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College degree = worthless

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Robert_Z, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Well-Known Member

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    My ex, who has no college education and is 5 years younger than me, just got a job making 60 percent more money than me. I have a bachelor's degree and 10+ years experience.

    Going to college was a bigger waste of time and money than I ever imagined.
     
  2. benjaminBen

    benjaminBen Well-Known Member

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    i have a tendacy to agree with you. I just recently spoke at a college and realized how little they know about the real world, because alot of these college professors have no idea what goes on in the real world.
    that being said i wouldn't have this job if it wasn't for me getting a degree, but nothing i learned in college helped me to be more successful....
     
  3. CRyan

    CRyan Well-Known Member

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    It can be, depending on the field.

    However, it is getting to the point where a degree is only as good as the masters program you pair it with. In business, you need that masters to make the money.
     
  4. ThomasC

    ThomasC Well-Known Member

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    What kind of degree did you get, Robert? What kind of job does she have?
     
  5. KurtEP

    KurtEP Well-Known Member

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    A lot of people have proven that you can get places without a college degree, but you need a lot of hard work and dedication, little or no risk aversion and plenty of good luck.

    These days, an undergraduate degree is just a way to get doors open, but that can still be very important. Plus, the highest paying professions (medical doctor, dentist, pharmacist, attorney, engineer, accountant, etc.) all require at least a bachelors degree, and more likely grad school.

    If you're going to get a degree in something not directly career related, like accounting or engineering, you should expect to work outside of your degree if you want to make money. There's nothing wrong with that. My undergrad degree is in Economics, and I've never come even close to using it professionally. It did get me into two different graduate programs, though, and allowed me to work as a business consultant for a number of years.

    Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with getting a degree in an area unlikely to pay off if you love the subject. I know a number of people who have done that. They just don't ever expect to get rich, and readily acknowledge that they could make more working in a lot of factories.
     
  6. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

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    There are lots of fields where a college degree doesn't mean much. I admit, I when I was hiring employees, I had three come to me. Two had Computer Science degrees. One did not. The one who didn't, however, had a better grasp of the technology and a far more meaningful resume of clients who I called who vouched for him.

    In the end, his communication skills and know-how meant a lot more to me then the degree, so he got the job.
     
  7. KurtEP

    KurtEP Well-Known Member

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    Those kinds of jobs are certainly out there. It never made sense to me to require college degrees for certain types of work. I knew a guy who had to finish his college degree before he could get a permanent position selling beer. I also know a bunch of very qualified retail managers who could never move up because they didn't finish a degree. In my opinion, if you can do the job, you shouldn't need a degree. (Obviously, that wouldn't include fields like medicine or engineering, but it would include the majority of other types of work.) Sadly, a lot of businesses, particularly large ones, don't look at it that way.
     
  8. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Well-Known Member

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    That is a somewhat relevant question, but only to a point. Growing up, all we were ever told in school is how much more money people with degrees make than people without degrees.

    I wasted several dam years of my life, working several PT jobs to pay my way through school. I got a communications degree, and this field does not pay jack.

    She does some kind of computer software implementation and technical support. I could do that, but I am in my mid 30s. Way too old to make any kind of career change. I am so screwed.

    I feel just like Alan Arkin's character, "Gene," in the movie 13 Conversations About One Thing. He works hard every day, does the right thing, follows the rules, and what does he get?: the shaft.

    I hate to admit this, but even though I still care a lot about her, I am more resentful about my career/financial situation than I am happy for my ex and her success. I hate feeling this way...it really sucks.

    I used to think I was smart. Boy, was I wrong.
     
  9. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

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    Don't say that. I have a friend who worked for me for a year - he's in his fifties. No background in Computer Science before now. Learned on the job as I hired him mostly for sales because he was good with clients, and he quickly learned the lingo.

    He left last year and works for the government, does about $60k a year + federal benefits as a Systems Administrator-II.

    He has -No- certifications, no education in it, but he's good with clients and he's learned enough in the two years he worked here that I wouldn't be scared to let him at least look at something.
     
  10. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Well-Known Member

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    No, you're not too old. You can make a change anytime you want. If you were nearing 60, it would complicate things far more but being in your 30's, you still have 20-30 years of gainful employment before you will be thinking of retirement. That is a LONG time and the time it takes to get started in a new career isn't that much. You've already learned that you don't necessarily need a college degree to get further ahead in life and that opportunities are there for anyone with a good employment record and attitude. Either make a change or keep playing the lottery.

    Bruce
     
  11. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    Speaking as a university professor, I couldn't disagree more. We are, believe it or not, very concerned about employability of our students, and spend a Hell of a lot more time constructing references, contacting prospective employers, etc, than students seem to think. As for the 'real world' remark, it'd be laughable if it were not such a tedious and grossly inaccurate cliche.

    The solid hard fact is that the average income of a degree-educated person is significantly higher than for a non-degree-educated person. This does not mean that there aren't exceptions, nor does it mean that in some instances a degree-less person won't be better at some kinds of job. However, exceptions do not disprove the general rule.

    Like anything in life, you've got to work hard to get on. A degree is not an automatic passport to riches. Sure, it gives you a head start, but nobody said getting a degree was *all* you needed.
     
  12. DanFe

    DanFe Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to be 47 soon and will possibly be looking into another field. Robert's attitude would scare me if I thought I couldn't start over at my age. I feel I have at least 20 years left in me.
     
  13. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    If you look at the numbers what they told you in school is still true . . . on average people with degrees still make considerably more than those without degrees. Unfortunately not everyone fits perfectly into these averages.

    Also, you have a degree that just doesn't lead to much money. Most liberal arts degrees are this way as well. The real crime is that people who want to be teachers are expected to get Masters degrees now and still don't make jack (I'm not a teacher, but I had several friends in school who were working on their masters in teaching).
     
  14. BrianW

    BrianW Well-Known Member

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    Robert, you make it sound as if having a degree is a disadvantage. It isn't. It gives you something your ex doesn't have. The only thing she has that you don't have is the will and determination to make her resources work for her.

    As for starting a new career in your 30s, I'm 48 right now, and I'm currently in the process of making a career change. Frankly, I couldn't be more excited about it. Ten years from now, my goal is to have a successful business of my own and to have enough saved up for early retirement.

    Where will you be ten years from now if you don't make a career change?
     
  15. benjaminBen

    benjaminBen Well-Known Member

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    I didn't say all, you may be the exception to the rule. I do believe that professors are concerned about their students, but it doesn't mean that they are prepared. Also it could just be the cast with the college i spoke at.

    I spoke before the marketing club (comprised of juniors and a lot of seniors) I spoke on the very basics of marketing and they we all in awe. They had never heard about the concepts and ideas that i spoke on. I am not some genius, most of my concepts come from Dale Carnegie, Harvey Mackay, etc.. Concepts that have been around for decades. I was shocked that when i would answer questions they didn't have any familiarity of what i was talking about.....
     
  16. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Premium
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    I failed out of college ten years ago and my brother has a bachelor's degree in communications. I make a hell of a lot more money as a service tech than he does working at a hotel. Although there are some positions that require a degree to get your foot in the door there is no substitute for experience.
     
  17. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

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    I do think there needs to be a shift in how we push college, though, if that's the point.

    I had a roommate in College who should not have been there. But his family believed in it, so he went. So, for 6 years, he slogged through an English degree.

    He now works as a plumber. And a pretty good one. Trade school was 6 months, he's certified, and makes decent money. But his 6 years of college debt (about $60k) means every month he's paying out a good chunk of $$ for a degree he doesn't use.

    The reality is, there are lots of people who SHOULD be in college, and a college degree is in no way a detriment.

    But there are also a lot of people who get pushed into college when to be honest, they aren't really going to get as much out of it except for debt. That's hard to say, but there are lots of high schoolers who would be better off if they were encouraged to look into trade schools first rather then a college experience.
     
  18. Scott L

    Scott L Well-Known Member

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    What can we learn from this thread?

    Comm degrees are the easiest way out of college, but the hardest way into a six-figure salary. [​IMG]
     
  19. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

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    I'm reminded of the Avenue Q song "What Do you Do with a BA in English"

     
  20. David Hobbes

    David Hobbes Well-Known Member

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    Another aspect of your career and one that might get overlooked but is very important, is how much do you enjoy your job?

    I have a Masters in Library Science degree. I work in a public library and make around $28-30K. (but i have great benefits). Not a lot of money, but i absolutely love my job. I love going to work every day and it's a job that i would enjoy if i had to work until i was 90!!
     

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