Degree = Job…Maybe Not

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10197074.jpgDoes obtaining a college degree guarantee a career? That is the question a lot of people have started asking themselves lately. It is also the assumption a lot of students entering into college believe. Even post-graduate students believe that a masters degree is going to finally get them where they want to be. For some that’s true, but for a lot of us, that’s one big expensive myth.

I truly believe getting a college education is essential and will aid in obtaining a challenging career as well as help you mentally grow but sometimes I ask myself was it worth it? Was it worth the debt, stress, parental and family expectations that a lot of people including myself go through after graduation? Is a degree even needed in order to be successful? Honestly, it seems like a lot of individuals without degrees get in the door a lot faster than those of us with degrees. I know this is not true for all industries, but in some this is a reality.

For instance, take Nikki M. – she was the top student of our class in undergrad and went on to New York University where she obtained her masters… guess what!… no job – can’t find one to save her life and she is eager and has experience. Now, take my other friend Faith, she has no college education and works for Daimler Chrysler she makes over $55,000. Lastly, there’s Mike-he graduated top of his class at Morehouse, he’s now an intern at a record label in New York. Mike is hoping and praying that his internship will open up an entry-level opportunity for him.

I can go on and on about intelligent and eager college graduates that have either great internship or work experience and are still waiting for that call back. When and if they finally get a callback from the hundreds of resumes they have submitted it’s usually an entry-level position starting at $30,000. And, yeah…I know someone is saying “that’s life..work your way up like I did,” you’re right, but $30,000 come on…when your loans are $35,000 + (if you went to an HBCU or private institution…you know what I’m talking about), gas is $2.89 per gallon and all the bills of being an adult are starting to roll in – we are often pushed right back into our bedroom at our parents home gazing at the same four pink walls while sleeping in our “princess” canopy bed.

I am a firm believer that education should be free and if they are going to make us pay for education there should at least be enough jobs available to handle all the grads of the world. If not, make it easier for young entrepreneurs to start businesses to help aid in the employment decline. There are so many reports stating that employment is available for anyone who wants a job…. HUH…IS IT! Tell that to Nikki and everyone else out there temping with a degree as an administrative assistant or working at Kroger to help pay the rent along with the EVIL, HEARTLESS SALLIE MAE crew.

Good Luck!

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  • ft

    i hear you all!! I have 3 degrees, that’s including a postgrad and masters. I am in my dream job advertising, as an Account exec. I am working my way up slowly and learning each day is an experience that will count for the future. My advice is always work while doing your degree and I mean office work, internships really help. so then you get the least bit of experience for when you get out of school. No company these days is willing to give you a job without experience, they don’t have the time to teach but without education you will only get so far. BELIEVE ME!! EXPERIENCE + COLLEGE = JOB.

  • I have the same frustration but from a different perspective. I joined the military right out of high school. After serving 6 years, I was able to find a job in the DC area for 70k but thats only because I hold a Top Secret clearance. Gov’t work is not at all my passion- I don’t like it at all. My true calling is PR but even with a degree agencies are only willing to pay up to 40k. So I feel stuck because I can’t persue my dream job because I can’t afford the pay cut especially in DC.

  • I will also add that after reading some of the other comments finding a “good” job is also a combination choosing the right profession and living in the right market.

  • Nikki

    *Warning: this is long*

    Anyone remember that guy who came from Sudan? He was featured on Oprah a couple years back, as a refugee, worked HARD and got into Harvard university? YES YES YES I know that as a black female we have to work twice as hard, and just FOR that we should always be thinking two steps ahead!!

    Sorry, but to all those claiming that college is a scam, have got it wrong. This sounds like a plea for ‘woe is me’. Have you even thought about the people would kill to be over here? And whoever made that comment about the illegals ‘taking’ our jobs…I am SO sick of that damn excuse. Wake up!
    That’s like someone saying oh look, I’m overweight, I can’t help myself. Well, no one told you to eat that Twinkie, drink that soda, or eat that cheeseburger. It’s all in your mindset ladies! Now, I’m not saying this to be harsh, but the truth hurts. Besides, this system is set up so that you have to rely on people and that is the mindset that we need to change.

    I suggest you go to the library or buy this book called the ‘4-Hour Workweek’ by Timothy Ferris. We as a society are programmed to get good grades, go to college, and get a good job. In fact, getting a job is NOT your key to your stability. Because at the end of the day it is your BOSS who has the power to fire you, it is the government who taxes you, etc. etc. You need to be in control of your life. Why do we get up to go to work? To pay for the over-sized house that we can’t afford, to keep up with the Jones’, and to buy stuff we don’t really need. Now you’re probably wondering look @ this heifer spitting whatever. Well I will tell you my story. All throughout highschool I held down 2-3 jobs. The summer before university, I did a one-month French language course (government program) and then went to univ. Mind you, my parents agreed to pay for my tuition. Let’s just say the shit the fan and I didn’t get a dime. They actually owe me over $15 000 but that’s another story.

    There is no substitute for cold hard work. Throughout
    university I worked 3 jobs, sometimes even 4. I don’t
    even know how I managed it to this day. Basically no
    sleep and little social life, but it has paid off. Real
    friends and fam will support you and will know when you
    have to get your things done. I created my school
    schedule that worked best for me and my jobs. My
    employers understood that I had other jobs, and they
    actually respected that I was upfront with them. Now I
    just finished school, I landed an internship in Germany
    (because I studied it, check: language skill) and am
    networking here. E.g. I met up with a black woman who
    is an international lawyer in Germany. Even how I got
    that internship was all about networking. Next, I will
    do one semester abroad in Germany to become fluent,
    then I will live in France to become fluent in french
    and fulfill my dream of living abroad. My goal is
    actually to live and work on every continent! That
    being said, all of these didn’t just fall into my lap.
    I didn’t just ‘wish’ it to happen. I MADE it happen. I
    researched, I upped my skills, I volunteered, I
    developed contacts, I got OUT THERE!! Languages will
    always help you, and it will make you stand out.
    So, what is the moral of this story? Stop relying on
    others for your own success! Summary:

    -NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK

    -Look for opportunities that others aren’t looking for. If everyone wants something and brings the same thing
    to the table, you don’t stand out. Its like a luxury
    item, if everyone has it, it loses its value. You have
    to DO something that makes you stand out. Case in
    point, move abroad. What better way to make your resume
    stand out than by saying ‘I spent 6 months on an
    internship 1/2 way across the world’. Prospective
    employers will eat it up and will probably actually be
    jealous because you got to travel all over.
    -Research. Spend 2 hours a day, or an hour a day
    researching an industry that generates money. Find out
    who the players are, how you can get into it, etc. etc
    -Get a side hustle, and network like crazy.
    -Update your skills. Instead of spending an hour on
    Facebook, Myspace, or MSN or watching TV, use that hour
    to create a website. Go on craigslist and look for
    small companies that need a website. Boom, you have a
    couple sites down to build a portfolio and that can
    generate money, i.e. passive income.
    Now I know there will be a plethora of excuses, but if
    you really want to sit there and complain that college
    is a scam, that you feel you wasted your money blah
    blah than that’s up to you. But I’m saying it CAN be
    done, I am living proof, and tons of people out there
    are too. You know what else is funny, the times I told
    my friends to get involved with stuff during univ. and
    to come to meetings they would laugh at it. Now I’m the
    one laughing and they’re asking me to hook them up. It
    goes both ways…we all have certain circumstances, but
    its up to YOU to change your attitude and change how
    you want to live. Yea, I will write a life coaching book sometime soon :)

  • Great post Nikki.