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Do you want something good to read and reflect on today? Here it is.
The proverbial "good job" is a myth!

Yeah, I've said that before, many times. This story examines the issue of how many young people graduate heavily in debt, but without commensurate employment. Traditional, knee-jerk assumptions about the value of college degrees should be challenged.

Back the 60's, my brother said of college education, "People think that college is like a vocational technical school." That was an excellent point, I think, because there is a fine difference between preparing to be employable, and becoming an educated person.

In my opinion, insofar as becoming "educated," colleges are so medieval-era! Colleges and universities were once centers of knowledge, but with the availability of information and books nowadays, that function of colleges is outdated. A degree does not mean you are educated, it merely indicates that you jumped through the hoops to get the official looking piece of paper.

Like +james altucher, ( ) I am doubtful of the oft-quoted maxim that college graduates earn more during their lifetimes. Whereas the figures may appear so on the surface, I think the reality is likely something else.

Rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars to send Susie or Johnny to college, send Susie or Johnny out to work some kind of job for a couple of years. Let them wait tables or pick up trash or clerk or work in a shipping department -- whatever will get them out there in the real working world. Let them experience the joys of dead-end, boring jobs, asshole bosses, and ridiculous HR policies.

Then, after they have done that for a couple of years, point out to them that the odds are that after they graduate from college, they will have to go back to those very same jobs, with the addition of a big, fat debt to pay off.

Instead of throwing the money away on a useless college degree, why not set Susie or Johnny up with their own business instead? Let Susie or Johnny do the hiring and firing.

I do understand there are some jobs for which a college degree is required, such as being a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. But relatively few of the Susies and Johnnys out there want to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers, even if they had the brains and temperaments for it.

I went to college only because it was extremely important to my mother-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks that I do so, as a way of lifting her own social standing, or so she thought. I hated school, but if I had not gone to college, Mom would have killed me. I paid most of my own way through by working student jobs, but that was much easier to do back then than now.

I bear contempt for my degree, but there was one time when it meant something to me. Shortly after I had graduated, I was reading the local Sunday paper, and when I looked at the wedding announcements, item after item read something like, "The bride attended Kansas State University." "Attended!" I yelled, I have a degree!

Overall, I really can not think of anything that made the time and expense of my college degree worth it. Where I actually learned useful skills was at the job I had as a student staff artist, working in the Extension Audiovisual Production office. I still apply the basic principles of what I learned there to my web development today. But, that job was not a college course, and what made it so educational was that I had a boss who was one of those extremely rare creatures: a mentor.

So, overall, I think the typical high school graduate would be ahead to get some kind of job, and then really apply themselves to becoming the best possible person at that job, with the aim of getting promoted within the organization, or getting promoted by getting a better job doing the same thing at another business. Or perhaps even saving money and someday starting their own business.

I remember a conversation I had with a fellow who has his own concrete foundation business. He said that by the time he gets an employee trained to where they are really useful, they leave to go start their own companies.

One of the wealthiest men in my hometown is a guy who after graduating from high school, set up a little shop where he refurbished old cars and sold them. Today, he is the top auto dealer in the state.

Another local success story -- as a college student, a fellow would sell frat and sorority themed tee shirts out of his van at football games. His business grew and today he owns a sportswear company that sells items nationwide, plus he owns several other local businesses and employs thousands of people.

No one taught me how to speak well. No one taught me how to write well. I even taught myself to read because I just wasn't picking it up via classroom instruction. However, I did do a tremendous amount of reading when I was young. I read just about anything I could get my hands on. If nothing else was available, I would read the backs of cereal boxes. I got in trouble at my job at the local newspaper because I read it while I pasted the paper together (yes, we literally pasted the newspaper together with hot wax back then). I gained much more education by working on my self-directed 4-H projects than I ever got from school.

All I really mean to say is, that we ought to question whether college education deserves its sacred status, and that in many cases, it may not be worth going into debt.

[BTW, my daughter has a college degree and is working on a Master's. She joined the National Guard for its educational benefits, and is employed. My son has an Associates degree earned from the area technical college's IT program, and is employed.]
Nearly everyone pursuing a bachelor’s degree is borrowing money, and as prices soar, a college degree often comes with an unprecedented financial burden.
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I think this really applies to the arts more than the sciences. I've long held the belief that we're training everyone the same way we train engineers and physicists, and that's just not a good way to go about it.
I've seen a lot of folks go to college to get a degree in a field that's desperate for more hires. However, by the time they graduate, those jobs are filled or no longer around. You now have a shiny piece of paper and an unrelated, under-paid job.
Bad form.
I earned a BA in Liberal Arts focused on literature and history, then worked as a word processor, desktop publisher, traveling folk singer, and web designer. Then I earned a MS in Geographic Information Science and now I work as a cartographer, and geospatial analyst.

During all that time, even when I was a homeless street musician, I wrote poetry. Now I am writing an epic poem in blank verse about scientists in the evening after my day job.

I think success or failure is contingent on many factors of inherent talents, personal choices, and social environments. My masters in cartography provided me with technical skills, scientific and artistic, that allows me to be employable in a very useful field. My student loan was well-spent on a good degree that gets me jobs I could never get otherwise without the degree.
I am sick and tired of stories like this. Set them up with their own business? Really? So instead of telling your kids to work hard in school and try to get a scholarship, just wait for them to graduate high school and then buy them some gardening tools or a gift card to a hobby store and let them start their own business from their basement? GREAT IDEA!!!

Here's a better one: encourage your kids to work hard in high school, encourage them in productive hobbies, accept that they may just go to a small local school, and have them get small, part-time/entry-level jobs at companies related to the subject they're interested in.

Make sure that when they graduate, they have more than just a piece of paper and time served at some crap job. Employers want to see experience in an office and/or manufacturing setting, working with other professionals, even if it's just as an assistant.

And they should take advantage of their youth and the conceptions that come with it. Have them at least be better than average at new technology, so maybe they can at be hired in a small company/team as the person that can figure out how to set up the new thingamajig.

This defeatist attitude of "oh college doesn't mean anything, we should just give up on sending kids to college and have them be day laborer's with their own name on the back" is silly and does nothing to help America recover from the advanced manufacturing deficit we're experiencing now.

What if Apple or Google or whoever decided to open up gadget manufacturing facilities across the country, who would they hire? The high school graduates who have never worked in a normal business environment in their lives?
I don't think manufacturing will ever make a come back in America unless smaller shops open them.
+Chris Aultman and a man with no legs can run at a near Olympic pace with prosthetic legs. That means that person is an amazingly talented and fortunate person. That does not mean we should give up on a well-established formula, whether it be formal education and related on-the-job training, or 100% human anatomy.
I never said we should. Education is incredibly important, imo. However, the method we're using to teach the new generation is archaic and ancient. Simply saying we should stay in school and study hard doesn't benefit us when we're being programmed to memorize information but not collaborate and brainstorm. It has been stated multiple times that grouping students by age and not aptitude is just a crutch all the way around.
The WAY we teach has got to evolve into something other than it currently is. Otherwise, we're just spinning our wheels.
+Carmelyne Thompson small businesses are usually supplying large businesses, and/or providing services for their employees.
+Chris Aultman I was only commenting on the article's summation that one is better off investing in their child's flower shop than their formal education.

I went to a small, underfunded public school that still had an advanced curriculum for those who were ahead of the rest, but maybe things aren't the way I remember. I would say the easiest "solution" would be to get children into after school programs, similar to the robot design/build challenges out there:

Give them a chance to excel and have a tangible result from it, that should pay huge dividends.
Heck, have some build a robot and others build an app to control it! Someone can make a custom UI, yet another team can be the ones that come up with the level design, MAKE IT CRAZINESS!

And then the kids put their participation and accomplishments on a resume/college application and watch the scholarships roll in.
+Keith Heard I completely agree with you. Citing examples of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and such anecdotal evidences shouldn't be basis of rejected a established norm.
College education is important. It's not that the course you are studying will equip with everything you will be doing later in life. It just gives a way of thinking and analysing problem and solving. A foundation to build upon. Also one shouldn't underestimate the importance of collaborating and learning with people from different places and background.
One thing I can agree is college education shouldn't be expensive and be a burden to the student and family. It will kill the joy of learning and exploring the world for the sake of it.
I posted this yesterday. Mark Cuban says in the next several years the traditional higher education system is going to melt down.

Personally -- and I say this all the time -- I think a revolution is afoot. Online education is (finally) taking off for real. Khan Adacemy, Udacity, Coursera, edX, and the like are going to turn education upside down. They provide a super-cheap education that is more effective than traditional classroom education, and it is delivered by some of the best instructors in the world. Udacity's robotic car class is taught by the guy who led the team that won the DARPA Grand Challenge (Sebastian Thrun). How do you get a more qualified instructor than that? Coursera's Machine Learning class is taught by a man who got model helicopters to learn to fly upside down, without being programmed (Andrew Ng at Stanford). See what I mean? The best instructors in the world.

And yeah, this is college (graduate) level courses, but Khan Academy goes all the way down to elementary school classes.

There's many pieces that still need to be developed, like how you can grant credentials in this environment -- most of what people pay for when they attend school is actually not knowledge, it's a credential (degree), a slice of the university's reputation. People are paying more and more for college because that reputation is more and more valuable in a swamped job market. It will take time to develop an alternative credentialing system that operates outside the traditional "accredited institution" environment. But it will happen. The revolution has started.
What I don't like: debt to get higher education. It needs a revamp. I was thinking about 100++ year old cathedrals, 1000+ year old pyramids today and Roman aqueducts. They still stand. Was anyone with a Bachelors or Masters or PHD involved in building them? Nope.
They were built much differently, often with laborers that weren't being paid, so costs were not much of an issue. Neither was worker safety.

The complexity of buildings now compared to those days is astronomical. Indoor plumbing, electrical wiring, insulation, etc etc.

And that doesn't even get into the high tech products with insane tolerances.
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