Adult Content Warning

This community may contain adult content that is not suitable for minors. By closing this dialog box or continuing to navigate this site, you certify that you are 18 years of age and consent to view adult content.

Get a degree they said, it would be helpful they said

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Revengeofthenerds, May 23, 2014.

  1. Revengeofthenerds

    Revengeofthenerds
    Expand Collapse
    ER Frequent Flyer Platinum Member

    Reputation:
    1,055
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    13,084
    According to the Washington Post, only 27% of college graduates have a job related to their major.

    Focus: Do you have your college degree? Higher than that? Just high school? What is your field of work? If you have your degree, does it relate to your job? If it doesn't relate, is it still useful?

    Alt. Focus: What is your opinion on the practical usefulness of college degrees? What about the recent trend toward people going to trade schools instead?

    Alt. Alt. Focus: If you could do it all over again, what would you do? What would you major in? Would you go to trade school instead? Just start work straight out of high school?
     
  2. bewildered

    bewildered
    Expand Collapse
    Deeply satisfied pooper

    Reputation:
    1,239
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    11,027
    We did this thread a couple years ago but we could run it again. I think VI had some great posts in there that are still valid today. Chime in to disagree, though.


    Focus: I have a degree in biology. It's a STEM major but not a very marketable one. Honestly I'm not even sure what IS marketable right out of college anymore, otherwise I'd be a lot less hesitant to put down some money for a second degree.

    Right now I am a waitress. I don't know how some of these women do it their whole lives. Serving, while pretty simple, is exhausting, thankless, and very low pay. Tip your servers, people.

    I have a couple options lined up. I'm second in line for pharmaceutical contract position but won't get this position unless their first pick fails their background check. I am also ranked #1 for a state position but they pull from the top 10 for interviews so #1 is almost meaningless. Either one of these jobs would be a huge advancement from wearing a uniform T-shirt and sneakers, smelling like fried food, and being expected to make 10 trips out to the abyss known as the patio for a buck. Fuck those people. I would gladly spend 10 bucks to fuck some of those people in the asshole with that one dollar bill. Even better would be the single quarter or handful of pennies left on the table. Those would feel going in and then coming back out, I bet.

    Anyone else living the dream? Million dollar job right out of college? Inherit the family business? Living in a ditch and using McDonald's wifi while you recycle aluminum cans to pay for your Goodwill clothes?
     
  3. iczorro

    iczorro
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    107
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    3,541
    Location:
    The Island
    I haven't gone to college yet. I joined the Navy straight out of highschool, so all my post-secondary schooling was directly job oriented. Basic electronics, communications troubleshooting, satellite communications systems, etc. I'm still working in that field as a contractor, 15 years later. But only for another couple months. I'm 33, and about to switch career fields. I'll be going to school in MN for a year, doing my generals, then out to Cal Poly SLO for Viticulture, specifically Enology. Seeing as how there are only a handful of schools that offer that program, and the wine industry in that area is taking off, and I have some decent connections in the industry, I'm hoping I should be able to land a job pretty quickly and easily in that specific field. Even if it's as an apprentice or whatever.
     
  4. Frebis

    Frebis
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    342
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,504
    I have a computer information systems degree. I was a computer programmer for 8 years, now I develop training and deliver training to companies for entry level programmers.

    Is it a great job? No. But it pays enough to let me snowboard 20-30 days a year, play golf all summer, go on vacation several times a year and support my wife while she is going back to school. I also get 27 days of time off. Those things all make up for it not being great. I work to live.

    The downside is that I live in hotels 3 days a week and fly at least twice a week. This was awesome before I was married. Now I just wish I had more time to be at home. Although I have enough frequent flyer miles and hotel points for a month of free vacations because of the travel. So that helps ease the pain.

    My degree has left me unemployed for a total of 3 months since the end of college. I think it has all worked out fairly well.
     
  5. RCGT

    RCGT
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,769
    Location:
    wandern
    I majored in international politics from a good school, graduated May 2012, and I've been unemployed since (with stints interning and minimum-wage retail). Currently I'm a sales contractor at a pharmaceutical IT company since March. On hiatus until they figure out which budget my paycheck will come out of.

    Fuck the old people that ruined this country for the rest of us.
     
  6. downndirty

    downndirty
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    488
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    4,435
    I have a degree in business management and psychology. That's two of the most common degrees out there. I recently completed a master's in economic development.

    I will be unemployed as shit next week. I can't wait.

    I'll be getting an MBA in sustainability in the fall, thanks to a hellacious scholarship. If that goes well, I'll move on to a Ph.D. in either Europe or Aus because fuck a coherent career and consistent income, apparently.
     
  7. Juice

    Juice
    Expand Collapse
    Moderately Gender Fluid

    Reputation:
    1,399
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    13,511
    Location:
    Boston
    I have two degrees, one in Economics and one in Political Science. I am not an economist nor a political scientist. I'm currently a management consultant. On paper I'm wildly under-qualified as I don't have an MBA nor do I have the intention of getting one since I don't feel like taking on another 60k in debt. My job is pretty decent, though I'd love to work for a top tier firm like Bain, McKinsey, Boston Consulting. Those schools require an MBA and recruit exclusively from Ivy League schools, so there goes that. The perks aren't bad: I have unlimited vacation days (as long as my number stay up), I hear from and see my boss rarely, and the pay is good.

    Alt Focus: my thought on degrees is that unless they're highly specialized like engineering, etc., they're primarily useful for getting you in the door for an interview. I've never had one interviewer ask about my college education aside from where I went and what I studied.

    Alt Alt Focus: If I did it all over again, Id probably stick with computer science engineering, which is what I originally majored in. Programming is much more valuable than whether we live in a society as described by John Locke or Thomas Hobbes.
     
  8. Czechvodkabaron

    Czechvodkabaron
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    95
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I earned my B.S. in Geography in December 2009, and I am currently in grad school pursuing a dual Masters of Science in Information Systems and MBA. My focus in undergrad was mainly in GIS (Geographic Information Systems). I was a young, stupid college freshman who loved Geography and thought that I would be fine as long as I got any college degree. One of my professors told me about GIS in my freshman year and made it sound like it was a great field to go into. That is what I pursued, and everyone else I talked to in the department made it sound like it was a great field to go into if you want a high paying job.

    They were wrong. I have been out of school for 4.5 years now and I have only had two jobs in the field, neither of which was "high paying." I posted about this in the Rant and Rave thread, but I was laid off from my job last Friday. The job that I had before that one was a little bit better, but would have only lasted for about three years. That company is based on India, and almost all of their projects are going over there. That's the problem with GIS: everything is on a project by project basis, and management has to be looking for more while you are working on your current one. Furthermore, even if you do have a job in the field there is not a lot of room for advancement.

    Though I am taking out more loans, I decided to go to grad school and just finished my first semester.


    Alt. Focus: What is your opinion on the practical usefulness of college degrees? What about the recent trend toward people going to trade schools instead?

    I'll agree that college isn't worth it unless you pick a useful major, so if the academic setting is not for you then go to trade school. You could argue that there is a lower unemployment rate for college graduates, but my feeling is that a lot of that has to do with motivation and willingness to work.


    Alt. Alt. Focus: If you could do it all over again, what would you do? What would you major in? Would you go to trade school instead? Just start work straight out of high school?[/quote]

    If I could go back and do it all over again I would have majored in something like finance, statistics, or business information systems.
     
  9. Parker

    Parker
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    90
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Messages:
    5,831
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I'm part of that 27%. My undergraduate degree was in communications with a focus on advertising. I went to get my masters in Advertising & Public Relations, and now I'm working at a good sized ad agency that has MillerCoors, Coca-Cola, Nissan, Barcardi, McDonald's and a few others as clients.

    Now I hope this study isn't including the dumb fucking degrees that don't translate Art History or Anthropology where the only job is to go back and teach that same shit. I have a friend and his wife who got fucking Anthropology degrees but didn't want to go get their PhD's to teach. When we graduated in 2008 he was all like "Can't find a job, economy man." And I just yelled at him "No because you followed your stupid bitch girlfriend into that stupid fucking useless major. You both are fucking idiots." I got a job right out of college, fuck I got two. One was working for the Onion and the other one was at Best Buy.
     
  10. Revengeofthenerds

    Revengeofthenerds
    Expand Collapse
    ER Frequent Flyer Platinum Member

    Reputation:
    1,055
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    13,084
    I'm not sure if I fall into that 27% or not.

    My degree is in public speaking, and while it has been immensely helpful in my job, I've been at the same company since I was 18. Started as a teacher, fell in love with it (specifically working with children with "special needs" or whatever the now politically correct term is), fell in love with the company, and I've been working here ever since.

    That being said, I do a lot of hiring, and at this point I basically disregard their degrees because I hear so much of "well I thought I wanted to do [this], and got my degree in it, but then that changed because of [this, this, and this]." Look, I don't care. Hiring teachers is mainly based upon who they are as a person, and their experience working with children in a licensed school. Having a degree in a child-related field gets you paid more with us because of our pay scale, but that's about it.

    It's a loooong ways off with our son (due in about a month now), but I'm going to recommend a trade school if his talents fit and he wants it. I'm not one to judge on "you must graduate college and all that." For me, I would have made a much better living, financially, if I went to a welding, plumbing, or electricians trade school instead of what I did. I love doing that stuff, and I'm very good at it, but I'm also self-taught. (Though my passion is in what I'm doing, and I will happily take less pay in order to continue in the teaching profession.)
     
  11. xrayvision

    xrayvision
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    517
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    6,329
    Location:
    Hyewston
    My current degree is completely unrelated and useless for what I actually do. That being said, if you want a breath of a chance of career advancement in the radiology field, you must get a degree. Doesn't even matter what your major is. Mine was criminal Justice and pre law. I went to law school and left.

    Then I went to xray school and really enjoyed it. What set me apart was the fact that I was one of the few people in my class who went to college first. This didn't help me at all for 5 years. Now I was offered a job overseas that I could never have gotten had I not gone to college. All of my old classmates are still living back home doing the same old thing and being treated like secretaries who can take the occasional xray. If that's your thing, more power to you. But it's a load of bullshit. A growing trend that I'm seeing lately is that employers are treating xray techs like medical assistants and forcing them into doing menial garbage for shitty pay and letting them take xrays on the side.

    My overall opinion on going to college is generally positive as long as you don't pick something stupid to major in. I feel that people who select STEM majors should get preferential interest rates on student loans instead of the fuckfaces who pick shit like Russian literature and hope to figure it out once they graduate.
     
  12. toddamus

    toddamus
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    396
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    5,312
    Location:
    Somewhere west of New York
    Focus: I have a degree in Econ and Psych. I was originally just going to get a degree in psych, then decided I would get an Econ minor that I then turned into another major. I'm currently going back to school for a Masters in Public Health, I'll hopefully be doing Health Econ with this degree. Currently my jobs have nothing to do with Econ or Psych. Currently in one of my jobs, having a high school degree is considered higher education. Gotta love scraping by.

    The game has changed in relation to college degrees. Everyone wants immediate experience in a field in order to consider or hire you. If you get a degree in history, what practical experience do you have? What job skills can you offer an employer? Can you move into the office with minimal hassel? How much training will you require? Maybe more importantly, do other applicants not require these considerations? If you graduate school without a substantial internship, good luck getting a job anywhere. Entry level position now means 2+ years experience, entry level position also means they will not train. So considering this, it makes so much sense people are going to trade school. It makes no sense to spend $200,000+ on something which doesn't advance you at all. Undergrad really needs to be thought of like trade school. You're shouldn't be getting an education anymore, you should be getting job training.

    College was great, I'd do it again the same way. But I graduated at a really fucking bad time, 2009. The great recession hit my generation really hard, and people are still feeling the effects of it.
     
  13. D26

    D26
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    110
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,305
    My degree is in psychology, and I went back and got my teaching license and took a bunch of history and Econ classes to get certified in those subjects.

    I teach Juniors and Seniors and I am very up front with them about college. It is expensive, and the professors generally don't care about you one iota. In high school, we're on them constantly to get shit done, but in college, they don't care. College professors' philosophy is simple: if you want to pay $20,000 a year to not go to class, not turn in work, not study, and fail tests, it doesn't affect them even slightly, and it only hurts you. I think I've scared at least one student away from college, because he was bragging it was going to be a four year party and I set him straight by explaining student loans, debt, and exactly how bad he's going to have it in four years if that is his thinking.

    I have kids who say they want to major in psychology and ask me about it (they're aware of my degree) and I am honest with them. A college degree in psychology is just like having a degree in "general studies." It says "I finished 4 years of college," and nothing more. The same can be applied to the vast majority of liberal arts majors (communication, sociology, political science, English, literature, etc), and it will put them a step ahead of people with just high school degrees, but that is about the only advantage. If they're truly interested in one of those fields, a BA means nothing. You need a minimum of a masters, if not a doctorate, to actually work in those fields, which means you can't treat your classes like jokes or blow-offs because most (good) grad schools won't touch you unless you have a 3.2-3.5 college GPA.

    I encourage my kids to look at specialized majors, and work towards a career path. I also tell them to shadow someone who has the career they want, if at all possible, because it would suck to spend all that time and money working towards a career you'll hate, and then end up working in something completely unrelated and where all your coworkers are high school grads with a 4 year or more head start on you in the workplace.
     
  14. MrPrime

    MrPrime
    Expand Collapse
    Experienced Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    Victoria
    I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering (Bachelors) as well as a associates diploma (Mechanical Tech., 2 years of fun on this one).

    I get to work in my field, but Engineering is one of those majors where you are almost guaranteed to work in your field, and if you dont, its more of a choice than being forced.

    I love my job, the pay is shit since its with a University, but I do get to build Unmanned Aircraft. Exactly what I wanted to do when I was 5 and playing with Lego. Yea to fulfilling life goals.


    Trades are great, good money, but they will wreck your body. If you go into them with the plan of getting your ass out of the field, and owning/managing you will do well. Its going to suck if you are 60 and still swinging a hammer.

    And do round this out, would I do a different degree? Maybe, but I do love my job, and I do love the fact that I also run a company on the side. University is about building connections and making friends, less so about what you learn.
     
  15. JWags

    JWags
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    153
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,210
    Location:
    Chicago
    This is a fantastic point. I graduated in 2008 with a Psychology major and a Finance minor. I had a thought out plan, I was interested in Finance, specifically trading, and loved the behavioral aspect of markets. My class selection my last year and a half of college was revolving around that. That being said, most people were looking at my resume, seeing a soft major, and tossed it in the trash. The only final interview I got for a trading firm only happened because one of the hiring managers was a former Psych major and found my cover letter interesting. But nowdays, in Finance, you better come from an internship program, a specifically recruited school (aka Ivies and other "top tier schools), or being Econ, or even better, Computer Science or Statistics. Ive mentioned before, but the 3 most successful finance people I knew growing up were History, English, and Philosophy majors. The game has fucking changed, its way more competitive and thats an easy way for HR people to sort through hundreds or candidates, right or wrong.

    I now work for a Fortune 100 CPG company in marketing, spanning brand management and marketing analytics. Prior, I was in research and strategic planning for a media agency for 3 years. That, coupled with going back to school and getting my MBA, is what set me in the direction I headed. Out of college, I was laid off twice within the first year from a logistics company as well as a trading firm. I was working in a dead end job when I decided to get my MBA a couple years earlier than I expected. The best part about my position now is that I have options and different directions I could head.

    FOCUS: I still think college degrees are very useful. Like it or not, they are box you need to check for many "professional" type jobs. However, if you don't want to go into business or something requiring extensive schooling, and have no idea what you want to do, then I definitely think trade school is a good call. Additionally, if you are going to go to some nonsense school like East West Big School State with no credibility or name recognition, you may also be better off learning something practical. It will help place people into careers that will actually help them get jobs as well as not devalue degrees for other people actually going to college.

    ALT FOCUS: I would have definitely went with Econ or Finance as my major and just taken Psychology as a minor. I also wouldn't have made the dumbass choice to start college as Pre-Med and fucked my GPA initially and gave me a hole to work out of.

    College is absolutely worth the money from more than an academic aspect. BUT, you need the academic piece. Just showing up for 4 years and skirting by is no longer a viable option. But the social, academic, and psychological progress you make as a person in college is extremely hard to match just going straight to work. I'll never side with people who say college is a waste of money and whatnot, but I will side with them when they reiterate that students should cultivate a plan of attack before going off to school. Ideally it starts in HS so you can end up at a college where the degree is actually worth something.
     
  16. McSmallstuff

    McSmallstuff
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    2
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,504
    I'm basically pursuing a trade degree. I'm an education major. Here's hoping a metric fuck ton of debt will get me a job in one of the most under appreciated and lowest paid fields in the U.S.
     
  17. DirtyHerk

    DirtyHerk
    Expand Collapse
    Village Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Abroad
    I majored in History, probably the quintessential dumping ground for wayward liberal arts students...and now I fly airplanes...so I can attest to this.
     
  18. jordan_paul

    jordan_paul
    Expand Collapse
    Disturbed

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    454
    Location:
    Binbrook, Ontario
    I always used to say I am against degrees (like the arts or english) that are useless. I'm now refining my position and saying I'm against taking loans out to finance these degrees. If you want to major in basket weaving all the power to you, but pay for it out of pocket. We have laws that set the minimum age to buy tobacco and alcohol yet the banks will loan a 17 year old (who thinks jobs fall out of the sky) $40K for an English degree. The "personalfinance" subReddit is full of people with $150k+ of student loan debt and they make $30k a year. How do you get out for under that? The fucking interest alone is worth about $1200 a month or more. That should be illegal.

    As for me though I took mostly university level classes in high school. I seen the bottom falling out of that racket so I picked up a trade. Some of my teachers in high school and my guidance counsellor told me "I had too much potential to ruin my life by not going to university." A lot of my friends shit on me for not going to university but through all that shit talking and while my friends were partying I put my head down and worked my ass off. I never said no to overtime, showed up everyday and didn't give the boss any bullshit. Eventually they realised I was smart and had ability and they started giving me more responsibilities. I worked hard and put in lots of OT so I got licensed quick. By the time I was 20 I was making double what the teachers who told me I was going to be a nothing in life. I bought sweet trucks, tools, guns and electronic bullshit, that's when my friends in university realised that I wasn't such a retard after all, but still thought they were better then me and were going to show me up when they were done school. I found a beautiful smart woman to spend the rest of my life with and I bought a nice house in the country at 22 right around the time when my friends started graduating school. Funny thing is none of them could find jobs in the field they went to school for. After awhile some gave up and are still working menial jobs waiting tables or working in some service industry position. Some decided to go to graduate school (HA!) thinking that that would land them the $120k a year job they "deserved." Only one came to me and asked for some advice. I got him a job at the company I work for and he's doing well.

    Do I ever wonder what life would be like if I took the easy path and became an engineer? Yes, especially when it's -33 and I'm 100 feet up the side of an oil rig, but I wouldn't trade it for what I have achieved to this date. When I do get fed up enough my goal is to either teach high school shop class or in some capacity go from school to school and show high schoolers getting ready to graduate there is another option besides University.
     
  19. Noland

    Noland
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    41
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,237
    Location:
    New Orleans
    All of the ego and working class hero crap in this post aside, I tend to agree. The workforce is becoming more and more technical. Liberal arts degrees have no practical application and they never really did, but they used to be a useful stepping stone to a career. That's not so much the case anymore. So, if you aren't going to obtain an engineering degree or something similar a trade is a great alternative. A good electrician can do extremely well for himself.

    You're going to need to get around the problem of people thinking that tradespeople are somehow less important than people with college degrees, but ask the next welder you meet how much he made last week and you might be impressed.
     
  20. wexton

    wexton
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    358
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,275
    Location:
    North Coast BC
    You want to see WTF type wage, ask a welder in the oil fields what he makes.

    I did a year at a community college right out of high school and stayed at home to make money, went to university and got screwed over, none of my college classes transferred over like I was told. Did 2 years at university for my B.Sc. in computer science, and went what the fuck am i spending so much money for, for something I cant see myself doing for the rest of my life, I enjoy fucking around with that stuff in my spare time, but couldn't make a career out of it. So i moved back to my home town, worked shit minimum wage jobs 60h/week. After a year, I got a job at an parts store(automotive/industrial/marine/heavy duty) worked there to get my hours something like 7800 I believe to challenge my trades ticket stayed there for a couple more years. And now i am at a container terminal doing parts/warehousing, right at the sweet spot for hours worked vs income and couldn't be happier.

    There is such a shortage of trades workers everywhere in basically every field. Get a trade if you like small town life you can make your 65k+/year at any place, or go and find an nice industrial setting and make 80k+/year.