Need college to get a good job or be set forever??

  1. I guess this kind of goes hand in hand with the other thread about which field you work in and if it's the same you studied for.

    I am so confused and frustrated. I was originally going to be working and going to school starting this semester but i'm going to have to wait until Spring to start full time at the college because I didnt get my child care funding approved yet. (I applied as a single mom because let's be honest, I cant afford it because it's so expensive around here!) I also had to postpone it because my son starts preK next month and I want him to get use to his schedule and school as well. Augh... (BTW..i am still taking online courses part time but it will be a whiiiiile till i graduate).

    Anyways, I got a job at Lowe's and I love it!! And there is such great opportunity there to grow within the company and i really want to do that. But I dont want to not get an education because what if I lose my job when i'm older? What will i have to show?

    I guess my question is, does experience get you anywhere if you apply anywhere in the future? Do they only look to see if you got a degree or if you have experience. I dont want to work a low end job later on in life. Thanks!!
  2. IMO, both a college degree AND experience are both very good to have for the future! They both give you credibilty and a college degree is expected in a lot of career workplaces. But then there are exceptions so you never know. There are people who don't have a college degree and have done amazingly well and there are people w/ degrees who don't even have a job.
    But I would say your best bet is to go to collegem, IMO. :yes: Maybe you could have a job or an internship on the side to also gain experience?
    Whatever you do is your decision and I wish you the best of luck!!
  3. Your experience will definitely help you as you progress through a career, but it's your degree that will open doors for you.

    Here's a statistic that I found: in the job market, a college degree is worth almost double the value of a high school diploma, new Census Bureau figures show. In 2004, bachelor's degree-holders earned an average $51,206 a year, compared with $27,915 a year for those with a high school diploma only, according to the Census numbers.

    It won't be an easy road for you, but remember this: your education is one thing that no one can take away from you.

    Does Lowe's have any kind of tuition assistance program?
  4. Well, this is one perspective:

    I have practically no work experience, outside of working for my Dad and his company, and I've only been doing that for a year (I'm 22). I graduate in May of next year with my bachelor's; I doubt I'll have a really wonderful job at first because of my lack of experience.

    My SO started college late, just because it wasn't the right time to start for him when he graduated. He's back in school, but it will take him a few years to graduate. He had had TONS of work experience, working for several companies including one in particular for six years. He is now high enough in the company that he gets paid as much as most college graduates do once out of school. He's 23. But he knows he can only go so far w/o a degree.

    Both college and experience are important; you can only go so far in a company/business without a degree. The always funny part is that a lot of people don't even work in their major field, but that little piece of paper can taken you a lot of places.

    *And do check for a tuition assistance program; my SO's company has one, a very good one for in-state schools, though he isn't making use of it because his Dad is a disabled vet, so his tuition is free to begin with now.
  5. i think that you don't need a degree so much as you need marketable skills. a college degree is proof on paper that you might have some that are hard to measure - commitment to hard work, persistence, effective written and spoken communication skills, organization, ability to effectively complete tasks, etc. i work at Best Buy and the guy that runs our store is 27, makes six figures, and is almost a millionaire based on the smart things he has done with the opportunities that the company has given him with things like employee stock programs. he dropped out of college before his first year was done. our last general manager, who also never went to college, now works at Best Buy corporate. if you can find a company you like and start working your way up, then you may be able to be successful without finishing college depending on how hard you're willing to work and how well you do in the roles in which you're placed.

    not all companies are going to be as open to non-grads as big-box retail stores are (Lowe's may in fact be a really good place for you to start working your way up, one of my bosses used to be a manager there, they pay their folks pretty well), and having a college degree in ANYTHING will certainly make many, many more companies give you an opportunity than would with only a high school degree, but it's doable without one if you have what it takes. a college degree will definately be a huge advantage, though, and you should pursue it if at all possible.

    Lowe's may have a tuition reimbursement or assistance program for full-time (maybe even part-time) employees; i know best buy does, and it can make school expenses a lot easier to manage.
  6. First of all, congratulations on your new job. You should be proud of yourelf for getting through the last few months and doing so well.

    I'm not going to pull any punches: Unless you are very, very, very, very lucky, you will need to finish college. No matter how long it takes, do whatever you can to finish school. I know a few people who "made it" without a degree. But I know even more people who are frustrated and resentful because they can't get ahead without that piece of paper. Even if you have experience, it is hard to get the choice positions without a degree. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people bitterly complaining that they had to train the person who would become their boss. I have a good friend who hates everyone she works with because she knows she is smarter than most of them but she has to make their photocopies and pick up their mail. It can be so frustrating not having a degree.

    It took me a long *ss time to finish school but it was sooo worth it. Best of luck to you!
  7. I guess it all depends on what you want to do. I own my own business and so does SO and neither of us have a degree.
    Although, we both took business classes...we dont have a degree in anything.
    We are very well off, but I must admit, if anything...ANYTHING happens with our business' we wont be able to live off of our saving for more then 12-18 months. Sooooo, with that being said...I would like a fall back just incase and that is the exact reason why I am planning on going to college for Interior Design :biggrin:(not to mention it sounds like sooo much fun!)
  8. I was raised to believe that one muct have a college degree to get anywhere in life, but I know dozens of degree holders that can't hold onto jobs due to company downsizing and/or outsourcing. My BIL has lost 2 exec-level IT jobs in the past year due to outsourcing. Imagine being nearly 40 with a nonworking shopaholic wife and 2 kids, looking for a job!! My 2 brothers are also in the IT field and have gone through several jobs in the past few years. My ex has an MBA and I hear he is currently unemployed (though with a pretty sweet severance package, but still...) I thing the moral of the story is, as another poster already stated, is that it all depends on what you get your degree in. I have a BSN (nursing) so I am set for life!!
  9. At the risk of plopping poo in the punch, I would guard against expecting that a college degree will be a guarantee of a particular income level, much less being "set for life."

    Nor, sadly, can employment with a large company, even one with whom you feel there may be "opportunities for advancement" be counted on to take you happily and upwardly mobile-ly into retirement age the way General Motors took so many members of the Greatest Generation.

    In some US population sectors, a university degree has effectively replaced the high school diploma, and while that does mean some changes in terms of how much purchasing power you can expect that it will purchase, it also means that with the obvious exception of certain fields, it is unlikely that you will ever be asked to present your diploma or sheepskin at the personnel office.

    Now before anyone goes all ballistic and accuses me of encouraging people to lie about their education, that is not my intention. Rather I am pointing out that it is possible to find retail stores who will not hire sales clerks that do not have college degrees. Lower-level office jobs which formerly required only a high school diploma now also require a college degree. In neither case, however, is the employer going to expend resources obtaining your transcripts, because the job does not really require a college degree, and just as was the case when the job required a high school diploma, it is still a low-paying job, with an expected high turnover.

    So statistics about high school versus college earnings today refer only to people who say on their job applications that they did not go to college. ;)

    Some people will even argue that the traditional bachelor's degree advantage has also upgraded - to graduate school - which gives young folks for whom money is an object some serious points to ponder - just how much debt do you wish to be in when you finally emerge from academia and enter the workforce?

    Obviously, if academia itself is your career goal, the question is a different one, and for you, there will be more options in some ways. For instance, if you want to be a history professor, doing post-secondary work in history is not only practical, but recommended.

    If, however, you are looking for a degree that will buy a paycheck with more purchasing power, it will be a better idea to study business, while history can be a rewarding hobby for leisure moments. And yes, those did used to be leisure hours. Changes and challenges!

    Consider that it was not too long ago when one forty hour income - and I'm not just talking about doctors and lawyers and CEOs, but butchers and bakers and yes, sales clerks - was enough to support a family, albeit modestly.

    Some things, however, haven't changed. Things like "it's whom you know, not what you know."

    The other day, someone here, legaldiva, I think, said something very insightful about how easy it can be for people who have worked hard to become successful to forget about "opportunity."

    That can be about whom you know, it can be about being in the right place at the right time - and having the opportunity to be there in the first place!

    "Work hard and you'll get ahead" is a great ideal, just make sure you do the hard work at a job that pays enough to get ahead.

    Now I realize that a lot of what I am saying will not be applicable, or even comprehensible, to many people here, and that's good, too.

    Being realistic about one's opportunities is a good idea for everybody, whether you have lots of "golden" opportunities, or whether your opportunities just happen to be ones that have more to do with non-monetary things.

    But for those to whom some of it might be - especially young people wrestling with hard choices about their future, about careers - if you think it is a lot more complicated than it was for your parents and grandparents, and WAY more complicated than you thought it would be - it's not you. The choices really are harder, and the situation really is more complicated.

    Grandma and Grandpa, for example, did not have to decide whether they would rather start their work life in debt to the tune of roughly what THEIR parents earned in a year.

    They did not have to decide whether they would rather have a home or your mom.

    And even if Grandpa majored in art history in college, he could still count on being able to get a good job at the bank.

    So to sum up, the best way to plan for your future - not the future you were promised, not the future you deserve, but the future that is going to actually occur - while there may not be any one size fits all answer, there is the multi-level shotgun approach!

    If you feel college is important, and especially if you feel that way AND you have the money to pay for it, go!

    And if you feel that the company you're with now is a good place to work, work hard there, and go for all the advancement you can.

    And also learn a trade, one that is a good match with a service-oriented economy AND pays a high enough wage so that in case your college degree doesn't live up to expectations in terms of golden-tickethood, and so that when the great company gets bought, or downsizes and streamlines and your job - the one you worked so hard to get that finally pays what you consider good - gets given to somebody who makes about a fraction of that, because frankly, why should they pay you 80 grand a year when this desperate person is willing to do your work and theirs, too, and for no extra money, and remember, that person also went to college :smile: - anyway, when all those things happen, your trade you learned will make it possible for you to stay in housing and pay at least the basic bills while you work out how you are going to pay for that MBA Degree and get that suit drycleaned for your next series of interviews!
  10. I say that if it is within your means go to college. However, if you can't it shouldn't make you feel that you will not "be set forever". College is definitely not a guarantee. Ex. My cousin who is illiterate becomes a very rich person while I know a Harvard grad who's practically a bum. I know these are extreme examples, but definitely illustrates the point. Since I'm Asian, luck plays a great part in our culture. So, I will quote from this Asian billionaire my father met: I don't need smart people just lucky people! :smile:
  11. I grew up thinking a degree was a necessity. My kids all have them. But I do agree that the bachelor's degree is becoming devalued tremendously -- I have seen many people with degrees doing what I consider non-challenging jobs.

    It is a foot in the door. Think about what you want to do, and investigate whether the degree is a necessity. I know there are companies out there where it isn't. I have seen commercals on tv where people talk about how they've moved up in a company, just out of drive and hard work -- not diplomas.

    (Out of full disclosure, I have both a college and law degree. I can emphathize with your position because I earned both while raising a daughter. I couldn't have done it without my parents' help -- and you do have very supportive parents, so I am sure you can do it. But really think about your course of study. One of the reasons I went to law school was because I couldn't support myself and my daughter with my undergraduate degree -- a B.F.A.)
  12. Well my .02 as a current is there for more than things than just a better job. And no college does not equate with a better paying job. It all depends on the type of degree you get and the job you want.
    For example...when I am done with school I will have gone to school for a total of nearly 23 years. Yes...23 years (K-12, college took me 5 years because I was working, and then another 5 years of grad school)...when I am done my starting salary (if I am lucky) will be around 50-60K and I'll top out at around 120K after about 15-20years. And that's if I can find a job at a research I institution.
    BUT that is my specific field...others going into academia in the area of business will make double my salary to start.
    And then yet others will get a 4 year degree and come out making 6 figures (i.e. business, marketing, etc.).
    It's a total crapshoot IMHO!

    BUT...I am a HUGE advocate of college...let me list the reasons:
    1. You, as a mother, will have a huge influence on your child..and on your child's education choices. Research shows that if your parent went to college, you are more likely to go as well. So keep that in mind with your child!

    2. It teaches you skills that cannot be learned on the job. Amanda covered a lot of them.

    3. Your mind will be opened to things in this world that you never even thought of...a professor can take you back to prehistoric Rome and share with you knowledge you won't learn on the job or on Jeopardy!

    4. The experience of college (even as a single mom) is unlike anything else. I went to college as a married I didn't do frat parties or any of that stuff...and I'll always remember my college years!

    OK...those are just a couple!
    Are you currently in a junior college in CA? Just asking because if you aren't that is a good place to start. They have evening classes, weekends, TV classes, and internet classes. AND the best is that they have a guarantee transfer program to get you into ANY CSU or UC you want (I transferred to Davis...but was originally set for Berkeley....and Berkeley is impossible to get into)!

    If you ever have questions...feel free to PM me :smile:
  13. Neither of my parents have Bachelors degrees (my dad has an AA) and they have done just fine in their lives. My mom is German, and did her schooling in Germany. The late 70 & 80's were a tough time here, and it was difficult to find a job to learn...The schooling system is a bit different here, and it's difficult to explain. Either way, she did the minimum, which is equiv. to a HS Diploma in the US. My father was in the Army and was stationed in Germany when he met my mom.

    After my mom had me, she didn't work anymore. Not full time at least. She worked during the hours that I was in school. She started with AAFES as a warehouse worker at the Uniform Shop. She was familiar with the rankings, badges, etc because of my dad and she used that to take the opportunity to apply for a sales associate. She got the job and worked at the PX in California until we were PCSed to Mississippi. AAFES is known for being military-family friendly, so she easily got a job at the PX (in the Military Clothing Store) when we got to Camp Shelby. It was originally a temp position, but then a managerial position opened up in the MCS and she got it. During that time she learned how to do the accounting, bookkeeping and other cash office type things. We moved to MD after my dad retired, and she got a job in the MCS up there. Then a job opened up in the Cash Office and she did that. My parents separated in April 2006, and we moved back to Germany. She now works at the military base here in the Cash Office, making twice as much as she did in the US.

    My dad was in the Army for 20 years, and when he got out he did "Youth Challenge", which is basically like Juvi. When we moved to Maryland he got a job at a hotel doing reception work and did that for a few months until an office job opened up at the store where my mom worked. He works as an Inventory Specialist now, which is a good and well paying job.

    You can be successful and live comfortably without having a college education...You just have to work hard and be determined to make a better life for yourself. Sure, a degree makes it a lot easier to get a job. College degree does not always equal good paying job / set for life :smile:
  14. We all have anecdotes about people who made it without college. But I think it does young people a disservice to lead them to beleive that they don't need a degree. People who get ahead without an education are the exception. Not the rule.

    I worked for years without benefit of a degree. I did very well, got great paying and exciting jobs that allowed me to learn a lot. But I would never advocate not going to college. I was lucky and I knew it even then. I eventually went back to school because I knew I needed something to fall back on.

    My fiance was recently telling me about a friend of his who is an accomplished journalist. His friend has been working for 20 years and won numerous awards. So, this guy recently started looking for a new job. He says that everywhere he goes he isn't qualified because he never got his degree. Even with his experience, employers are asking for a degree! So he is, in a way, "stuck" at his job and his choices are severely limited.

    While a college education is no guarantee, it can only help. It is not the only way. But if you don't have a trade and do not have your own business, it is probably better to have a college education to compete.
  15. I don't think that a degree is always necessary, but for a lot of jobs it is a requirement. My main concern about not finishing a degree would be that it could prevent you from a promotion eventually... like ok, say you progress well enough for a while and are happy and then want to make an even higher jump... a lot of times at that point you'll be competing not only with a basic undergrad degree, but an additional degree... and the experience... so when looking at candidates if one has a ba, mba and the experience and the other one only has the experience, it could hurt you. even just against someone else who has their undergrad and not even a higher degree.