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Career advice to a young worker
Old 02-11-2012, 08:09 AM   #1
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Career advice to a young worker

The older generation is failing the younger generation miserably when it comes to guidance about post secondary schooling. Too many young people go into a four year program and have massive debt when they graduate, but limited job prospects because the degree they chose was based on "what they love' or "what they are good at". My advice: find what jobs are in demand and train for them. Some of the best paying jobs aren't the follow-your-passion types, but they need to be done for our society to function well. You can still follow your passions. Do both. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/back-to-school-and-deeper-in-debt_b_951205.html?ref=third-world-america
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:16 AM   #2
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"We need people who can actually do things. We have too many bosses and too few workers. More college graduates ought to become plumbers or electricians, then go home at night and read Shakespeare." -- from an essay on finding a good job, March 21, 2010 Andy Rooney
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:16 AM   #3
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The DW was a school teacher. In the last half of her career, she kept hearing that the schools are now preparing students for jobs that haven't even been thought of yet.

So choose wisely.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:32 AM   #4
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Better yet, go to college and graduate with no debt. I did it. I didn't have a scholarship. I worked full-time and went to school part-time earning my BS degree.

1. Did I graduate in 4 years? No
2. Did I graduate debt free? Yes
3. Did I have a job after graduation? Yes

The best part about number 3 is I also had 13 years of experience upon graduation, a hefty 401K account, an employer who paid a portion of my tuition and I was earning a great salary and had already climbed a few rungs of the employment ladder.

I had a PhD tell me she wished she had done what I did. It was going to take her years to pay off her college debt. In the end she might earn more money than me but looking at her school debt and 401K issues there won't be a huge gap between us.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:57 AM   #5
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The problem is choosing a major based on what you love or are good at without at the same time realistically assessing the commercial practicality of that degree in the real world.

DD majored in accounting and is gainfully employed in a profession with high demand and makes good money. One older cousin majored in drama and is painting houses. Another older cousin majored in French and music and is teaching music and playing in a band (which is fine). Another cousin majored in music but went into computers and is doing well for a software firm.

While I have a graduate degree, I do think that as a society we place too much emphasis on college and insufficient emphasis on learning a trade.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:49 AM   #6
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Any college receiving any public funds (for research, scholarships, etc.) should be required to limit increases to all student costs (I mean all--from textbooks to tuition to locker room towels) to no more than general inflation. Heck, make it retroactive to 1972 .

OP says: "The older generation is failing the younger generation miserably when it comes to guidance about post secondary schooling."

I'm thinking back on the adult advice I received about going to college. None, from parents, school counselors (and I was in the "college prep" track), nobody. Two of my best friends were going to college and I made it happen for me too, but if I'd waited for an adult to advise me? Wasn't going to happen.

This was true for many of my friends at the school I went to, and interestingly since no one was telling them to major in something they could make money at, several went on to amazing careers.
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:32 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=Bestwifeever;1160192]Any college receiving any public funds (for research, scholarships, etc.) should be required to limit increases to all student costs (I mean all--from textbooks to tuition to locker room towels) to no more than general inflation. Heck, make it retroactive to 1972 .

It cannot be done: new costs have been mandated or simply necessitated. In the first case, consider the federally-mandated special services for disabled students, which account for a large expenditure (many have someone assigned to the all day one on one, to get them from classroom to classroom, take notes, all of course dependent on the particular disability. I'm not saying I oppose it, but it accounts for a huge amount of the increased costs. In the second case, do you want to send your kid to a college without computers? When I finished my doctorate, big universities had one mainframe. We started hearing that "in the future, everyone will have a computer in their home." "Yeah, right, when pigs fly," thought I. Well, we now have a computer on every faculty desk, large labs for students, students being issued laptops. And faculty where I am are REQUIRED to accept a new one every three years. When I protested that I liked the one I had and that it worked just fine, I was denied to keep it, so now I have one that will not interact with the scanner function on the printer.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:08 AM   #8
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It cannot be done: new costs have been mandated or simply necessitated. In the first case, consider the federally-mandated special services for disabled students, which account for a large expenditure (many have someone assigned to the all day one on one, to get them from classroom to classroom, take notes, all of course dependent on the particular disability. I'm not saying I oppose it, but it accounts for a huge amount of the increased costs. In the second case, do you want to send your kid to a college without computers? When I finished my doctorate, big universities had one mainframe. We started hearing that "in the future, everyone will have a computer in their home." "Yeah, right, when pigs fly," thought I. Well, we now have a computer on every faculty desk, large labs for students, students being issued laptops. And faculty where I am are REQUIRED to accept a new one every three years. When I protested that I liked the one I had and that it worked just fine, I was denied to keep it, so now I have one that will not interact with the scanner function on the printer.
I understand you are speaking as an employee, but I'm looking at it from the customer's viewpoint. Every industry in America has had things mandated by the government but we didn't end up paying triple the inflation rate for their products--they had to find a way to economize in other areas to afford the things that were mandated for disabilities, OSHA, etc., and to computerize their operations (including new computers every few years for their employees). I don't know how many colleges give laptops to every student or even why they would (they sure don't give students the textbooks); mine had to bring their own.

Academia has no incentive to rein costs in for its captive market. Maybe the threat of not being able to raise costs beyond inflation would help. I wonder how much a new car (speaking of an industry with major government safety mandates) would cost if its price had increased at the rate college costs have over the last 10 to 15 years.
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:04 PM   #9
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BestWife, you make excellent points. But two items come to mind: do businesses really have to hire good numbers of workers who require another full-time worker be hired just to help that individual do his/her jobs? The second is a joke that has been around for a while as states support their universities less and less: first we were a state-supported school, then a state-assisted school, and now a state-acknowledged school.
I don't take it personally--I just want OUT!
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:42 PM   #10
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OP says: "The older generation is failing the younger generation miserably when it comes to guidance about post secondary schooling."
Isn't that the chief complaint of the Occupy movements? That we geezers are screwing it all up for the younger generation?

That's only been going on for, what... maybe five or six millennia?

I met an ensign a few months ago who graduated with a huge slug of student debt. Her family had zero money for college and she was actually working for most of her four years there. In addition to student debt she has another five figures on her credit cards.

But she has a job, she has a paycheck, and she's rapidly getting out of debt. She's really happy with the way her life is working out, and she doesn't think that the elder generation has anything to do with her debt or her success. Oddly enough, she thinks it has something to do with her hard work and her persistence.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:51 PM   #11
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Depends on your perspective. I trained for a booming career field, engineering, and it was OK. I wouldn't call if fulfilling or exciting and it paid OK. Would I have rather followed a dream? I think I would have, but on the other hand I probably wouldn't be retired right now and doing what I love, writing. Here's one of my "famous" quotes that kind of sums up how I feel:

"Most of us just aren’t wise enough when we’re young. I am amazed at those kids that seem to get it. You know, those kids that ride snowboards or surf or ride skateboards and find a way to make a living. I used to call them losers, but now I think maybe they had it right and I was the loser."

I don't like the idea of telling my kids to grow up, forget their dreams and passions and go for the cash. I'll let them decide how best to run their lives. Who am I, or anyone besides them, to tell them what's important in life?
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:52 PM   #12
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There's this especially insidious attitude that dictates that it's ok if a kid who gets C's all through high school decides to train to be a carpenter or a mechanic, but when the valedictorian wants to take that track, he has to first plow through a storm of opposition telling him he's wasting his talent.
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:14 AM   #13
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Often times what we enjoy doing or have a passion for doesn't always translate into it being a good job choice. Having been a golfer for about 40 years I've met more than a few kids who went into the business because they were good at it and had a passion for the game. Unfortunately the golf business can be very cut throat and generally low paying. The turnover rate at most golf clubs is extremely high because of it.

I was in a similar boat as flyfishnevada, I choose engineering as my major back in the 70's mainly because of job prospects and a chance to make a decent income. I didn't hate any of the jobs I've had but I certainly didn't have a passion for them either. I could always come up with a long list of things I would rather do then go to work. It did give me extra incentive to save and allowed me to ER. I've always envied those who really love their jobs but my guess is it's a small percentage, maybe 1-3% of all workers.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:58 AM   #14
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I think it is still possible to graduate with very little debt or no debt from college. What you decide to get a degree in is a personal choice. I am assuming you just want a 4 year degree.

Stay in state at a public university. I am sure your state probably has some top ranked schools.

Attend one of the community/branch locations nearest your home and commute. Take a full load for credits. The hour rates are usually lower and can many times attend the main campus for the lower rate.

Live at home. My parents were OK with rent free as long as I was in school.

Get an apartment off campus, farther away the cheaper.

Get a part time job. School is still top priority.

Get job at the University no matter what it pays. In Ohio then school is free.

Get a full time job and one of the benefits is continuing education


There you go. Pick any 2 from the list above and you will graduate debt free.
I did my part to educate the youth on a debt free degree.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:26 AM   #15
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+1 with jayc.

Additionally, start with a community college then transfer to a state school that will accept the credits. My parents were also OK with no rent at home while I was in school. I did work part time during the school year and full time over the summers. That supported the car needed for commuting and clothes, some books, typing paper, notebooks, etc.

Many AA degrees are enough to get oneself hired into a position where it's feasible to bootstrap yourself to a 4-year degree going part time to school. That worked for me.

Military service is another option, highly regarded in WV since for many it's seen as the only viable "ticket out" and an honorable one at that. Has worked for millions of people.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:29 AM   #16
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"Most of us just aren’t wise enough when we’re young. I am amazed at those kids that seem to get it. You know, those kids that ride snowboards or surf or ride skateboards and find a way to make a living. I used to call them losers, but now I think maybe they had it right and I was the loser."
I have had this thought many times in the last 3 years. My DS graduated with honors in marketing/finance in December/2005. He was 'just going out to CO for 3 months' to finish the ski season. Got a job that was all 3-11 with the biggest resort (free ski pass) in Summit county so he could ski all day. He had a locker at the bottom of peak 9 that he skied down to at 2:30 pm to start work. Ended up staying 5 years.

I can only afford to do this lifestyle for 4-7 days each year while these guys have passion, guts, luck, will, or , to do it 365 days a year. Yeah. Many times I have thought when out there visiting, 'I am the only Bozo on this bus'.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:46 AM   #17
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The older generation is failing the younger generation miserably when it comes to guidance about post secondary schooling. Too many young people go into a four year program and have massive debt when they graduate, but limited job prospects because the degree they chose was based on "what they love' or "what they are good at". My advice: find what jobs are in demand and train for them. Some of the best paying jobs aren't the follow-your-passion types, but they need to be done for our society to function well. You can still follow your passions. Do both.
If people in one generation make poor choices why is that the fault of the previous generation?

Universities should be required to hold part of the debt of students that borrow to study with them. They have no liability if a student is unable to earn enough to repay the debt, and that means no incentive to filter or have any concern at all about the financial consequences of the choices students make. It also might give them greater incentive to focus on cost containment or reduction.
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:27 AM   #18
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There's this especially insidious attitude that dictates that it's ok if a kid who gets C's all through high school decides to train to be a carpenter or a mechanic, but when the valedictorian wants to take that track, he has to first plow through a storm of opposition telling him he's wasting his talent.
Spot on Glippy. I knew a young friend who wanted exactly that. This person wanted to go to trades school (to train for a job like mine)--The pressure for the former valedictorian to go to university was so great the student relented. And later dropped out unhappy. I felt it was academic snobbery...the "smart" kids go to university and the "dumb" kids go to trade school.

As for me I dropped out of university to take up a trade ...and I hope to retire early after a comfortable life supported by a good wage.
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:46 AM   #19
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I did just what Walt describes.

Plus, my employer paid for 2 graduate degrees.

What is keeping the current generation from doing as Walt and I did?

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+1 with jayc.

Additionally, start with a community college then transfer to a state school that will accept the credits. My parents were also OK with no rent at home while I was in school. I did work part time during the school year and full time over the summers. That supported the car needed for commuting and clothes, some books, typing paper, notebooks, etc.

.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:59 AM   #20
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There's this especially insidious attitude that dictates that it's ok if a kid who gets C's all through high school decides to train to be a carpenter or a mechanic, but when the valedictorian wants to take that track, he has to first plow through a storm of opposition telling him he's wasting his talent.
I agree with what you say, but.....

Ironically, I was that kid getting C's in high school (through lack of effort and indifference) who wanted to be a mechanic. Dear old Dad had different ideas and made it clear that his son was going to go to college - no if's, no and's, no but's. And Dad could be very persuasive. Dad was right and I ultimately exorcised my slacker demons.

(and our valedictorian became an MD).
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