybe worth it.

I understand that college and furthering your education has value, but I also understand it’s a bit of scam as well, when they charge you these ridiculous tuitions, books that cost $200 each (that your professor wrote, and you’ll read one chapter from) and you are required to take esoteric courses that have nothing to do with your career path (do you really need art history to be a financial analyst? No, but we need to keep the art history teacher earning her keep).

My point is this: fully understand the career you are thinking about; ask they people that are really doing the job. Consider not going to college, but opening your own business.

Ok, got that off my chest….. :)

-- Have a blessed day!

22 replies so far

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4142 days

#1 posted 05-31-2008 04:34 PM

An interesting perspective and one that I cannot find fault with. Over the past 30 years, I have spent endless hours training college graduates on how to do the job they got their degree in. Too often college spends time on trends and takes a pass on the practical. It is unfortunate that a college degree is expected for ‘secretaries’ these days, which to my mind says a college degree is the equivalent of a high school diploma when I graduated. The difference being you have to pay for a degree.

It wouldn’t be so bad if graduates came out with a general knowledge from art to science to philosophy and had some idea of how to think. Or, if they came out with a practical skill, I wouldn’t be quite so negative. However, since the vast majority of graduates I deal or have dealt with lack these characteristics, I don’t think my experience is out of the ordinary.

I think the best advice is for each high school graduate to start a business and learn how the world works.

-- Working at Woodworking

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3947 days

#2 posted 05-31-2008 05:04 PM

You might want to give them courses in high school on how to use the welfare system, also.

View benhasajeep's profile


30 posts in 3872 days

#3 posted 05-31-2008 05:31 PM

My biggest problem with college is the required courses that have no revelance to what your in school for in the first place. They make you take certain courses to give you a well rounded education. When in fact they are making you take the course so they can keep enough funding to departments that may not be that popular! K-12 is supposed to give you the well rounded education. College should be based on your selected field. What if you don’t know what you want to be? Well you should be able to take some introductory courses in several different fields. See what you might like. But that is heavilly frowned upon. They are steered towards general studies (Liberal Arts), which is math, history, science, art, music, etc. This is absolutely wrong in my opinion. That is the same thing they were just doing in high school. It gives them no additional idea in choosing a career field. Just more of what they just had. How is that supposed to help? I spent alot of time and money in college. After 2 years I stopped going to my counselor. Absolutely no use to me what so ever. I finally made my choice after a while and finished a degree. This was after I took some courses that I was interested in.

-- Ben, Living the good life in Maine now (almost, just need to retire in 2 decades time)

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4517 days

#4 posted 05-31-2008 05:48 PM

...then we have the case of the fellow (Me) who dropped out of college. Made good money in construction and now feels his body falling apart along with the economy. What to do at 49 years of age…maybe that college thing would have been a good idea. Then again at the time I would not listen…you know cause the college think was so screwed up.

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4372 days

#5 posted 05-31-2008 06:16 PM

As a lifelong career counselor, I agree. The diploma isn’t everything. I have a doctorate my son has a few community college courses. He has passed me in income and he lovers what he’s doing. I’m glad I got the college for what I’m doing but it wasn’t necessary. I advise people now to decide on career and then get just the courses necessary. Many employers are now looking for skills not degrees. Some careers require the degree but not all.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3916 days

#6 posted 05-31-2008 06:28 PM

i am sorry guys but i completely disagree with you. without further education i would still be stuck on the floor installing hardwood,it was good money but killed my back and feet. if i didn’t have red rocks to teach me how to build great furniture i’d still be haten get back what you put in is all i have to saw.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 3920 days

#7 posted 05-31-2008 06:35 PM

Nobody says you have to do labor-intensive work like that; what about opening a Subway franchise, or handyman service?

The point is, there are other avenues than college….that’s all.

-- Have a blessed day!

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 4050 days

#8 posted 05-31-2008 08:16 PM

I think you can draw a distinction between general four year degrees and specialized trade schools. I think completion of an advanced trade course is very beneficial in the real world, I also think the trade journeyman/apprenticeship programs are also excellent. I went to school route, got a job right after, drawing adds for a telephone directory. I showed up for my first day and sat down in a room whith 23 other illustrators, all of which were some of the most talented I had ever seen, but those were the longest 8 hours I ever spent, no jokes, nobody smiled, I was a clip artist before there was clip art. That was a thursday, after work I was walking down by the pier in seattle and I saw a help wanted add for fisherman in alsaka, on friday morning I got on the boat, the northern victor and we sailed to alaska, 3 months later I got off the plane in seattle and went straight to the bar, 7 days later I was broke and I hitch hiked back across the mountains and went to work. dug ditches, packed sheetrock and then one day I got stuck with the grouchiest old man I ever met. His name was Darrel, he was a finish carpenter and painter. He complained constantly, but after a while I began to understand that he truly loved his job, he had absolutely no regrets. He died about 10 years ago but he taught me an important lesson, “it will never be good enough, but sometimes it will have to do”. So I guess based upon my personal experience, trade school’s and appreniceships are excellent, college if you can afford it won’t hurt you, but when your ready to start the blisters and blood can’t be avoided.

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View BrianM's profile


116 posts in 3955 days

#9 posted 05-31-2008 08:40 PM

I really don’t have any advice for anyone on the type of school they should attend because everyone is different, but this post will at least make them think.

The post did remind me of a funny story.

Years ago I saw a friend of mine who was a laborer and had a very bright son away at college. I asked him how his son was doing and this was his reply.

“He’s doing great Brian and he is studying Liberal Arts. Last Sunday I looked in the help wanted section of the paper and could not find one damn job for a Liberal Artist so I hope he knows what he is doing”.

I guess he should of read the political section of the paper. :))

-- There is no such thing as scrap wood!,

View kjverlanic's profile


56 posts in 3853 days

#10 posted 06-01-2008 02:35 AM


I agree to a certain extent. Both of my Parents were Teachers. My Mom has a Master’s Degree in Education while my Dad has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education as well as an Associates Degree in Automotive from Wyo Tech. My Dad went back to school when I was 5 for his Bachelor’s Degree. This changed the way we lived enormously, we now all had 3 months off in the summer every year, or 3 months every year to run other businesses :-). Teachers in MT do not make very good money. But neither of them are Teachers now. My Mom is County Superintendent of Schools and my Dad is a guy who does all sorts of odd jobs from installing solar systems, sprinkler systems, wells, dirt work, built their 90 space campground almost by himself, water lines for stock tanks and a candidate for a State Senate seat.

Both of my Grandfathers were in the service and both were Union Workers, one Carpenter and one Chemist at a refinery. They got their education on the job while getting paid to do it and for a time my Father was a Union Machinist for the Railroad.

Fast forward many years and I am looking at going to college, I know that I don’t want to spend a fortune on it, as I am footing my own bill and I know that I like helping people. So I enroll at the College of Technology for an AAS in Practical Nursing. After 1 year and a group of students that I don’t necessarily want to be involved with, I go to the main campus for a year and take other courses like art and anthropology and a few others. I then go back to finish my degree, I’m not a lifetime student, all the while I am also working full time for $8/hour at a job where I am respected and I like the people I work for and with, but it is $8/hour. I also meet the LOML, he is a Mechanic at the place I work, a graduate of Wyo Tech as well. I finish school, pass my boards, quit working for $8/hour, they liked me, but not enough to ever give me a raise and they went through about 8 people trying to replace me. I start working for $14.50/hour and learn way more from the Doctor I work with than anything I learned in school. The LOML & I get engaged, and a day before our wedding we get a letter saying that he was hired at the Power Plant, Yipee!!! He will be making about the same amount that he is as a Mechanic, but I won’t get that opportunity as I quit my job, not interested in a 120mile one way commute and I go to work for $8/hour :-{. The LOML on the other hand gets an Apprenticeship and 6 years later is making over double what he was when he started and he will be turning out as a Journey Systems Operator in the next few months. This is enough that I don’t have to work and can stay at home and raise our two kids.

So, the moral to my story is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but those who want to succeed in life will do so, degree or not.

-- “There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper … and the buyers who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.” John Ruskin

View vwmike99's profile


23 posts in 3924 days

#11 posted 06-01-2008 05:34 AM

I would agree with the whole college run around. I went to a popular tech school (which I heard good things about) and 6 months into a two year program, I started regretting the choice to go there. Today, I’m in a technical field in which I only use what I believe to be about 5% of the $35K I had to pay to go to the lousy school.
Did you hear Europe has a new college program in which you get a degree in shelf stocking and retail management??? What a joke. Would you actually pay to learn to stock store shelves?
Note for everyone: Associates degrees are the new high school diploma. More than likely won’t even get you in the door anymore. I could go on for hours about this topic…lol

-- If I knew what I was doing, someone would be paying me to do it!

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 4156 days

#12 posted 06-01-2008 06:05 AM

There are some ideas that you haven’t looked at. Technical schools or certificate programs thru colleges. I went to Emt and Paramedic school for about 2 years, spent about $5000. I then got on with a Fire dept that sent me to schools (thier money) to help finish my requirements. I make around 40-45g a year, and only work 1 day out of 3. I work a part time job and make about 20g from it. So, I think that I made a wise finical descision.

P.S. I get to paid to sleep.

-- Adrian ..... The 11th Commandment...."Thou Shalt Not Buy A Wobble Dado"

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 4099 days

#13 posted 06-01-2008 06:56 AM

Somebody told me once that a college education was nothing more than a guided tour through about forty books. The trick is to read the right books.
I started at San Diego State University in 1979 intending to become a civil engineer. It took me all of one semester to change my mind- it just wasn’t interesting enough. So I changed my major to Industrial Arts, and I have never regretted it. Unfortunately, the program was eliminated a few years later because the folks in charge decided that Liberal Arts was more important than Applied Arts. Now there are fewer people qualified to teach shop, and fewer Industrial Arts programs in the high schools.
I am quite proud of my Industrial Arts degree- it was the ticket to good careers in plastics engineering and quality engineering, and now it is the foundation for my new business.

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View Rxmpo's profile


268 posts in 3948 days

#14 posted 06-01-2008 08:31 AM

Very interesting discussion, so here are my 2 cents. I see no reason for someone to spend $100k on a college education if you do not graduate with a profession that has a salary scale to allow you to recoup your investment. Additionally, I advise the kids that work with me to get a degree in a specialty ie accountant, engineer, nurse, physical therapist, or even a pharmacist like myself etc… Notice I didn’t say Lawyer or Doctor because those are post graduate degrees which are even more money! 60 minutes did a story on this new phenomena in which recent grads are not making enough to even pay back their student loans, because they went to schools like Boston College at $45k a year to become a kindergarten teacher. You do the math.

On the other hand a trade is a fantastic option because your tuition is on the job training. You will learn a skill that although it may be cyclical, construction will not be outsourced to India. A Chinese factory cannot frame a house in Ohio… Frankly the best career decision I have seen were the handful of FDNY guys that I went to pharmacy school with. They worked while going through school by doing overnights and switching their schedules and it wasn’t easy for them to do, but now they have a pharmacy license and they will retire from the FDNY after doing 20yrs will full benefits for life and a pension. Brilliant.

Finally a medical field joke which is funny b/c it is true: A woman rushes home from the doctor’s office to meet the plumber and is complaining that her copay was $100 for a full physical with blood work and everything. The plumber hands her the $300 bill for fixing a pipe in her basement that took less than an hour. As she happily writes the check the plumber says to her, hey that doctor’s bill isn’t bad, I used to charge more than that back when I was practicing medicine.

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 4165 days

#15 posted 06-01-2008 01:02 PM

Quite interesting. I have 3 children, all grown. Two married with children. One newly single with child. My oldest daughter is an LPN, married to a man with a collage education. He makes over $150K a year working from home on the internet for IBM. No this is not what he went to collage for, but he did need a degree to get this job. My daughter (the LPN) in back in school to be an RN. She wants to make more money. I taught them to be ready to work. Fine with her, she wants more money.

My son has his own business. No collage, his knowledge came from the Army. He was not trained on computers, but since there was no war he got a job in an office and learned. He now has a ‘Computer Medic’ business. His wife (collage educated) is supporting them as a social worker. They don’t make $100K. They are happy, his business is growing and doing fine.

My youngest is the most wild. She is slightly learning disabled. Collage was never an option. Quit high school, ran away and got married. Got divorced, and a GED. Quit a good factory job and moved from OH to FL with her daughter. Stayed with a girlfriend worked and started her own cleaning business. She now supports her self and lives in a beautiful home. She does not make $100k She does not work every day, takes her kid to the beach and Disneyland and she is home when her daughter gets home from school. They are very happy too.

I guess the key is as long as you are happy doing what you are doing then, you are doing great. Is collage important? Depends on what you want to do.

-- Berta in NC

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