You've probably heard the mantra your whole life:
Go to school so you can get a good job with steady pay and good benefits.
But we're not living in this world anymore. The last 10 years have totally changed everything. It's no longer enough to have a college degree. It's no longer enough to stay in the same position for the rest of your life. Things are much more dynamic now. We have tons of competition overseas from people willing to work for a lot less. We have competition abroad from all the people with college degrees. Before you go out and get a college degree you really need to think through what is best for you.
Is college necessary?
Really think this one through. If most people are going to college and most people are poor, why should you go to college? Just because you hear about college your whole life doesn't mean that it's a good idea. Most people who go to college go because they don't know what else to do. It is kind of an act of confusion. If you're not really sure what to do and you're a bit scared about stepping out into the real world college can become quite appealing. But college isn't always the answer. Look at how many people go to college never to use their degree or the field of their study.
College is a huge commitment, especially if you're unsure of what you're doing. If you're going just because everyone else is going you're doing it wrong. College should have a specific reason and you should gauge the field that you want to work in before you go to college. Want to become an engineer? Apply for engineering positions before school. Want to become a marketer? Apply for marketing positions before school. Often times you are much better off just jumping in without school. Yes, of course there are some positions that may require degrees like medical or law, but this isn't most people. Most people don't get these degrees. If you're just going for a general degree like Liberal Arts you probably shouldn't be going.
Can you learn on the job?
You always hear people say that you learn more in the first two weeks of your job than you do in all of college. If this is true then why would you ever want to go to school? Why not just get a job without college? Think you need a degree to get hired? Why do you think that? Have you ever tried to get hired without a degree? Many employers are happy to find people who are young and willing to learn and do whatever it takes to get hired.
Think about it from the employer's perspective. I'm an employer and I employ people all the time. When I hire somebody am I looking for somebody who has a degree that thinks I owe them something, or am I looking for somebody who doesn't have a degree but is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done? I want somebody who is going to get the job done and work hard. I don't want some arrogant college grad, I want somebody who has the right personality and who wants to learn and grow. I hire non-college grads all the time -- in fact, I prefer people without college.
A business wants to make money. If you can make a business money they will hire you and they will love you. They want somebody that can add value to their business. College and a degree doesn't guarantee this for the employer, especially in this day. People lie, people cheat, degrees vary, there are just way too many uncertainties for the employer when it comes to college. Just remember, if you can make the employer money you will be ahead of everyone else.
Is college worth the cost?
College is not cheap. In fact, it's a rip.
We're living in tough times right now. The economy is way worse than we're led on when we listen to the news on TV. This economy is on pace for another crash just like we had in 2008. Is being in debt from college really worth it right now? I would be very, very careful. If you're getting student loans to go to college don't do it. I would not go to college with student loans. Period. There is very little reason to get in debt to get a degree that you will have to spend 10 - 30 years of your life working out of.
College doesn't guarantee you a job. College doesn't guarantee you steady money. There are no guarantees with college. So don't think that there are. It's not fun or easy to pay off student loans after you go to college. You don't realize how serious it is until after you've gone.
Unless you have rich grandparents or parents who are willing to spot you $50 - 100k for college I wouldn't go. It's just not worth going in to debt over. There are so many better moves you can make besides college, especially in this economy and time.
Follow the money
Look for industries where money is being exchanged. There isn't money in things like magazine and traditional media. These things are dying. There is money in Internet and mobile. These things are on the rise. Pay attention to markets and observe trends. Follow the pulse of what is on people's minds. Programming and engineering are probably going to be big for a while. But you also have to realize that you will face extreme global competition in these fields... but pretty much every field will have global competition these days.
It's no longer enough to just get a degree and live an easy life. You're going to really have to prove yourselves and add unique value. You're going up against the whole world and the whole world is willing to work for a lot less than you. You are going to have to win in creativity.
College is outdated
You can learn everything you would learn at college online. Remember that. College doesn't offer you anything special or unique. If you really want to know something fire up Google and Youtube and start learning. The only thing stopping you from becoming an expert in any field is no longer college, you don't need college anymore. Seriously, Google and Youtube, and other sites, are absolutely amazing when it comes to real education. Why listen to a professor when you can listen to many professors on Youtube? Why read the books schools want you to read when you can read whatever interests you right now on Google?
Here's a protip: sales is always needed, in any business. Pretty much 1/2 of any business is sales. All businesses need sales. Microsoft needs sales, Google needs sales, Amazon needs sales, Pixar needs sales, Exxon needs sales and on and on. Sales is one of the most necessary parts of any business. So if you can get good at sales, you will always be needed. Sales is direct money into the business' pocket. Any time you're making a business money you're going to be making money. So if you're really unsure of what to do and what will be needed far into the future look no further: sales. Sales will always be needed because that is the core part of money coming in for businesses. Money starts at sales. So if you're really unsure of what to do learn how to talk to people and learn how to close deals. That's where the real money is.
So this is my take on college and the current economy. This is from the perspective of a businessman who employs people in the Internet industry. It's probably not entirely what you want to hear and it's probably different than what most people will tell you. But most people don't speak from experience and most people are probably thousands of dollars in debt and slaves to their job now. You don't want to become a slave. You want to become free. So really think things through and think if college is really necessary. Just remember, many of the greatest people in the world were college drop-outs or didn't go to school at all. It's not all that it's made out to be. Good luck!
Filed under:Personal Development, College