Let me just get it right out of the way and say, ‘I loved going to college!’ I enjoyed being away at school, making my own decisions, choosing my major (shoutout to all my Poli Sci peeps) and of course the partying. Yes I was there to get an education and become more well-rounded but it wasn’t until I graduated and got into the real world, that the real education started and a whole lot of things I thought were true were the farthest thing from it.

Fact vs. Fiction

I remember going to my first business class during my sophomore year. The instructor introduced himself and asked us to turn to the back of the textbook (yes it was a real textbook!). He showed us a diagram and asked what it symbolized. When someone answered that it was a company’s organizational chart in the shape of a triangle, he then asked ‘what does it tell you?’  No one answered, so he said, ‘it should tell you that in this class of 300, only one of you will be the boss and make the big bucks!’ I didn’t think much of it and laughed it off. I mean, I was in college, isn’t this why I came? I expected to land a great job after college, and if I chose graduate school, an even better one. I had big dreams and an even bigger ego.

I graduated in 1989 with a degree in Political Science and within a year I was introduced to my first recession. The Persian Gulf War started and the job market shrank considerably. Suddenly I was unemployed with nothing but my degree in hand and no opportunities in sight. Management Trainee programs that were once littered throughout the financial sector were practically gone and only friends of friends managed to get those few coveted spots. I thought about going back to graduate school although I wasn’t sure what I would take considering I had a Political Science degree. I looked into different options and settled on a Master’s Degree in Finance. Then another dose of good old-fashioned reality hit. In order to attend graduate school, I would need to take several prerequisite courses before I could take courses for my master’s degree. When I did the math the results were astounding! The cost of prerequisite courses coupled with the graduate school courses was going to cost more than my undergraduate degree and take just as long with me taking classes continuously. My parents couldn’t help me with tuition and I was facing $80,000 worth of debt when I graduated. This quickly became a non-option. Times were tough and only getting tougher. I toiled for a few years trying my hand at various other jobs, but somehow nothing clicked. 

One day after another Wall St. interview, I ran into a college buddy who was going into the building I was exiting. We chatted and I told my sad story but he looked so carefree and comfortable that it kind of made me feel uncomfortable. How could he be so relaxed and at peace when it was so tough out here? I must have looked frustrated and confused because he put his hand on my shoulder and leaned toward me and told me the secret. He said ‘we have a bunch of openings in technology here. All you need to do is go to this school, get your certificate and you can get a great job, just like that!’ I couldn’t believe it and said, ‘we went to college. Why do we need to go to school again?’ His reply was so simple yet so on point, ‘this school actually teaches you everything you have to know. Just make sure you pay attention.’ As simple as this sounds it is 1000% accurate. I went to tech school for 10 months at a cost of approximately $10,000 and this led to my career working for a fintech company earning over $180,000 annually as a non-officer of the company. No one ever cared nor asked about my college education, but every day, virtually everything I did at work, I learned in tech school.

These early lessons about education and career have helped shape my current views of today’s workforce especially since I have a son and 2 nieces that will be entering this new workforce. The landscape for today’s workers has changed dramatically with the emergence of Covid-19, cryptocurrencies, new technologies, and remote work. Families really need to factor in the costs of education vs the reality of the current economy.

Fact:
  • Average cost of private college: $38, 185
  • Average cost of public college: $27, 023
  • Average debt of college grad: $28,800
  • Average cost of Technical/Trade School: $33,00
  • Certification programs take less time to complete with the average certificate taking  2 weeks to 2 yeaomrs  to cplete.
  • Companies are removing the traditional educational requirement (college degree) for many positions Check Here
Fiction:

American society continues to push for higher education in spite of growing evidence that costs in many cases outweigh the benefits. The cost of attending college and its accompanying debt make choosing college a tougher choice, and for some, no choice at all. It’s hard to rationalize the cost of an education when the ROI is far from guaranteed. Mid-career professionals encountering career dissatisfaction are also in a difficult position. Trying to find a new career in  the face of rising inflation costs, time constraints, life pressures, their college debt and their children’s future debt is a monumental task.

A New Day, A New Way

Covid-19 really did a number on the way we live. The global impact was felt from the way we see family and friends all the way to the way we handle our careers. While Covid did a lot to disrupt our lives, it also enhanced it in many ways. Today workers see their careers through a different lens. The work-life balance plays a much bigger role and individuals are looking at a number of factors when applying to and accepting offers from employers. Social factors and technology have played a big role in changing the landscape. Zoom meetings, E-Learning, work from anywhere, and blockchain are just some of the innovations that have really taken the business community by storm. Companies have had to address these challenges in a rapid manner and have discovered sound practices for addressing these disruptions. In many instances, these changes help create the new opportunities we are enjoying today. These new opportunities are vast and numerous but navigating this new world is not easy. People need guidance and a way to sift through all the information to find what they’re actually looking for. That’s why it’s important for companies like Noveo to help. Noveo is an AI platform designed to help achieve greater professional and financial success using a customized approach to an individual’s job search. Noveo employs artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics to help users develop a career plan that’s in line with their career goals and objectives. Noveo clients receive a breakdown of potential career options as well as a comprehensive packet detailing the steps required to achieve satisfying careers in the fields they desire. 

Not going to college should not be viewed the way it once was. While high schools and colleges across the country continue to promote the traditional path to higher earnings and better opportunities, families should really take the time to consider the impact that it will have not only on their child’s lives, but on theirs as well, People should become very aware that the traditional path is neither the only path nor the fastest path to success. New opportunities abound in the metaverse as well as within security, trucking, finance, and all areas of technology. Today’s workers are no longer just considering pay; they are driven by work-life balance issues and want to be productive in the work they do. While college was once considered the path to success, the costs & debt associated with college will give many causes to pause. 

The outlook for today’s workers is more positive than ever. Technology, Covid-19, social issues, and even climate change all contribute to the new ways we work. Yes, we say goodbye to jobs we once knew well, but we also welcome new and exciting careers. Careers that will likely give birth to more unknown and exciting opportunities. Companies like Noveo that help individuals better understand themselves will disrupt the status quo of colleges and universities and provide individuals with options and alternative pathways to success. 

I’m wondering what Bill Gates would have advised Mark Zuckerberg to do about dropping out of Harvard to pursue his Facebook dream if they were flying on Richard Branson’s private plane listening to Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind?

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