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Posted: 1/1/2007 12:01:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 12:19:19 AM EDT by fatboy79]
I am at a crossroads, I have a good job with good pay and benefits but I really don't like my job.I have about 37 collage credits and I have been thinking of going back and finishing. The fields  I would like to do are wildlife,archeology,and history. I do not want to teach and in talking to department heads in these three fields a B.A. degree isn't really that good. Is it really worth the time 4 years or so since I would still work full time, and I would most likely take a paycut in this state. Or should I go to a trade school. I also looked at the railroad. I tried the military but with knee sugery it was a "probably not" but I will try again in the future. Any suggestions welcome.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:03:13 AM EDT
I don't know. But they say college is a good investment
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:03:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 12:04:51 AM EDT by chips]
collage?


ETA:   and from what i've seen, college helps.  i've thought about it myself, and i've made a decision.  i go back to school in a couple of weeks.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:03:34 AM EDT

Is collage really worth it?


I don't know, you tell me.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:04:31 AM EDT
In college they will tell ya that "collage" is making a bunch of pictures into a theme or something.
I didn't take art so I don't know.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:05:34 AM EDT
I think the true beauty of collage is that it allows the artist to select images of items relevant to themselves, and assemble them into an image relevant to the viewer.

I learned about that in an Art Appreciation class... in collEge.  
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:06:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 12:06:38 AM EDT by BushmasterGuy77]

Is collage really worth it?


Not this one:

Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:06:17 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:07:11 AM EDT
Yes, spell check is even better.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:07:38 AM EDT
I don't think collage or college either one will help you a bit.  
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:07:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 12:10:37 AM EDT by Recorderguy]
I'd get your money back for those 37 credit hours.

Collage.  Really?


FYI on the Railroad: (worked MOW for a very large Class I)


The railroad isn't for everybody.  If you can put up with the work, the schedule, and possibly be assigned all over creation, working crazy hours, it may be ok.

M.O.W. is the hardest working, lowest paid bunch.  Also can be fun, and you may get to drive some cool machinery.  NOT a career.

Go for anything else in the railroad.

Signals is good.

Engineering & Conductors make a lot, but it's hard to get in and it may be expensive if you have to pay for the school yourself.

Signals is very good.

Don't go MOW.

Signals is good

The money is good.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:08:19 AM EDT
Yes.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:18:24 AM EDT
It really depends on what makes you happy, and if college is required to get there. If you want to be a Lawyer, Doctor, or Engineer, then yes, go to college.

However, If you are going just to make more money, then not necessarily. Depending on your age, get in with a good company as early as you can, get some seniority,find a job within the company that you like, and you will have it made. I took about 90 hours of Criminal Justice in college, and never did anything with it. In hindsight,I should have skipped college, saved my parents the $$, and gone in to some form of the armed services the day I left high school,  I work for Fed Ex express and have a very good job with them, no thanks to college.However, had I gone into some form of the armed services, I could be an aircraft mechanic for Fed Ex and doing VERY WELL. Also I have a few friends that work with various utility companies such as AEP Swepco and Bell South, and they do quite well with no college degree.

It all depends on why you want to go, and what you want to study. If you think that by your going you will be promised a rewarding job with tons of money, then no.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:18:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 12:20:30 AM EDT by fatboy79]
Sorry about the spelling.... really should have checked spelling before posting here but it's my first drunk post.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:31:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 12:32:25 AM EDT by 53vortec]
I don't think so, but then again I'm 26 and retired so WTF do I know?
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 12:38:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 9:02:15 PM EDT by Master_Blaster]

Originally Posted By meszues:
I don't know. But they say college is a good investment


Generally, I tend to look at college as a good investment if you pick the right major.  That said, I'm finishing up my 2nd degree & will then pursue a 3rd immediately thereafter (I'm combining the benefits of 2 of those degrees pursuant to a longer-term goal).  From my perspective, most of the "-ology" degrees don't typically translate into a good job most of the time (biology, criminology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, etc.).  These are fine degrees in & of themselves, but they're usually don't track towards post-grad, professional employment.  Hard sciences tend to be much better in that regard.  Business is never bad, but it won't guarantee anything, per se.  Accounting might be better.  Post-graduate professional schools (MD, JD, Pharm, etc.) are probably a wise move, though I'd talk to people working in those fields firsthand before jumping.  The grass is not always greener.

My advice to anyone going to college & looking for a major would be to actually sit down & write those subjects &/or fields of personal interest & then go do some personal research on them.  Talk to people in the profession; the web is full of good information on jobs/careers (I would have drawn blood to have access to such information back in the mid-late 80's); don't be afraid to look outside of your interests - you never know what's out there, or what might peak your interest.

Maybe even more importantly, examine professional & social trends.  "High tech" is in a state of flux, though there are certainly still good jobs to be had.  The burnout rate tends to be higher.  Personally, I'd staying away from professions that can be readily outsourced (The "hot" trend in business these days), software being a good example.  Networking appears to be a solid field w/ a stable future, & it has to be done right here.  "Johnny" working in Bangalor, India can't remotely fix a network problem here in the US.

Nursing is a job-hunter's gold-mine, though few are probably aware of the undercurrent of politics & the "nursing culture" (RN's do indeed eat their young).  Still, there are many good gigs to be found, & if it's something in your sphere of interest, have a look.  Hell, I just saw a PSA about the need for RNs.  With the median age rising for the general population, it doesn't take a sage to know what fields will be in the demand in the future.  I'd considred working towards RN Anesthetist for awhile, but have decided on something different.  It's a good field, though.

Hope this helps some.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 5:09:37 AM EDT
Worth every dollar. I mean, you spend $30,000 on a car that lasts 5 years. Why not spend that on a degree that lasts a lifetime?

BTW history is fun to study but does not pay much for most. Good luck.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 5:10:59 AM EDT
as a rule, college grads make more $ than non college grads - as a rule
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 5:16:09 AM EDT
yes just get someone else to pay for it
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 5:17:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AssaultRifler:
as a rule, college grads make more $ than non college grads - as a rule


as a rule, or a trend?  and yes, it is mostly true.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 5:18:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 5:18:29 AM EDT by gopeterson]

Originally Posted By AssaultRifler:
as a rule, college grads make more $ than non college grads - as a rule


On average, a college grad makes $900,000 more over a lifetime than one without a college degree.  Link

There are always huge exceptions to that average.  Like Tom Monahan who was the founder of Dominos Pizza.  I believe he dropped out of high school.  Or Bill Gates who dropped out of Harvard.  

There are also ne'er-do-wells like my brother who have degrees from prestigious schools who barely make ends meet.  
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 5:18:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fatboy79:
I have a good job with good pay and benefits


Understand that later in life, what you percieve to be adequate today, may not be held with the same regard. What I once considered 'good pay' would pretty much put me in the poor house now.

An education is important if you desire opportunity. Without a diverse set of skills you may find that your choices later are limited. In the grand scheme of life, a four year investment in anything is a very small price to pay. In this case, the reward may greatly outweigh the investment.

Not saying a great productive life cannot be had without education...but in my opinion, it requires a lot more luck if you choose to go that direction
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 5:26:02 AM EDT
I think its BS myself and would rather not pay 70K to listen to 2-4 years of attempted liberal brainwashing, thats said I have a 2 year degree that isnt worth the paper its printed on
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 5:34:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 5:36:40 AM EDT by five2one]

As my father used to say to me, "I don't care what you do, just be good at it".

College isn't worth it if you can't learn well what college has to offer.  I see a lot of students who are C- students who will struggle to get their degree, not really remember anything, not be attractive to the better paying/better opportunity jobs, and only be able to achieve entry level positions for low pay. For these types of students, I'd say it isn't worth it economically, but still they pursue because the field is their dream.

For some, their heart's desire is a fascinating or personally rewarding career, but relatively low paying field.  Many people find that not having money to take vacations, buy cases of ammo or a new gun each month to be unsatisfying in the long run.  I know a lot of people who have "jobs" that make them money so they can "play hard" and they seem happy enough.

If you can learn well, be good at the job, enjoy the work, and it pays enough to provide a satisfactory life style (or have opportunity for better pay), then yes, college is worth it.  There is also something to be said for getting a general higher education where you learn about lots of different things. Most of the really smart people I know are people who make connections between different knowledge domains.



Link Posted: 1/1/2007 5:46:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fatboy79:
I am at a crossroads, I have a good job with good pay and benefits but I really don't like my job.I have about 37 collage credits and I have been thinking of going back and finishing. The fields  I would like to do are wildlife,archeology,and history. I do not want to teach and in talking to department heads in these three fields a B.A. degree isn't really that good. Is it really worth the time 4 years or so since I would still work full time, and I would most likely take a paycut in this state. Or should I go to a trade school. I also looked at the railroad. I tried the military but with knee sugery it was a "probably not" but I will try again in the future. Any suggestions welcome.


I have a college education and I don't like my job either. But, I have been doing it ten years, I'm pretty good at it, and it pays the bills.

Whether you should finish or not is a personal decision. What are your motivations for wanting a degree? More money? Prestige? Or a more satisfying profession?

The fields you mentioned don't pay well with only a B.A. level degree. Even is you choose the wildlife field (i.e. working for your state's Environmental Conservation dept.), a masters is generally preferred. My BIL just finished his masters (can't recall in what) and works for EnCon. He took a big pay cut by taking a job with the state, but he should be back up to where he was within two years. I'm not sure what he makes, but I imagine it is less then what someone with a masters should be making.

Have you though about becoming an electrician? I heard they make very good money but I'm not sure how to get your foot in the door.

Anyway, I wasn't impressed by college. I didn't have a good time and most of what I learned isn't applicable to my current job, even the courses from my major. And yes, I work in the field I went to school for. The only thing college did for me was get my foot in the door at a very good company fresh out of college.

But, as my father once told me, 'No one can ever take away an education'.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 6:45:05 AM EDT
Nothing better than the college pie buffet!

Link Posted: 1/1/2007 6:57:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shastacles:

Originally Posted By AssaultRifler:
as a rule, college grads make more $ than non college grads - as a rule


as a rule, or a trend?  and yes, it is mostly true.


But is it more money and more debt!

If so I would take less money with less debt.

Then again if mommy and daddy paid for the education  go for it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 6:58:57 AM EDT
I don't know much about collages, but college is definitely worth it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 7:07:00 AM EDT
In todays society, a college education is becoming mandatory to get a decent job.  Even though it won't guarantee immediate success you stand a far better chance at making decent money and not having to work your ass off in menial jobs when you are 40 years old.

 I would pursue a BS instead of a BA and try to get some intern experience during college.  I know a lot of people that are more educated but can't translate that into a marketable skill set after graduation and end up being "under-employed", such as waiting tables, etc....  So take some time to think about what you like and what will make you some money.  I would suggest science, technology, or engineering as a start.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 7:19:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 7:29:15 AM EDT by VTHOKIESHOOTER]
Uhh yeah.

ETA DO not going into Wildlife........fun stuff to learn but you will never be able to do anything with it, if you ACTUALLY find a job in that field you will get nothing but long hours and low pay.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 7:20:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By -Absolut-:
I don't know much about collages, but college is definitely worth it.


In what way?

One needs to be out of collage and in the work force for let say 10-15 year to say if it was worth it or not.

North Carolina State Police will take a person W/O a collage degree.

All local law enforecment over in the east don't require it.

It is more about will you accept the pay then are you qualified for the job.

A young person would be better off to get a degree (if that is what they truly want) and join the military then join the civillian work force.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 7:32:42 AM EDT
If I had it to do over again, I would have gotten a trade out of high school and worked for a couple years, and then chosen a degree to work on.  As it is, I ended up with a useless bs bachelors and now think I wasted my time.

I ended up going back to school to get an associates in nursing, and the career potential for that associates is actually better than my very good friend who is polishing off his MBA at Pepperdine, a well-respected business school.

If I were you, I would consider a trade school first, work for a year or two in the trade to build up your book of pictures, and then work on the side while you build your professional life.  There is no shame in working for a living, and while it's great to be an archeologist, know that those guys make something like $25K a year.  Work part time as an archeologist and part time as a bricklayer and you can live much better.

IMO, having a trade is a lifelong safety net.  If you pursue a professional career and something takes a turn for the worse, you can have a job before breakfast the next day.  That is security.  THEN take a run at something more upper-class.

Also, consider the idea of working as a tradesman while having a degree in History.  It's OK to work with your hands for a living while being educated in history.  You'll probably learn more about history after you graduate just because books are so cheap and easy to get, and you can learn about anything you want at any time.  Still, getting the degree means you have been shown a  broad scope of some particular time in the world.  Education is worthwhile on its own as personal enrichment apart from monetary reward.

Happy new year
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 7:43:53 AM EDT
Why is it people these days put no value on LEARNING THINGS?  Learning a equitable job skill is important in college.  A degree in Accounting will get you much further in life then a degree in "Woman's Studies" however when in college you need to take the opertunity to learn about say Vivaldi, Bach and other composers or read some forms of lit that you wouldn't get a chance to learn about.

College also give you a chance to learn how to manage your daily life and prepair you for the real world without the penalty of getting fired or sued.  You get to meet new people and learn about how they were raised.

These things will help you substantially when you are older
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 8:00:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 8:00:48 AM EDT by ProGunFemme]
Coming from a home with two college grads and no career related to English or Psychology (our degrees) to show for it, I'd say it's not worth it unless you know exactly what you're going to do. Liberal arts degrees, of course, are typically going to be useless unless you either get a masters or specialize. I'm seriously considering going back to get my masters so I can teach college-level composition.

It's so cliche, but only you know what's best for you. College isn't for everyone, and those who are in it because their parents made them or they got a bunch of free money only devalue the worth of the degrees of those who really wanted theirs. Because just about every Joe Schmoe has a bachelor's these days, employers have to raise their standards. In short, only you know the answer to your own question.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 8:02:13 AM EDT
i finished one semester of college, got a 3.5 GPA from that and quite while I was ahead. 3 months 2 days before boot.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 8:03:25 AM EDT
2 things:
(1) There are a lot of women in college, and I met my wife in the library while I was in college.
(2) Initially, for some jobs you won't need a college degree, true; but if you want to advance you may need a BA/BS, or MBA/MS.  It all depends.  Some companies use this as an excuse to bypass you for promotions, I've seen it.  If you're in civil service(ie govt jobs), they use this as selection critieria.  Make up your mind pretty quickly, because if you are not married, and maybe be married in the future, this is a good time to get your degree.  I know one guy who was 40 when he got his BS, and he had to work like a dog, ie family, house, and work.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 8:05:25 AM EDT
I dunno.  I've worked alongside people before with college degrees that didn't know their asses from a hole in a ground.  Then again, I think I'd probably have an easier and better paying job if I went back to school and relearned something else.

If you've got the option, I'd say go back to school.  No one can take away what you learn.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 9:41:10 AM EDT
Thanks for all the replies. My reasons for going back to school are to get a better job, better pay, and a job I like to do. I also love to learn and the three fields I mention are the ones I like to learn the most. I could probably do grave yard for a few years,(no kids) and I can do my homework at work. Education at my current job is not always used for promotion, I think they write the qualifications for the next promotion based on who they want to promote anyway. My mother has a masters that didn't really help her get a job, everbody wanted experience. My wife has a B.S. and that didn't really help her get her job, her experience did, but she has said it gave her oppertunities she wouldn't have had otherwise. She also is not working in the field she earned her degree in.My friend went from H.S to collage got a engineering degree and it took him about two years to find a job, even though he made the honor roll. My brother works for the RR and makes good money, they are training him and in two years he will be making damn good money.Either way my wife will support me and money wise right now we can afford it if I go to school, or if I have to take a lower paying job.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 9:06:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2007 9:16:34 PM EDT by Master_Blaster]

Originally Posted By Peak_Oil:
If I had it to do over again, I would have gotten a trade out of high school and worked for a couple years, and then chosen a degree to work on.  As it is, I ended up with a useless bs bachelors and now think I wasted my time.

I ended up going back to school to get an associates in nursing, and the career potential for that associates is actually better than my very good friend who is polishing off his MBA at Pepperdine, a well-respected business school.

If I were you, I would consider a trade school first, work for a year or two in the trade to build up your book of pictures, and then work on the side while you build your professional life.  There is no shame in working for a living, and while it's great to be an archeologist, know that those guys make something like $25K a year.  Work part time as an archeologist and part time as a bricklayer and you can live much better.

IMO, having a trade is a lifelong safety net.  If you pursue a professional career and something takes a turn for the worse, you can have a job before breakfast the next day.  That is security.  THEN take a run at something more upper-class.

Also, consider the idea of working as a tradesman while having a degree in History.  It's OK to work with your hands for a living while being educated in history.  You'll probably learn more about history after you graduate just because books are so cheap and easy to get, and you can learn about anything you want at any time.  Still, getting the degree means you have been shown a  broad scope of some particular time in the world.  Education is worthwhile on its own as personal enrichment apart from monetary reward.

Happy new year


This is good advice also.

ETA:  It's more common than not that people work in fields unrelated to their educational background.  Some because they choose to, otherd because they had to (IOW's the market for their chosen major was insufficient in some way).  As I mentioned before, research the professions & talk to people in those fields.  Take anything that college department reps/counselors say w/ a grain of salt - they get more budget money by enrolling more students in their program.

If you're interested in engineering fields, I'd personally recommend chemical or civil engineering.  Both seem to be more stable than the others.  As I mentioned prior, nursing jobs are probably going to be plentiful through this generation; lots of opportunities; lots of BS also.  I plan to combine my comp sci degree w/ a degree in nuclear medicine.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 9:33:52 PM EDT
My friend, ensure you go through...

Nah, nevermind.  I'll instead recommend that you run spell check before turning in papers should you attend college.



Mike
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 9:52:54 PM EDT
If your heads on right and you can afford it go and finish college before a wife/girlfriend and kids drag you down. I was not lucky enough to be able to go due to average grades and no way to pay for it. When I was a young man you had to get a bank loan to go to college. You could not get the assistance young people can get today.  I was lucky enough to get into law enforcment and did OK for myself. I would have liked to have studyed for a LEO career in college. Perhaps it would have helped when I went up for promotions. I think it would have put me on a faster track than what I experianced. I still got there but I think a lack of a college education held me back some.  

Beware of the RR, my uncle worked for Norfork/Sourthern and they layed him off a year and a half from retirement. Food for thought.
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 10:07:34 PM EDT
Is college worth it?

Hell yes.  If for no other reason than the pie...
Link Posted: 1/1/2007 11:56:01 PM EDT
This grad says NO! Unless you are really going to learn something technical (ie engineering, nuclear physics, medical, etc). Otherwise it is just a piece of paper that might only help you b/c an employer likes the fact that you have it.
Link Posted: 1/2/2007 2:01:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/2/2007 2:01:55 AM EDT by 80FL]

But is it more money and more debt!

If so I would take less money with less debt.

Then again if mommy and daddy paid for the education go for it.


This sums up quite well why the value of a college degree has been reduced over the years.

Obviously there are many professions where a degree is an absoulte necessity.  If you are going into a field where a degree is not a necessity, than a degree is only as valuable as the paper it's written on.

As an employer, the prospective employee with a degree only tells me that perhaps "mommy and daddy" footed the bill for four additional years of partying.  When I meet a person who footed the bill themselves, it shows me a dedicated person who puts high value on their future and will most likely be an asset;  no matter what the degree is in.
Link Posted: 1/2/2007 2:28:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/2/2007 2:29:59 AM EDT by VooDoo3dfx]
In today's day in age.. its worth it.

Statistically the amount of money you earn with a BA/BS vs. just a diploma is extremely high.

ETA: Just be wise about where you go.. I went to a community college for the first two years, paid tuition all in cash. My last two years of a reputable university will cost me some $ in loans... but its no where near the amount of going for four years worth.

/shivers
Link Posted: 1/2/2007 4:15:22 AM EDT
This is not an attempt at Arfcom humor, but you need both.  Let me tell you two, distinct stories.

The first concerns a gentleman here on Arfcom I am aquaintences with.  He has an excellent job he loves, plays with all the cool military toys, and is in one way or another directly responsible for the quality of certain products our military uses every single day - and he makes more money than I'll ever realize.  On a whim, I PM'd him to inquire a little more about exactly what he does, how he came to do it, and what criteria needed to be met for an entry level position in his field.  He was very approachable, and much to his credit, took a great deal of his time to explain in depth all of my intrusive questions.

To my surprise, this working engineer has NO degree of any type.  He has certain certifications necessary for his position, but absolutely zero post-secondary accreditted education.  He began his career at the very bottom, and it was his determination and ability to learn and apply himself that brought him to the top of his field; where he now sits in a position that very few people could fill, much less succeed in.  Many people here know him and respect him, and his years of working his way up have given him a humble attitude and you'd never know the man is where he is at.  He has promised to entertain me for a few beers, which is an opportunity I will not miss under any circumstances.

Of course, his path began some time ago and breaking into his field right now is virtually impossible without an engineering degree at the Master's or better level.  But his story is truly one that shows determination is the precursor to success and happiness, not necessarilly post-secondary education.

My best friend is not unlike this gentleman (and I do not use that term loosely - a gentleman he is).  With little to no education or experience, he mapped his path 20 years ago when he decided on law enforcement.  He will be retiring soon and makes 6 figures a year as an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).  You'll be very hard pressed indeed to find men of such character and intelligence as these two.  I am honored to know both.

But the second story is a little different and is my personal experience.  

My first day of Infantry Basic Training occured exactly 25 days after I turned 18.  I served four years pounding the ground and ETS'd (End of Time in Service) 10 Jan, 1993.  Before my stint in the Army, I had been working full-time since 14 or 15, and part-time from the age of 12.  I dropped out of school in 7th grade and never went back sans to get my GED to meet the Army's requirements.  

Entering the civilian workforce once again at 23, I chose construction as I love to work hard and with my hands.  I apprenticed as an electrician, framing houses on the side.  I, too, started at the very bottom:  Digging ditches in 120-degree AZ heat.  I was the first on the site and the last off, every day, showed up sober, worked harder than anyone else, and asked a ton of questions.  Continuing this diligence, I was running commercial work before most of the guys I had started with were proficient at bending pipe.  I was a go-getter, and my foremen all made certain I got every opportunity to work up.  

5 years after beginning the elctrical trade I was running 40-man crews on some of the most challenging projects.  I decided new commercial construction was too easy--it had lost its appeal after the learning curve steadied--and moved to industial/commercial, where I was once again running large crews.  I loved being an electrician, and I made good money with good benefits.  I was on my way to a stellar career that would eventually find me in Project Management, which is where the real money is.

But in early 2002, that all changed.  I shattered my right leg in a very complicated spiral fracture and, having just changed companies a month or two earlier, had no insurance.  I got a crappy, state-appointed doctor whose surgery made my leg even worse. Ironically enough, the 4th of this month will be 5 years from the date of my injury.  My leg is worthless today, and full-time physical labor is impossible.  My career as an electrician   is over, and 11 years of my life, not including the 4 years Infantry, are essentially wasted.  Now, at 36, I can't find a job anywhere.

Why?  Because you can't break out of the blue-collar field and into the white-collar field without a degree.  I was so intent on being an electrician I allowed my GI Bill to elapse--there is a 10-year cap--and had ZERO college credits.  It had never occured to me I wouldn't be able  to be an electrician, and I failed to plan for the contigincies.  

My GED was good enough for the Army and construction, but there are no jobs out there in the electrical field that are nothing but office work that don't require a degree.  Imagine the shock of going from $27 an hour and HIGHLY desired in your respective trade to $0 an hour and being shunned to the point you're shown the door before the ink can dry on your resume'.  Even companys I had once worked for and knew my talents and knowledge told me, essentially, to get bent.  No estimating experience?  No job.  I've heard that from literally a hundred or more electrical contracting organizations, from design/build to residential cookie-cutter housing.  

I am a 36-year old gimp, virtually unemployable outside of telemarketing, with 24 years of working years behind me.  Capiece?  I'm also a 36-year old college student.  



If you've taken the time to read all of the above, you'll see why I say to "get both."  No man should be without the ability to use his hands proficiently, but it doesn't always equate to possibilities to put food on the table and pay the bills.  In essence, shit happens.  Life is fickle, and with today being tomorrow's yesterday not one of us knows what the future holds.  You can be an ass-buster for 12 years, and unemployable the very next day.  

But it isn't essential to choosing a career.  It's a fallback.  Determination, diligence, and hard work will ursurp any degree out there.  But you still need a degree, and not some 2-year community garbage degree, either.  

Some here are advocating avoiding college if you're not 100% committed to it.  Horse hockey.  You NEED it, even if you never USE it.  Get an accredited 4-year degree that has enough credits and laterals it can be transferred to a business program of some form or another.  Choose your electives carefully:  An elective in the mating principles and methods of the African Mud Frog is USELESS, even if you're interested in the mating rituals of the African Mud Frog.  Get at least basic accounting and the liberal studies--as much as they suck--like ethics, human resource management, and business law.  Do well in those, and don't worry about your grades in art, food design, and the airspeed of the European Unladen Swallow.  

It's great to chase your dreams in college, but get useful skills first.  You may one day be forced to fall back on that piece of paper to eat and house yourself.  You may not like it, but you damn well should have it just in case...  You carry a firearm just in case, right?  You keep money in the bank just in case, right?  

Don't be an idiot like I was.
Link Posted: 1/2/2007 4:24:30 AM EDT
Yes it probaly is.
Link Posted: 1/2/2007 4:26:55 AM EDT

As an employer, the prospective employee with a degree only tells me that perhaps "mommy and daddy" footed the bill for four additional years of partying. When I meet a person who footed the bill themselves, it shows me a dedicated person who puts high value on their future and will most likely be an asset; no matter what the degree is in


Well said, as for me I am a dropout thank god Uncle Sam taught me drive and a skill. I now own three small companies and pay alot of taxes. We have office girls with higher education than myself but are not motivated beyond what color lip gloss will I wear today.
Link Posted: 1/2/2007 6:20:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Torqued:
Nothing better than the college pie buffet!



+1, that was about the best thing to happen in college! and meeting my wife...

Seriously though, you may have a nice job right now, but what happens in 5 years if you get fired or laid off? Is your current job skill set something that can be easily translated into another job?
Example of what I am getting at: My friend in high school skipped out on college to start working as a golf course design manager...he traveled the country, made alot of $$ that he spent on womenz and booze, and generally did everything that I wanted to do while I was stuck in Mid-Missouri chasing tail around the clock and poor as a beggar in Somalia. Fast forward 10 years, I am married, have a baby, a homeowner, steady job, good money (I am a college grad), he on the other hand, got fired for some dumb thing he did, has a H.S. diploma, and he worked in a very "narrow" field of work: he now he is applying for jobs as a grounds worker for $11.15/hour while living in his parents basement.
This is just one example, but it illustrates a point, if you go to college for something that can satisfy the ubiquitous minimum quals of most high paying professional jobs of just having a bachelors degree, you will find yourself better off down the road. Of course there are exceptions to this, but by and large, going to college for a useful degree is a great investment. Skilled trades and other options like that are an option if college does not seem appropriate for you.
Link Posted: 1/2/2007 7:02:26 AM EDT
It is all about idenitfying a path to open as many doors as possible.  I will tell you a story about a LAZY college student I knew VERY well.

This student started college thinking, "I will get a degree in accounting, because it will get me hired with the FBI as a Special Agent."  FIVE years later, after a change of major, and dropping to part time status to make a pile of money tending bar this person graduated with a degree in Government and Politics from a pretty good school.  This student then started a crappy, entry-level, dead-end job with a fortune 100 company in the DC area.  After 1 year of this misery, and with a couple bucks (not many actually) in the bank, this student went to grad school to get an MA in Political Science.  Upon starting to search for jobs in PoliSci with an MA this person decided to get a PhD, because it opens more doors.

Well, 1 year into the PhD program, calls started coming in, offering pretty good jobs, jobs that the PhD would help, but wasn't necessary.  This "Student" became an instructor at one of the top undergraduate schools in the country, and stayed for three years, until "I hate academia" set in (talk to any academic, they will tell you what this is about).  

This student moved on from academia to work in the defense industry doing POLMIL analysis.  The requirement to get an interview was AT LEAST an MA in a relevant area of study.  Now, this student is entertaining a variety of moves involving the top name firms in the country in defense contracting.  

Now, to prove the value of college, I will count up the doors that were open only because of academic credentials:
1.  Fortune 100 company (job sucked, but it looks great on a resume)
2.  Teaching (needed at least an MA, PhD would have allowed me to grow a LOT more)
3.  Private sector professional services (I have tried to help people without degrees break into this industry, and it requires a LOT of skills acquired elsewhere, like being enlisted in the military for a few years.

In a pinch, I can sling drinks or sell stuff with the best of them, because I WORKED in college and learned some things along the way.  However, I would still be slinging drinks behind a bar, or selling electronics, or building houses, if not for a college degree.  I don't belittle any of those professions, I had a lot of fun making my way in life, met some good folks, and learned valuable skills.  But, college opens doors that are not open to folks without a degree.  It isn't necessarily right, but it is the way the world works.

Finish a degree, you are never worth LESS money because of it.

shooter
Link Posted: 1/2/2007 7:23:45 AM EDT
College is definitely worth it.  When hiring for professional positions, I don’t even consider resumes from people without a college degree.  I don’t care what the degree was in, I just want you to have it.  Right now on my marketing team, I have people with degrees in Political Science, Chemistry, and Education.  And even though I have an MBA, my undergraduate degree was English.  At a bare minimum, a college degree says that you can read and write.  Two skills that are in short supply.

But more importantly, as a hiring manager a degree tells me that you can set a goal for yourself and finish it.  It’s not easy to start a 4 year project and see it to completion while coordinating financial, academic, and personal support structures.

Besides, if you do it right, college will be the best 4 (or 5!) years of your life.
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