Some people say “You can’t put a price tag on an education.” These people are idiots.
It’s called “Tuition” and it literally is a price tag put on Education. (That doesn’t include the cost of bribing your school’s Admissions officer). Tuition has risen four times faster than inflation in the last decade even as the starting wages for college graduates continues to decrease.
In Academia, they don’t understand or even believe in Money. They have you grow up into an Adult, aged 22, having absolutely no experience making money, managing money, or saving money. They will act as if Money is beneath them and something you shouldn’t bother with.
But Geometry Proofs – those are essential.
In Reality, you can’t qualify for a mortgage with your knowledge of the battle dates of the 100 Year War. You can’t make a car payment or pay for your child’s diapers with the essay your wrote on “The Great Gatsby”. You’ll never be asked to find the hypotenuse of a triangle at a job interview. In Academia, people don’t ask, “What are the practical steps I can take to make money and support myself and build a life of my choosing?” Instead people ask, “What should I Major in?”
History? English? Business?
The answer is Money. You should Major in Money.
THE INSANE ACADEMIC ROADMAP TO FAILURE
Everyone knows that college is expensive.
But almost everyone still holds a common misperception, based completely in misleading and inaccurate statistics, that having a college degree is still “worth it”. That college somehow, magically, leads to more money and a better life.
All anyone has to do is take 5 minutes and look at some facts. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to put it together. Let’s start with this. According into CNBC and this fancy chart…
The painful transition from Academia to Reality is made even more brutal by the fact that you are starting out your adult life shackled with more money than you will likely make in a year.
“Okay,” many idiots say, “so my 21 year old now has more debt than a gambling addict. So what? She’s going to make more money because of that History degree…”
No, she isn’t. That’s some Bigfoot level mythology. Parents, Teachers, and Students themselves are astoundingly deluded about this. Take a look at this study by Accenture from a few years ago. Accenture does annual studies of grads but for some reason only compiled a detailed survey and graph like this in 2015.
More than 85% of students expect to be making more than $25,000K/yr (about $12/hr) when they graduate. In reality, 40% (ALMOST HALF) are making $25,000/yr (about $12/hr) or LESS. If they can find a job. Some college students are so incredibly deluded, 17% in fact, they believe they will be making $50,000K-$70,000K a year. That’s INSANE.
Most high school and college students, and this may include you, don’t even know what salaries are or what you should be earning, or what jobs even exist. (We’ll cover that soon). It’s fine if you don’t know that, nobody ever taught you.
But it’s terrifying when you consider a middle class family on a college tour. Mom and Dad never ask about earnings statistics, they ask what kind of cereal they serve in the cafeteria.
It gets even worse when you look at the kind of jobs college students get, if they can find one.
In Reality, most college graduates are Underemployed, meaning they are working at jobs they could’ve gotten without a degree. (And the idea of “needing a degree” at all is delusional, but we’ll get to that in a little bit).
Underemployment means essentially “working at a job that doesn’t require a degree.”
Underemployment for most majors is over 50%
You might be surprised to see that Business Management and Business majors are high up on this list, along with Liberal Arts, Sociology, and Art History.
You don’t even need statistics or data. All you need to do is speak, in person, with an actual college graduate. Are they living the high life, making bank and high fiving with titans of industry? No, they are not.
That’s why I call this the “Insane Academic Roadmap to Failure.”
UNDEREMPLOYMENT IN GRAPHIC DETAIL
You’ve spent 12 years stressing yourself out in school, another 4 years tearing your hair out in college, and built up $50,000 to $100,000 in debt. How does it feel now that you are working a job you could’ve gotten without the degree?! It don’t feel great.
People love Murder documentaries on Netflix. So let’s take a closer look at the cruel and unusual murder of millions of young people’s financial solvency.
What kind of jobs do college grads get after all their hard work in Academia?
There is a website called Aftercollege.com that helps recent graduates look for a “job” so they can make money. Since this is a new concept for most graduates, they make the search process very easy. You don’t have to specify a skill set or industry you’d like to work in, you just input your major and graduation date and the site does the work for you.
This is a sample set of results for someone who graduated with a Liberal Arts Degree from New York University. And it is, quite honestly, a very candid and realistic portrayal of the kinds of jobs that most College Grads are pursuing.
Let’s see. What kind of promising jobs are available worthy of your superior education?
- Admitting Rep – Someone who Greets Patients at a Doctor’s Office.
- Cashier Assistant – Assisting a Cashier. Seriously.
- Front Office Assistant – Filing, Doing Paperwork, Typing.
Well, New York University isn’t the Ivy League! What kind of opportunities are there for a graduate from a “Name” School like Cornell?
Let’s see, we’ve got:
- Office Assistant – See above
- Deli Retail Clerk – Helping people buy cold cuts, salami, etc.
- Cashier – COOL! You don’t have to settle for being an assistant!
- Bakery Retail Clerk – Are you kidding me?
Clearly, these are all jobs that required rigorous Academic training.
This is the Reality, friends, and it ain’t pretty.
The pie charts above are actually a very accurate reflection of the main fields that college graduates will attempt to find employment in.
The Fields Most Graduates Work in Are:
- SALES – Selling is the Engine of Reality, as every business on the planet needs help selling and promoting their product or service. That’s why there are so many jobs. We’ll discuss this more later, because learning how to sell is one of the most powerful financial, communication, and life tools you can ever acquire when applied properly. But in this context, they mean retail. Working at Victoria’s Secret, or being a car salesman.
2. CUSTOMER SERVICE – Ever had to call LL Bean because those boots you ordered were the wrong size? You could be the person on the other end of that phone!
In Reality, millions of college graduates compete for the privilege of sitting in a crowded call center for 8 hours a day, making low wages and comforting irate customers.
3. FOOD SERVICE – Love McDonald’s? Now, thanks to your college degree, you can work there! Or Starbucks, Applebees, or any number of restaurants and coffee shops across the country. Ironically, waiting tables is one of the most lucrative things a grad can do.
4. ADMINISTRATIVE – This is a fancy word for “Office Work.” Things like Typing, Scheduling Appointments, Answering Phones, Ordering Office Supplies, Filing, Taking Dictation, Ordering Lunch, & many other tasks that require rigorous Academic Training.
Now, to be fair, none of these jobs are that bad… if you got them right out of high school! Working at an office, at Starbucks, or a call center is a great “entry level” job when you are young, hungry and looking to get into the workforce and earn some money.
And here’s the point. You can get any of these jobs right out of high school. Heck, some of these jobs you could get while you were even in high school.
So what the heck were you doing for the previous 12 or 16 years?!
Scrambling for your first entry level non college low wage job at age 22 with $50K or more in debt isn’t just a desperate and stressful situation. It often also has lifelong consequences, according to a study done by Burning Glass.
“Underemployed Graduates, on average, earn $10,000 annually less than graduates working in college-level jobs.” Over 40 years of employment, that’s about $400,000 in lost wages. 43% of workers are underemployed. (And that’s an average which includes low underemployment fields like Engineering. As we saw in the chart above, for some majors it’s much higher).
A few more as a reminder:
At this point, you might think you have a sound and logical, common sense argument from which to have a rational and productive discussion about the value of a degree with your Parents and Your Teachers.
Your Parents and Teachers, in spite of all this data and even plain old common sense, will not understand or acknowledge the validity of this line of sensible thinking.
They will insist you must get a degree in Liberal Arts, to get that job in Customer Service, Sales, or as someone’s Office Assistant… working jobs that don’t require a degree and will eventually lead to you making $400,000 less over your career… because, everyone knows that College leads to making more money.
Except that it doesn’t.
Read the next article about Debunking the Great College Earnings Myth.