Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Do you need a degree?

I remember reading a news article mentioning that the United States is importing blue collar workers from Europe and Asia. Why is this? Oh that's right - many of us were told to go get a degree and pursue a desk job. It turns out that this *teaching* may have been a critical error...

Why Snobbery is Leaving You Unemployed

I think about all those B.A. degrees (the kind you sit in a classroom to get), and wonder, where is the value behind spending four additional years in a classroom? Where is the benefit? If a person is going to spend at least four years in school, and one year interning, shouldn't it have a more equitable kick-back (like a guaranteed job after graduating)?

One of the common threads I am noticing is that there are bachelors graduates and even masters graduates that can't find decent paying work to pay all of that student loan debt. I wonder why that may be.

If you are thinking about getting a degree, maybe you should think again. That is, unless you are convinced that you will make $100k a year when you get out of school. I wouldn't completely rule out that possibility, but unless you start a successful business endeavor while in college, I got some bad news for you.

Many of the skilled labor jobs I have been seeing pop up on Craigslist lately seem to offer decent pay for a little experience and no advanced education at all. Just a steady hand and some work experience. Check this example out:

Machinist Job

Everything listed in this post one could learn on the job in maybe 2 years - no continuing education required.

Another Machinist Job Example

Here is another great example. $40k a year plus benefits and you just need some metal cutting and machine shop experience. Once again, you could attain intermediate proficiency in this profession in about 2 years (and actually get paid to learn how to do it).

OK - Last Example

This one just expresses interest in someone having experience in welding. On the up-end it pays 19/hr.

Save yourself a lot of money and hassle - consider blue collar work.


seishinbyou said...

A degree is a foot in the door in this day and age at best. College and University programmes that offer co-op internships might make the extra schooling worthwhile, especially if you have no leads in the field you are interested in, but even then, I know of quite a few people that dropped out after making a few of these contacts in their first few internships and then through colleagues.

It isn't about what you know so much as who you know it seems.

On blue collar work, I agree. It really puts it in perspective when something that some people would consider a "menial" job has better hours, wages, and conditions than a stereotypical white collar job. Mind you, the lower paying blue collar worker jobs are *really* low, but that just goes with the territory in some cases.

Still, I have worked at some white collar IT places that treated the workers awfully. Long hours for low pay, every project was a death march and we were all tossed aside after the project was finished/cancelled/business goes under (read: first oppprtunity). There is a lot interesting about computers and technology, but the "why" behind some of these misguided projects that run out of hand left me years ago.

Haunter said...

This is some good food for thought. I've also heard of some people dressing down their resumes and leaving their degrees off because it actually over qualifies them for the openings that they can find.

Nathan A. said...

Yes, I've heard of that as well. People who just want to get *a job* often do this. Since careers involve a lot more energy and time, a pragmatic solution is just to get a transitional job (although the employer of that transitional job may use that sentiment to disqualify a candidate).