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College = High Paying Job, all a farce?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Vince S., Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    To go with last week's "college" trend, I'm really starting to think that college just isn't worth it. My roommate just told me that he saw our former RA who graduated last year. He is now employed full time as a cashier at a local Target store.

    I know quite a few friends who have graduated college and have either moved back home with their parents and mooch off of them, or have a menial, low-paying job somewhere and live in a crappy apartment with no insurance and struggling to pay the bills. Many of these kids were aiming high and had huge aspirations to make it big when they were in school getting their degree, beaming smiles on their faces looking forward to a bright future, but after graduating "reality" hit. The only exception I've seen so far is my cousin, who graduated a couple years ago from Yale Law school (after doing her undergraduate at Harvard) and got picked up by a high-paying law firm in D.C.

    Quite honestly, I do enjoy academia and learning, but I don't see how this is going to be of benefit to me besides using that degree as a resume filler to more easily attain a job. I'm getting my English degree because I'm idealistic and enjoy the subject; I like reading others' works and learning the nuances of literature, writing, and language. The degree might help me get a job as a Paramedic in the future, but honestly, so does solid work experience as an EMT and good references. I feel like I'm dragging on in college just waiting to get out so I can get started on "real life".
  2. That is the main purpose of college. To teach you certain things and at the end to give you a piece of paper that can help get you a job.
  3. it depends on the major, you cannot expect a high paying job if you are a philosophy major, art major, music major.
  4. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    There are some companies (a lot actually) that won't even consider you without a degree, even for entry-level stuff. Some people do fine without a degree, some bump into a lot of closed doors.

    My wife and I are thankful that we've done well for ourselves because our skills and experience speak louder than having a formal education. My wife (who started as a temp with her company 12 years ago) couldn't get a job 3 steps down form her current position if she was just starting out at her company.
  5. Pretty much. College won't make you rich. Choosing the right field and earning those credentials is where to find it.
  6. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    You want a good paying job? Get a degree in engineering or business management or in health care or some other field that desperately needs competent employees. Journalism or art degrees don't count for much on their own.
  7. College worked for me.
  8. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    there are only a handful of jobs out there that where a college education actually comes in useful. especially with the economy the way it is right now, its hard to get a job period, degree or not. you'd be better off going to a trade school then getting a college degree.
    my friend got her AS or AA (I forget which one) and since college hasn't been able to get a job outside of retail. she's currently a manager at a K-Mart, and it doesnt take a degree to obtain that position.

    myself, i quit college 2 years in, i currently work in marketing for a hardware distributor making 50% more an hour than she does, and because of the poor economy was not able to get my yearly raise last year. hopefully things will be different this year.

    college is great if you like to learn, but these days a basic degree is becomming more and more useless.

  9. That is pathetic, your wife has proved that she can do the job, but now she couldn't even move up to it? On the job training will always trump classroom learning. Why? Because one is actually preparing your for what you will be doing, I'll let you decide which one that is. As for collage and university (in particular) they are mere perversions of what they were created as.


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I couldent stop my education at a BA in Philosophy , it just wouldent be prudent at this juncture.
  11. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I have had a number of jobs (in chronological order): Paperboy, busboy, waiter, delivery man, mattress builder, upholsterer (those three were at our family business), cashier, drywaller, roofer, "professional" musician (hey we all rode in a van and lived off our earnings), note taker, summer law clerk, bartender, music writer, web designer, researcher (at Genentech), crime lab analyst, 911 Dispatcher, substitute teacher, high school physics teacher, AP exam grader, bartender again, substitute teacher again, and now I am the merchandising manager for a small company that sells educational equipment.

    I'm sure I missed a few of the short term jobs, but the point is I've had a number of jobs in the last 16 years or so (I'm 31) and I learned a few things. One was that I could get a relatively good paying, enjoyable job without an education. Bartending fits in that category. Another was that education does not guarantee you a good job. I know plenty of lazy college graduates who didn't go far as well as a number of guys with just a high school diploma (for a variety of reasons) who did quite well for themselves.

    So where is the value in the degree? In my opinion it comes from options. Enjoyable, well paying jobs are available for people without a degree, but the fact is that you have a smaller pool to choose from. Of all the jobs I had, I only had one of them (teacher) for more than a year, and I stayed seven years there. It's also one of the jobs that required a degree.

    The takeaway is that college gives you options. It doesn't give you a job. That's your responsibility.
  12. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    You can learn quicker if you have learned the fundamentals of a job already in college.

    You can't be an expert after finishing college because generally it's too broad (at degree level)

    Having a broad base of fundamentals means you can adapt quickly to different jobs and are more marketable to a wider range of potential employers.

    Having learned a job through working you only know how to do that job.
  13. I beg to differ. I am a carpenter, through learning that I can now do home/barn architecture, I am a very good interior designer, I can sell you what you need and how much you need, I can price jobs, I can wire a house, I can plumb a house, I can to the HVAC work in a house and can pour concrete. Plus about 100 other things that I can do now, from learning one job. I could go do any of those things for rather good pay at any time.

  14. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    College is just a stepping stone. If you're looking to make serious money, you probably need a few additional steps. Medical and dental school are pretty solid options right now. There are about a million other lower paying jobs in medicine as well - nurse practitioner/anesthesiologist, for example. EMTs and paramedics generally don't do very well financially, especially when you consider the hours they put in and the strenuous natures of the work.

    Other things to look into are accounting, engineering, and law.

    Any idiot off the street can get a bachelors in basket-weaving nowadays. If you've got great people skills and are very intelligent, then a college degree alone may be enough to get a great job. However, for the rest of us, you absolutely need more education (for most fields).

    And even then, for just about anything in the arts, no number of masters/doctoral degrees is likely to net you a high paying salary, if you can find a job at all. Too many people are graduating college, and in many fields, there are too many PhDs as well. Everyone is doing what they want to do, not what is practical.

    That aside, there is still plenty of money in jobs that don't even require a college degree. Become a good plumber or electrician and you'll be much better off than the vast majority of liberal arts grad. Even a truck driver will do better than many college grads.
  15. The problem is, do you have the bit of paper saying you can do it, dont know about in the states but having the qualification is important, there are just too many cowboys over here (granted alot of qualified ones are too, but there are slightly fewer of them) :scowl:

    I gained my degree because of my interest in the subject, that is the reason im doing my slightly different masters, and the reason I want to do a PhD is as a personal achievement. I really want to complete a fully original piece of work. And if it gets published, and even one person cites it. Then I am more than happy :D

    A college/uni education does not mean you are going to get big money, it increases the chances of you getting decent money tho. The hardest part after finishing college/uni is getting onto the job ladder. So many people have higher educations these days that experience is key!
  16. The only paper to my name is my high school diploma. I am going back to school for engineering, but I was showing that on the job training can do more than just train you for one job.

  17. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    True. Even then it doesn't always work out.

    IMO, it works like this:

    College degree > High school grad

    Experience > College degree

    Who you know > All of the above
  18. Anthbass


    Jul 24, 2006
    I never went to university under the misapprehension that I would emerge with better job prospects, I went because I wanted to learn to 'learn differently'. As others have said, if your interest is the bottom line, choose a professional faculty (engineering, law, medicine) or attend a technical institute and obtain your journeyman papers. I've been in the post- secondary education system long enough now that I am all but effectively unemployable in the private sector. That means I will continue to to 'go to university' until such time as I can work my way into an academic position. I like my life but it ain't for everyone.
  19. warwick.hoy


    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    College = Debt
  20. I'm currently in university and the general consensus is that we're all going to find it harder to find a job than ever before, except those lucky people with medical, engineering and science degrees, as well as those doing teacher training.

    It's a bit of a pain- today's job market is made for the graduate. But the number of people in important degrees such as the sciences are few and far between, and the people doing the arts degrees tend to have the lowest employment rate. So some people end up unemployed this way.
    Also, the credit crunch isn't helping. The NHS here is freezing recruitment in some places because of lack of funds. Some companies are giving graduates incentives to work for them because they NEED them.

    I agree as well that there are few jobs where a university education gives any real advantage. Certainly a lot of my friends who left education at 18 and didn't bother going to uni are doing well.

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