Is The American Dream Not Possible Without A College Degree?

FinDroid's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 566

Monkeys, I was going through this
article
http://fortune.com/2016/05/23/homeownership-millen... on Fortune which said that the American dream is not possible without a college degree.

Many people assume that record-low rates of homeownership among young adults is a consequence of high student loan debts, but new research by Apartment List shows that's not necessarily the case. A much bigger problem: Low wages, and high housing prices, especially for millennials without a college degree.

The report goes on to say that it would take the average person without a college degree 15 years to be able to afford to buy a house, or five years more than a college grad with student debt. And this is an optimistic case.

Do you think that the society places a premium on education? Can we make it a more level playing ground for the weaker economic sections?

Comments (183)

Best Response
Jul 27, 2017

Welders can make $150K/year without a college degree.

Screw prestige, make stuff get cash.

    • 23
Jul 27, 2017
IlliniProgrammer:

Welders can make $150K/year without a college degree.

Screw prestige, make stuff get cash.

Yeah and Underwater Welders $300K/yr (most only work 1/4 time), Saturation Divers $500K

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jul 27, 2017

38,150 USD

Jul 27, 2017

Underwater welding is known for being very dangerous(hence the high pay).

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Jul 28, 2017
Isaiah_53_5:
IlliniProgrammer:

Welders can make $150K/year without a college degree.

Screw prestige, make stuff get cash.

Yeah and Underwater Welders $300K/yr (most only work 1/4 time), Saturation Divers $500K

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial divers and underwater welders have a mean (average) hourly wage of $26.32, while the mean annual wage is approximately $54,750. Additionally, the top percentile (90%) can make approximately $93,910 or more.

    • 1
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Jul 30, 2017

Very true. Maybe not starting, but they can get there. Tech schools have a high percentage of job placement out of the gate.

Aug 3, 2017

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Jul 27, 2017
Aug 4, 2017

Not sure where you'd get those 150K/yr welder jobs nowadays. Those jobs were prevalent when gas prices were high and pipeliners were needed. West Texas and PA/OH areas were filled with pipeliners making 250K and helpers making almost 100K. That was working 12 hours a day...7 days a week in the blistering Texas heat.

Fab shops don't pay much. Shut downs (plant maintenance) are okay, the pay is good but you're on a contract for a limited time then need to find a new project. Then you're living in an expensive shit hole motel or trailer park. Recruiters are starting to low ball wages due to welder abundance. Bad time for welding right now.

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Jul 27, 2017

Yes and no.

Let me explain in a simple yet effective way. College back then, was an investment. Only a very small amount of people went to college. Those came from wealthy families, got elite jobs after words or went on to lucrative professions.

Now, the stupid, moron government opened the playing field and starting guaranteeing schools their tuition and all that. Since the money was guaranteed, colleges started shooting up their prices and competitors did the same. Society pushes their kids to go to overpriced colleges (due to the government) to get majors that aren't worthy anymore and get shitty ROIs on their investment. The only majors to go college for are STEM. Not even, math and physics, for example, are useless majors that don't have any application in the market place.

But this a cycle you can't escape. The job market is now saturated with college kids. Employers now require 4 year degrees, with a preferred MBA for entry level jobs. You go $200k in the hole for a job that pays you $50k a year. It's all a scam. I feel bad for all of you to be honest. People who work up to a PHD spend all that money and don't get return to be honest, just a waste of time and money. If you're a real hustler with a brain you don't ANY more than a 4 year.

You can do trade work for $70k a year and don't need to spend 6 figures on useless degrees. Then you can open your own business and sky's the limit. You can be a hustler and fuck up someone A/C of whatever if you're the HVAC person and they will keep coming back for your services, I mean, who the fuck doesn't get their A/C fixed.

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Jul 27, 2017

"The only majors to go college for are STEM. Not even, math and physics"...I guess take out the "S" and "M"?

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Jul 27, 2017

Engineering and Computer Science is where it's at. Math and physics majors can't make shit besides theoretical...stuff on the white board and that doesn't make money unless you're a $20k per year schmuck teacher.

    • 7
Jul 27, 2017

Also, if you were able to read properly I said "Not even."

Lmao. Because a Biology major has a strong impact in the real world. Give me a break.

    • 6
Jul 27, 2017

Did you get this from Business Insider? Or MSN.com?

    • 2
Jul 27, 2017

No, just common sense.

    • 2
Jul 27, 2017

you're an idiot

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Jul 27, 2017

All the Math and Physics majors mad they can't turn all they learned into some cash hahaha.

    • 2
Jul 27, 2017

@Pump and Dump I agree with you but I'd like to point out some other "truths" (might be repeating what you've already said):

1.) You don't need to work on Wall Street to make a decent living in America. I majored in Finance and Supply Chain Management and despite the downturn in the O&G industry have seen my salary get bumped up 25%. I didn't attend some fancy pants Liberal Arts college instead I went to a local university in a major city.

What I learned early on in college is that I was exclusively responsible for my future and success. I HATE when the media shows poor college students who they say did everything right but are struggling to find a job. I call bullshit on a majority of these people.

I'm willing to bet none of these motherfuckers planned for or tried to pursue internships, tried to get work experience beyond working at a bar or fryer at KFC, or waited till the last year to visit the career services center to find a job. We have too many dumb ass people who wait for direction or don't realize that its up to them to ask the questions and tap into resources available to them.

2.) Why is it that people feel they need to live in expensive ass cities like San Francisco, New York City, etc? Do these ass clowns not realize that America is a big fucking country (same goes for Hillbilly Bob living in Bumfuck, West Virginia)? Why are you killing yourself trying to make it in NYC working part-time at Chipolte with your shitty Women's Studies degree from "$750K Liberal U"?

Move your dumb ass to places like San Antonio that have a much lower cost of living and where you can get a job that will pay enough to where you can have a chance of moving up and making it in this country.

3.) I'd love an answer on the next one. I've seen Indian grad students who despite their issues with Visas and work restrictions somehow manage to graduate, payoff their student loans, and find gainful employment while Susie Phi Delta Fuck Me or 2Cool4U Brad are struggling and living in Mommy and Daddy's basement.

This probably goes back to point #1 of absolutely idiotic people who for the life of them cannot think for themselves, make decisions, etc. A college education isn't supposed to teach you this stuff you're supposed to be able to figure things out using what little brain power you seem to have.

NO ONE should have to hold your fucking hands and teach you how to find a job, look at the cost of living and make decisions about your future, teach you how to budget. Granted we all need help in these areas but the point I'm trying to make is YOU need to take the initiative and tap into resources early on.

4.) VERY IMPORTANT! So many people have this false sense of belief that once they have a degree and a job that's it...they can now kick back and enjoy the next 40 years.

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

EVERYONE needs to educate themselves and continually be improving. You may have a bad ass job but it can be gone when you're 52. It behooves everyone to continually learn new skills and become well rounded individuals so that if you do lose your job you have other skills to fall back on. It is also up to you to save money and invest or grow your savings.

Too hard for you to figure out? Figure it the fuck out or find someone who does and learn. That shit ain't rocket science and if you managed to graduate from college you sure as fuck better be fucking able to figure 401(k)s, IRAs, and other financial terms and concepts and learn what it means to you.

NOTE: If anyone on WSO knows someone who has done everything they possibly can and is stuck working a minimum wage job please let me know. I'd love a real world example to prove me wrong!

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Oct 16, 2017

.

Jul 27, 2017

I don't want to go into entrepreneurship. I mean, opening a PWM firm would be awesome but that's my highest goal and idc care about it right now so quit using that against me.

at the end of the day, I hate the educational system but I'm still being paid by the government to go to college so I'm just going to kill it and see what happens. I know in life, closers win. I hope this thread didn't come off as me being whiny I just think you can make money without a degree but it's pretty much a must in every job post so I get it.

But, I matter more than a sheepskin. I can make it far regardless of school. Everyone has a degree, everyone has a 3.5+. Why not stand out?

Also please don't bring up blue collar jobs, scaring me.

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Jul 27, 2017

I'm going to keep this short and not ridicule you since you wrote such a nice response, fuck you.

"Chump change...analysts." Quit comparing me to fucking analysts. They're 4 years older than me. I made this money on my own and I'm proud about it since I earned it. Yes I was a dishwasher but I made $2k off that and $9k off other things, I just payed for one year of tuition outright.

I'm going to make more anyways. It's not a lot but for a 17 year old who also owns a car worth $10k and has maintained it himself and gotten a scholarship, I think I'm doing a-okay so quit comparing me to fucking analysts pal.

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Jul 28, 2017

The AMERICANDREAM is still alive, it's just in a different ECOSYSTEM now. Start your own SEX DUNGEON or CANNABIS FARM!

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Jul 27, 2017

I don't believe the American dream is about being employed and seeking external affirmation all life long. It is about self-reliance and the pursuit of happiness by using the personal freedom the constitution grants you. College may be a stepping stone towards riches but has nothing to do with being truly rich. Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg, Spiegel - to name more recent examples didn't graduate college. No one ever remembered a S&P500 CEO 10 years after his job stint ended; the American dream is exactly the opposite of what you're saying: its the granted possibility to achieve anything you want by walking the path you have created for yourself by not giving a damn about what others say; it is about creating and building things that are greater than yourself.

So is college important? For being comfortably employed all life long, yes in most cases it is. For achieving things greater than yourself? Not at all.

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Jul 27, 2017
kenofarabia:

I don't believe the American dream is about being employed and seeking external affirmation all life long. It is about self-reliance and the pursuit of happiness by using the personal freedom the constitution grants you. College may be a stepping stone towards riches but has nothing to do with being truly rich. Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg, Spiegel - to name more recent examples didn't graduate college. No one ever remembered a S&P500 CEO 10 years after his job stint ended; the American dream is exactly the opposite of what you're saying: its the granted possibility to achieve anything you want by walking the path you have created for yourself by not giving a damn about what others say; it is about creating and building things that are greater than yourself.

So is college important? For being comfortably employed all life long, yes in most cases it is. For achieving things greater than yourself? Not at all.

This. The "American dream" is one thing and one thing only--the right and ability to pursue happiness, whatever that may be. Your basic right to pursue happiness is achieved by the government respecting the rule of law and enforcing contracts, and by the government protecting your rights (to an attorney, to have a search warrant served to you prior to police entry, to freedom of speech, religion, assembly, to freedom of the press, etc.). Secondarily, your right to pursue happiness is assisted by the government by regulating interstate commerce, maintaining a stable currency, and protecting American interests overseas.

What you do with your freedom and your rights when both are granted to you AND protected is between you and yourself. To me, the "American dream" includes the OPPORTUNITY to fail, as well as the RIGHT to pick yourself up and to try again. Home ownership is not a measure of the American dream. Freedom and liberty are the measures.

Jul 27, 2017

Well college allows you to build employable skills. The problem lies with the American who fails to realize that a job is not the only path in life. Therefore, employable skills is also not the only skillset one can build. There are other paths, but we don't see them.

Jul 27, 2017

Plenty of trade jobs (as mentioned above) that can put you in the middle, even upper-middle class, if you just work hard and keep at it. You probably won't get wealthy, unless you start your own company (at which point you'd probably want a college education anyway).

Other than that, you could also make serious bank as an entrepreneur. If you're a very good developer, or can see good business opportunities, the startup route can be lucrative.
Not every startup will become a unicorn, but there are plenty of middle and lower range startups where the founders can retire (after being acquired) and live a comfy middle-class life.

Jul 27, 2017

I think it's possible to learn a skill (very well) and start getting people to pay you for it without a college degree. Seems like it's similar to the "anchor investor" concept where once you get those first few clients, it snowballs from there and you gain credibility. Definitely not as easy and requires more scrappiness without a degree.

Jul 27, 2017

if college wasn't an option, then i would develop the skillset/reputation for being an honest, sociable neighborhood mechanic. the good, honest ones make a killing and its a sticky recurring business

Jul 27, 2017

Read an article today reviewing America's dependence on the manufacturing jobs. Uneducated people, or at least men, who can't find work and decide to sit out of the labor market, aren't appealing for marriage. This hurts the ability of them to buy a home as they lack a two income home structure.

It was also pointed out that Americans don't have a strong precision work industry like in Switzerland or Germany with watches and cars. Structurally, we're not fit to resist the changing globe where capitalists are looking to compete on cost. Manufacturing is easy to outgrow because it doesn't require any creativity/skill like precision work.

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Jul 27, 2017

It takes the average college grad 15-20 years to save enough to put a down payment on a 3-br house in NYC/SF/LA

The American dream is dead for everyone, not just non-college grads

"Do you think that the society places a premium on education?" Are you asking if people who are more highly educated get paid more? Yes....

Jul 27, 2017
YungMonc:

It takes the average college grad 15-20 years to save enough to put a down payment on a 3-br house in NYC/SF/LA

The American dream is dead for everyone, not just non-college grads

"Do you think that the society places a premium on education?" Are you asking if people who are more highly educated get paid more? Yes....

What is this obsession with living in NYC/SF/LA?

I own in Chicago. Walk to work, highrise views of the lake. $350 per sqft. Little crime north of Roosevelt Road.

The American Dream is alive and well here.

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Jul 27, 2017

I believe that people believe what they want to believe. You can't convince someone that the "American dream" is alive outside cities like that if their version of the dream is living in those cities. Anyone who has been to a poor country and who knows how difficult it can be even to get by outside the US knows that we basically live lives as though we had video game cheat codes. All we have to do is work hard and we can get rich. That the possibility to get rich even exists is a total change in worldview for many outside this country.

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Jul 27, 2017

Looking to own property with a yard near the city someday

Jul 27, 2017

Learn. A. Trade.

I've spoken to so many people who either...
1.) go to CC or no undergrad at all
2.) constantly complain about their overwhelming student debt

This country needs electricians, plumbers, garbage men/women, and local mechanics now more than ever. Unfortunately, we now have this large, unneeded social pressure to obtain multiple degrees. I guess people care about the "prestige" behind their title, but beyond that I can't quite understand it. I personally know electricians that made 60k+ out of their trade program, which was soon followed by 80-100k+ once they built a decent client base (granted some took a few more years than others). One of these fellows started his own local company and makes 250+. No degree.

This being said, many Americans w/o a bachelors simply don't believe in themselves. You don't think you'll ever make over 50k/year, you won't. You don't think you'll ever leave your drive-thru gig at McDonalds, you won't. These indivuals would rather live off of the govt than summon the courage to make a significant personal financial leap. This is where the stereotype and social pressure originates. Making money is a personal choice, nothing more.

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Jul 27, 2017

Considering that housing prices fluctuate/inflate independent of salaries, it would make sense that at some point the two will be disconnected.

Jul 27, 2017
FinanceRob:

Considering that housing prices fluctuate/inflate independent of salaries, it would make sense that at some point the two will be disconnected.

It wasn't like this until the early 1990's. From about 1890 to about 1990 real estate prices generally tracked with inflation. It wasn't until Fannie Mae decided to "make home possible" in the late 1980's/early 1990's that real estate prices became disconnected with inflation and/or wage growth.

Jul 27, 2017

Even during the 1920-30s?

Jul 27, 2017

Coal miners make a lot of money without going to college. It's terrible for their health, but it pays the bills for their family.

Jul 27, 2017

Coal mining employs less people than Arby's and the solar industry. It is a dying industry and not worth living with horrific medical conditions for the rest of their life.

Jul 27, 2017

Per Time magazine, the coal indistry, in terms of labor, is expected to remain stable for 20 years. I'll try to find the stats and I'll message them to you

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Jul 27, 2017

One of my buddy's dad got arrested, went to a community college, and worked at McDonald's. He started his own business and now he clears $300k.

Jul 27, 2017

No one threw out the idea that college is more than just for a degree. What a badass experience all around it is. You'll meet the best people and make the best memories.

Jul 27, 2017

Person A goes to a no-name state school and majors in Gender Studies, and graduates with a decent GPA.
Person B goes to a community college and learns welding, and then moves to the mountains where pay is twice as high. He also flips some cars on the side that he buys from auctions.

In terms of becoming successful, I would probably put more faith in Person B, unless Person A has a strong network.

Jul 27, 2017

I think there are a couple things that should be addressed.

  1. There are plenty of high paying blue collar jobs like plumbing/mechanics/etc that don't require college degrees and give workers a great standard of lifestyle.
  2. Going to college is only semi-valuable if you get a degree from a top 150 school. Most college graduates attended useless schools like Eastern Kentucky Blah Blah, which are not worth the cost.
  3. Unless you go to a t20 school in the US or top 5 in the UK, study a degree that is valuable. You can only get away with studying something like Russian History if it is at a place like Harvard/UVA/Oxbridge/LSE/UCL/etc.
  4. Unlike people in WSO, people would love to settle with a $60K 9-5 job. The vast majority of Americans are lazy and/or unaware of the opportunities available to them. The amount of poor people I have talked to that complain about great schools being insanely expensive yet not even checking the websites to understand they would get full aid is amazingly high.
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Jul 27, 2017
jackdonaghy26:

I think there are a couple things that should be addressed.

    - There are plenty of high paying blue collar jobs like plumbing/mechanics/etc that don't require college degrees and give workers a great standard of lifestyle.
    - Going to college is only semi-valuable if you get a degree from a top 150 school. Most college graduates attended useless schools like Eastern Kentucky Blah Blah, which are not worth the cost.
    - Unless you go to a t20 school in the US or top 5 in the UK, study a degree that is valuable. You can only get away with studying something like Russian History if it is at a place like Harvard/UVA/Oxbridge/LSE/UCL/etc.
    - Unlike people in WSO, people would love to settle with a $60K 9-5 job. The vast majority of Americans are lazy and/or unaware of the opportunities available to them. The amount of poor people I have talked to that complain about great schools being insanely expensive yet not even checking the websites to understand they would get full aid is amazingly high.

100% correct in every respect.

Jul 27, 2017

FYI - CFO of my current F500 went to a school likely quite a bit smaller than Eastern Kentucky and makes millions a year. So I would guess his degree has paid off well for him.

Jul 27, 2017

I am not saying there aren't successful graduates from no-name universities but you can't deny that there are more successful alumni from reputable colleges. Reputable colleges provide a huge network of elite alumni + easier chances to break through in tough industries + name to carry you throughout your career. There will always be 1 in a million stories, but those people are almost always the ones that were smart but simply didn't apply themselves in HS and did later on in life.

Jul 27, 2017
Big4please:

FYI - CFO of my current F500 went to a school likely quite a bit smaller than Eastern Kentucky and makes millions a year. So I would guess his degree has paid off well for him.

Pretty sure kids shouldn't make life decisions off of extreme outliers.

Jul 27, 2017

College is a fucking joke. The sooner America figures this out the better

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Jul 27, 2017

@Pump and Dump I think college is hurting the middle class, but I think if you're ok in academics and can get by you should go. Today's world is mostly driven by academics, from textbook size tax codes to drivers manuals, to the policy going on in Washington. There's hardly a place where the skills you gain in school and on a job don't come to be helpful. Just because a job might not lead to Warren Buffett money, there are some benefits to it. Generally, it might not be the end to real success, but it could be the means to finding what you want in out of life.

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Jul 27, 2017

A sheepskin doesn't teach me how to make money pal. That's all I'm trying to say. I've made shit money ($9k that didn't require me to pick up multiple textbooks.)

Don't fix it if it isn't beoken

Jul 27, 2017

And most people who are degrading me here are from elite schools and rich families. Can pick em out right now. That's not my case. They shouldn't be applying their anecdotal bullshit to me

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Jul 27, 2017
Pump and Dump:

And most people who are degrading me here are from elite schools and rich families. Can pick em out right now. That's not my case. They shouldn't be applying their anecdotal bullshit to me

Why are you on this site exactly?

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Jul 27, 2017

Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, John Mackey, all college dropouts.

If anything, the American dream is alive because of them.

    • 1
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Jul 27, 2017

For those who don't want to waste 10 mins of your life, allow me to summarize:

-High school senior username @pumpanddump , purportedly "here for advice" begins spouting off the pitfalls of a college education to a bunch of current college students and college-educated professionals.

  • What started as droll puffery devolves into out and out dick measuring over the internet. All the participants should know that they being held in lower esteem for even having entered the fray.

@DickFuld>-@DickFuld comes in too late to save the thread, but his response was right on.

This is a contender for worst thread of the year. Threads like this make me embarrassed to visit this forum, and make me seriously consider deleting my account.

Jul 27, 2017

Thanks pal. I will not lie I felt like defending my argument but it did turn into a shitshow. I enjoyed this thread tO be honest.

Jul 27, 2017

Besides what's posted, the right combination of work you love, grit, and luck can count for more than a degree.

I've already stated this before, but there's a member of my extended family who was not enjoying college due to not feeling like they had any direction there. They went into their job full time, got promoted from being a teller, and over the course of the last two years has earned a series of promotions culiminating with becoming a branch supervisor.... they have higher ambitions (the kind of job typically filled by a finance student with a high GPA from a ranked school) that may well happen due to a good reputation with the particular regional bank's management.

Put that into perspective. This person is now clearing, without a degree, more income every year than most people with name brand schools without a science degree do (exceptions for jobs like being an IB analyst of course)...and got there in about half the time.

    • 1
Jul 27, 2017

You have an award-worthy username. Have a banana

Jul 27, 2017

Coincidentally, the person I'm writing this post about is the inspiration for the username: they have a Chihuahua with an extremely nasty attitude towards anyone who is not that person.

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Jul 27, 2017

@AndyLouis Can you archive this thread?

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Jul 28, 2017

As long as America is still at the top of the global food chain, the American Dream will be alive and well for anyone with a solid work ethic. Tons of guys in Middle America have little to no college, but they work as linesmen, electricians, HVAC repairmen, etc. Lots of my friends from high school are in these fields and they're doing quite well for themselves. Smart kids from the lower middle class can still make it to college, and tons of schools have scholarships for smart/poor kids. Paired with CC, and an affinity for ramen noodles, the American dream is still alive and well.

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Jul 28, 2017

There is a lot of survivorship bias and serendipity being overlooked in the anecdotal stories of plumbers making 200k as well as the allusions to the college drop-out technocrats like Zuck, and Co. They are living examples of the heights of American opportunity, but as with any data set the outliers are more of a distraction than an accurate depiction of it. I'd wager the further out the outlier the more uncontrollable factors beyond that person's influence shaped their course. At a certain point, intellect and work ethic became prerequisites and a smattering of timing, luck, and happenstance determine the resulting distribution of success.

I'm certainly not implying any and all success is attributed to blind luck nor am I discrediting personal achievement of any kind. But, there is a sense of inevitability in some of these posts that are striking. The truth is that for Americans without college degrees the economic reality is becoming increasingly dimmer. This an objective fact based on both declining income and declining demand for these workers. This doesn't mean not having a college-degree is a death sentence, but it's certainly an anchor that's becoming more limiting in the 21st century.

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Jul 27, 2017

I agree that outliers shouldn't be taken as the rule (I actually mentioned this above), but the economic prospects for non-college graduates are growing dimmer because they aren't opting to acquire skills in well paid fields that don't require a bachelor's degree. There are millions of unfilled jobs in manufacturing, for example, because there isn't the labor available with the requisite skill set.

In some ways, however, it's a Catch-22. The people intelligent enough at the age of 18 to understand that there are many really well paid career paths that don't require a college education are usually the ones who are "college material" and will be going to college anyway. Stupid people--or people who are poorly educated--don't understand that there are thousands of random jobs most people have never heard of that pay REALLY well and don't require a college degree, but that DO require additional training.

Jul 28, 2017

I don't think its a secret that we are ideologically opposed, but I think you post some of the most well-reasoned content on the site. I'd agree with all the above-- The only thing I'd add is that the education system is owed its fair share of blame for the shortfall in skills and capabilities. Particularly in inner cities where it utterly fails those who are the most dependent upon it. Secondary education should emphasize the ability to learn and think critically, but it should also have a responsibility to produce graduates that have a relevant, remunerative skill set. Double for those with no prospects of going on to additional levels of education.

Jul 28, 2017

This thread is so messy.

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Jul 27, 2017

This thread is a fucking disaster and I feel like a lesser human being for having tried to offer any advice. Brb I'm going to go cry

Jul 28, 2017

LMAO I saw you trying to get the poor kid to see the light. I am amazed at how he is still able to continue to make multiple accounts, moan about the same shit and manage to piss everyone off for the majority of this summer. Like who puts that kind of time and effort into trolling hahaha

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Aug 4, 2017

What IlliBrogrammer and some of you have said is. I'm a living example of it, somewhat. Some dates will vary for my privacy.

  • Didn't focus around in grade school and college. Smart (graduated <21) but not disciplined (2.98 GPA).
  • Submitted over 400 resumes, nothing. I was interviewing for shit that paid 32K. Got depressed, considered myself a failure.
  • Got a random office job in healthcare off Craigslist. They needed someone who could start right away.
  • End up pulling 55K a year as a newbie at 21, get promoted.....rake in 60-85K while there.
  • Stick there for a couple of years, got transferred to a new city. Boss at old office couldn't get fired because he was a C-level exec's fam member so I'm sacrificed.
  • Job market in new city is dead (O&G slump), I didn't think it would be this bad. Also, my savings run out.
  • Live off unemployment, on/off depression hits, perform odd jobs (construction, virtual PA, rent my apt on AirBNB) for cash. Miraculously I found a way to pay rent every month.
  • Say fuck it....visit my old city and got a bunch of job offers paying 45K. LOL, no thanks.
  • I decide that cash > prestige (white collar job), decide to hit the oil patch. Don't give a fuck about peers or family's opinions. Studied for my CDL permit 24/7 for a week, pass it.
  • Found an entry level O&G field job paying 90K+ a year two days later. Drove 3.5 hours to my interview.

Don't regret it at all. It has excellent benefits (great insurance, 401K matching, some pay when not working) and the training is top notch. I work 2 weeks on and 1 off. Also, once I get my actual CDL my pay will be 100K+. Working on days off will only increase my pay even more. If I get tired I can fuck off to another city for an entire week to rest. Housing is provided when working so I don't pay rent. When off I visit friends or AirBNB. The hours are long but it fucking beats making 45K while paying rent and having a high premium/deductible insurance. The oil patch is ramping up so they're hiring anyone with a pulse that can pass a physical and drug test. Not many will be comfortable with working in freezing (-40F in North Dakota) or hot (120 in West Texas) temperatures while being dirty and swinging a sledgehammer...but those checks put a smile to my face. I know some kids that under 21 and make 70K working. Roughnecking seems more fun but I'm willing to forgo the pay so I can keep my fingers.

Did I mention that my coworkers are not PC? We shoot the shit and talk about so many things that we'd all get fire in an office job. You learn some new lingo along the way too. Developing thick skin was a must because these country boys are savage.

My plan is not to stay here long term but to pay off all my debts, keep my expenses down, and invest my income in crypto. Maybe go back to school and study something worthwhile. Who knows, but fuck being a low-paid office jockey.

Most people nowadays don't want to put in the work to become successful.

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Aug 5, 2017

After my around the world tour I think the new "American" dream is off in China now.

For millions of Americans if you're okay with a ~$100k salary and buying things like iphones and tv's but never owning your house unless it's off in flyover state, then yeah the American dream is still alive.

If you want a real shot at making high six to low seven figures from your own hard work and creativity, there are much better countries to do this in. The average American worker is simply not competitive globally.

If I start a business here I have to pay out my butt for regulations, taxes, and after all that I get 3 bottom of the barrel CS millennials who want $150k+ plus benefits/healthcare. The decent ones w/ experience doing full stack want $200k+.

That same work force in China with PHD's in CS who will program 12 hours a day for me will cost $40k plus benefits. If you ever visit Shenzhen you'll see what I'm talking about.

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Jul 27, 2017
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