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creekland

The Myth of the Successful College Dropout

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I think that we have to teach our kids not to be dupes. They need to not think that they are the next Bill Gates just because they like to play video games.

 

 

 

Yes. This is what I find myself telling my boys a lot. They seem to think they will all be video game testers by simply playing video games. This may be a rude awakening. :-)

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Yes. This is what I find myself telling my boys a lot. They seem to think they will all be video game testers by simply playing video games. This may be a rude awakening. :-)

 

Yes, my youngest dd thinks this is what she will be doing. I say, yes, and every boy in the US wants that job too. Better at least have another plan in the works...

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my ex kept telling my teen that he could make a good living being a game tester. my husband has had to correct that attitude over time . . .

 

i really wish dh could go in to business for himself but he simply doesnt have the soft skills. i MIGHT be able to help him . . but not now, not while homeschooling 2 2E boys . . .

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I would add a few to Creekland's list.

 

Young adults we know who decided not to go to college:

 

Work at landscaping. Not much money unless you own your own business. The one who did this with a landscaping/small business degree from the community college seems to be hiring the others. One has managed to hire his friends without going to college first. My husband hired him fairly early on to help with something and showed him how to make estimates and write out bills for people. That it was my husband who showed him how to do this is just insane. This is a random friend of our son's, not one of the ones whose families are involved with the community or who we've watched grow up. Where was his family? We find his vulnerability scary. But anyway, he is still doing landscaping several years later. He has a truck and some equipment. I suspect he is still iving with his parents but that is so common here in my particular town that I can't tell if it is a happy thing or an unhappy thing.

 

Musician with a day job. We know one of these. He is happy. He is learning the thing he really cares about - music. He lives at home because his parents are in poor health and need him. As long as he doesn't bung up his hands, I think he'll be fine.

 

Off saving the world. These are fine. Will they do it forever? Who knows. At the moment, they are doing what they want and volunteers or volunteer organizations are housing and feeding them.

 

Painting company. Or working for the friend with the painting company. They aren't doing very well.

 

Retail. These live at home (again, not necesarily an unhappy thing here) or they wouldn't make it. Or if they have no family, they couch surf. Ask me how I know.

 

Nursing home. This requires some training. The one doing this finds it heartbreaking because the residents want her to take the time to visit with them and the management wants her to get as many people bathed and dressed and fed as fast as possible. Needless to say, she is not happy. She lives with her parents.

 

Working for the YMCA or one of the local gyms. These seem to be fairly happy but they aren't self-supporting and one wonders about their future.

 

Daycare. These have some training. I doubt they make enough money to support themselves.

 

Family business. These seem to be ok. They live at home still but this is seen as normal. Future housing when they have a family of their own is a problem because house prices here are crazy crazy, but a common thing is to make an apartment in the family home (if there isn't one already), put the young family in it, then when the parents retire, they move to a condo and the young ones take over the family house. Or land is split and a new house is built.

 

Too many are just plain getting lost. A few have given up and are now going to the community college, starting at 25yo, with loans. I hope they are happier afterwards and manage to find jobs and pay off their loans. Mostly, I hope they finish.

 

As far as I can tell, it comes down to this: The ones with family support and dead-end jobs are ok, at least for now. Some of these will probably eventually go to college. The ones with family support and their own small businesses are ok and probably will be ok if they can manage to learn some business skills and if the economy is ok. The ones with family support whose families have a business or farm are fine, probably for good. The ones with family support who have something else they are doing, like saving the world or being a musician, are fine, probably for good. The ones with no family support after high school are incredibly vulnerable. Some of them are so very lost.

 

Nan

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I'll add a bit more to the "start your business" stuff. Disclaimer: I am in a wicked bad mood, so if I come across poorly, please see my intention to enlighten and inform, not browbeat.

 

Starting your own business requires money management skills and personal skills. Without a degree in BA/BS or whatever, it can be harder to change career paths down the line. I don't see any of us telling our high schoolers that it's okay to not finish high school, you can always come back to it later. No. We want to help launch them into the world with some positive velocity.

 

Owning your own business also requires a good amount of discipline. A self-employed person's income can vary wildly from month to month. We've had months were dh brought in x amount of dollar in January (not even enough to cover living expenses for the month), and 10x in July. Even if you start a cottage business, you need some capital upfront to account for those variations. Also you need to be disciplined to save during the 10x months. If not you'll starve in January. Also you need to be disciplined to pay your taxes. When you're self-employed and you get a check for 100.00, you shouldn't spend 100.00, you need to save and plan for taxes. Realizing you need 5k in April to cover your taxes from last year is not pretty. It's not too many years of stumbling along like that can create real headaches. The IRS is not forgiving, they will seize your property and put liens on it. If you are a self-employed sole proprieter there is no separation of personal and business property from my knowledge. without some parental guidance many (many, not all) 18 year olds are not disciplined enough to deal with this alone. The most successful young business owners probably come from families that already own businesses and can help their children through those steps. It's also one thing if you're making a small salary, the whole thing gets more hairy if you're trying to provide for a family and create a large income.

 

Personal skills are another. You won't just have one boss, you'll have several, your clients. I think any child with a desire to own their own business needs to work in a customer oriented field first, fast food, retail, something so they can have experience dealing with good/bad customers. In business, reputation and word of mouth are your best advertisements. If you tick off one customer, 15 people will know. If you make one customer happy, they may tell fewer people. If you tarnish your business reputation with bad service, poor communication skills, or bad money management you can easily lose your clientele, your suppliers, and your entire livelihood.

 

Owning your own business is not for the faint of heart. People may hire a teen to mow their lawn and have lower expectations because they're inexperienced or just a kid. Once you become an adult the playing field of expectation changes. In this economy people want the most bang for their buck, they can't pay for inferior service or merchandise just to help you get started in your business.

 

My ds has expressed interest in having his own business. My advice to pursue a degree doesn't change. He can work on developing ideas in college and testing the waters to see if it will work. If not, he'll have a degree and some experience. If so, he'll have a degree should he ever decide to change careers.

 

Just my .02+ today.

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I'll add a bit more to the "start your business" stuff. Disclaimer: I am in a wicked bad mood, so if I come across poorly, please see my intention to enlighten and inform, not browbeat.

 

Starting your own business requires money management skills and personal skills. Without a degree in BA/BS or whatever, it can be harder to change career paths down the line. I don't see any of us telling our high schoolers that it's okay to not finish high school, you can always come back to it later. No. We want to help launch them into the world with some positive velocity.

 

Owning your own business also requires a good amount of discipline. A self-employed person's income can vary wildly from month to month. We've had months were dh brought in x amount of dollar in January (not even enough to cover living expenses for the month), and 10x in July. Even if you start a cottage business, you need some capital upfront to account for those variations. Also you need to be disciplined to save during the 10x months. If not you'll starve in January. Also you need to be disciplined to pay your taxes. When you're self-employed and you get a check for 100.00, you shouldn't spend 100.00, you need to save and plan for taxes. Realizing you need 5k in April to cover your taxes from last year is not pretty. It's not too many years of stumbling along like that can create real headaches. The IRS is not forgiving, they will seize your property and put liens on it. If you are a self-employed sole proprieter there is no separation of personal and business property from my knowledge. without some parental guidance many (many, not all) 18 year olds are not disciplined enough to deal with this alone. The most successful young business owners probably come from families that already own businesses and can help their children through those steps. It's also one thing if you're making a small salary, the whole thing gets more hairy if you're trying to provide for a family and create a large income.

 

Personal skills are another. You won't just have one boss, you'll have several, your clients. I think any child with a desire to own their own business needs to work in a customer oriented field first, fast food, retail, something so they can have experience dealing with good/bad customers. In business, reputation and word of mouth are your best advertisements. If you tick off one customer, 15 people will know. If you make one customer happy, they may tell fewer people. If you tarnish your business reputation with bad service, poor communication skills, or bad money management you can easily lose your clientele, your suppliers, and your entire livelihood.

 

Owning your own business is not for the faint of heart. People may hire a teen to mow their lawn and have lower expectations because they're inexperienced or just a kid. Once you become an adult the playing field of expectation changes. In this economy people want the most bang for their buck, they can't pay for inferior service or merchandise just to help you get started in your business.

 

My dh has expressed interest in having his own business. My advice to pursue a degree doesn't change. He can work on developing ideas in college and testing the waters to see if it will work. If not, he'll have a degree and some experience. If so, he'll have a degree should he ever decide to change careers.

 

Just my .02+ today.

 

Yes x100 to this. Owning your own business doesn't just mean you are good at your specific marketable skill but it also means that you are doing accounting, marketing, dealing with projects when things go wrong even when it's not your fault, dealing with projects when things go wrong and it IS your fault, dealing with insurance, dealing with state licensing, dealing with project management at other companies, filing, answering the phones, doing your own IT stuff. And that's a pretty small list of things you do DAILY.

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Yes x100 to this. Owning your own business doesn't just mean you are good at your specific marketable skill but it also means that you are doing accounting, marketing, dealing with projects when things go wrong even when it's not your fault, dealing with projects when things go wrong and it IS your fault, dealing with insurance, dealing with state licensing, dealing with project management at other companies, filing, answering the phones, doing your own IT stuff. And that's a pretty small list of things you do DAILY.

 

Yes. My grandfather was a chef, and also owned a couple of successful restaurants over his career. But what made them successful was not just that he could cook well, but that he was a very good businessman. And yes, he worked very hard. But so do many great chefs who have unsuccessful restaurants because they can't manage the business end.

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elegantlion - My husband owns his own business. Yes yes and yes. He has nightmares about not having saved enough to pay taxes. When he finally decided to pay an accountant, she was horrified at the way he was doing things. Some of the horror was because he was so scared he was paying way ahead of time, just in case he didn't have the money when the time came. He is an engineer working with government regulations and it STILL was difficult to budget, estimate, bill, and figure out the taxes. The business part is NOT easy. Obviously, it can be done. Just that it isn't easy. And that running a truck and a few lawn mowers out of your parents' driveway and hiring your friends to run the lawn mowers is a beginning but still pretty far from running the sort of business that lets you be able to support a household.

 

Nan

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I live in a tourist area so there is a lot of seasonal work available. Kids without degrees and kids in college can always find seasonal work in restaurants but many of these joints shut down or operate on limited hours for half of the year. In the past few months I have eaten in several restaurants that have adults who have made a career in waiting. These are not cheapo joints so good service is expected--and the servers have been in the same restaurant for five or ten years. I honestly don't know if they have degrees, but I am thinking that this might be a career for someone who does not want to go to college. It would require late night hours, a strong body and a charming personality.

 

Kitchen work is another way to go. The two women I know who attended culinary school ended up hating the un-friendly family hours but if one needs to earn a living, one does what is needed. One of my acquaintances works in a kitchen that serves lunch and snacks. She is now attending college though because she does not want to spend the rest of her life in that kitchen.

 

Retail establishments usually want employees who work fewer than 40 hours. I have a friend who supplements her Social Security by working in retail. The store where she works gives the clerks 20-25 hours per work then hires seasonal workers at Christmas to avoid paying overtime. I don't know if the manager or assistant manager there have degrees.

 

The mother of a boy with whom my son formerly played sports lamented the downsizing of the military. Her son really wants to be a Marine but he lacks an attractive skill set for today's leaner military. Unfortunately this option will not be as readily available as it was in the past.

 

It is hard--especially for those kids who just don't know where they are going yet alone how to get there!

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I think this is so hard because it is this balance between wanting your child to be happy, follow his passion, etc, etc, and yet also be prepared for the future. When I was younger, I was so much more idealistic, thinking that you must follow your heart, find your purpose in life, etc. Yet, once you have kids and a house and a dog and bills, you have to be able to pay the bills or else life is really really stressful. I know people who have gone off to live in the woods or travel the world and are quite happy with their lives, making very little money. But, not every one is going to want that permanently. And if you do decide you want to get married, have kids, settle down, etc, it is much less stressful to be able to support your family without working two jobs and tons of overtime. It's such a hard balance.

 

I think a good idea would be to get a degree in something that trains you to do a specific job, gives you a specific skill set straight out of college. Occupational therapist, physical therapist, nurse, etc. A lot of those jobs, even the ones that require master's degrees, have programs where the bachelor and masters is combined into 5 years. Because even if that winds up not being the thing you do for the rest of your life, you have something that you can go pretty much anywhere and get a job most any time. You could even work less than full time because the pay is significant enough compared to working at a retail or a grocery store.

 

Also, it makes me wonder more about helping our kids to get bachelor's degrees faster. I used to think that needed more time for development and exploration to really decide what they want to do in life, but is 16 much different from 18 in that regard? I feel like it's not so much. I almost wonder if helping them go to college early gives them more time, because at least they have that bachelor's degree under their belt. It is so much harder to be completing school when you have littel kids.

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It is important to remember that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg were going to become who they are even if they'd finished and received their BAs. Not everyone, in fact-nearly no one, will become them-with or without a degree. There are plenty of jobs in the world that let one earn a decent living without a degree. There are many jobs for which that degree is just the entrance ticket to the workforce and how you succeed depends on your performance. If you want a job that requires that ticket you better get the degree. Or, another way of looking at it-who works for Microsoft, Apple and Facebook? A host of computer savvy college drop outs or a bunch of folks with degrees? I'm betting that those "successful" dropouts didn't hire folks who were also drop outs but rather folks who had the credentials they deemed necessary.

 

I would encourage my kids to think long and hard about what they want from life; what sort of work, income, and lifestyle. Then decide if they need a 4 year degree to achieve that goal. If they need it then we shop for an appropriate university/college as savvy consumers.

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I just want to say that I have a tremendous amount of empathy for 18 year olds -- think how much conflicting advice they are getting about this subject, and no one really knows what the future will hold. I hear all kinds of conflicting advice: Don't go to college, only go if you don't have any debt, ring up a little debt, don't worry about debt, only go to the cheapest college you can get into, go to the best college you are accepted to, etc.etc. etc.

 

And if they choose incorrectly, they get blamed for being stupid and not taking the correct path, or not being "grown up" enough to foresee the future.

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I'll add a bit more to the "start your business" stuff. Disclaimer: I am in a wicked bad mood, so if I come across poorly, please see my intention to enlighten and inform, not browbeat.

 

 

You did NOT come across poorly - you wrote an EXCELLENT post! Having been supported by hubby's business for the past 12 years (and him being in it for an additional two without supporting us), I agree 100%. His engineering is great and his people skills match. Both are needed to be successful. Both are why he doesn't need to advertise any longer (saves $$) and why he is able to expand worldwide. Word of mouth (good and bad) gets around.

 

Then there's the whole "business" issue. Fortunately, he's great with that too - and I've learned to budget - a definite must.

 

I know people who have gone off to live in the woods or travel the world and are quite happy with their lives, making very little money.

 

Our retirement dream... but with savings to carry us over and provide for health issues.

 

 

Also, it makes me wonder more about helping our kids to get bachelor's degrees faster. I used to think that needed more time for development and exploration to really decide what they want to do in life, but is 16 much different from 18 in that regard?

 

 

With mine there is a HUGE difference - and I consider my kids to be far more mature than the average teen I see in high school. The teen brain is still developing until 21 - 25 last I read.

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There are plenty of jobs in the world that let one earn a decent living without a degree.

 

 

Can you help name some? We've been getting a list going of things we've seen recent high school students without degrees (or certificates) do. Most haven't been in what I'd consider "decent wage" territory, but a few can be. It could be helpful to have a larger list.

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With mine there is a HUGE difference - and I consider my kids to be far more mature than the average teen I see in high school. The teen brain is still developing until 21 - 25 last I read.

 

Yes, that's what I mean. How many teenagers at 18 know what they want to do with their life? It seems like, if getting a bachelor's degree is just a stepping stone in many cases, maybe starting a bit earlier just gets that in your hand quicker. I'm not saying I think that's always a good idea, just thinking out loud. I certainly wouldn't want to send my 16 yr old away to college, I just mean, in terms if kids who start to earn college credits early.

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Can you help name some? We've been getting a list going of things we've seen recent high school students without degrees (or certificates) do. Most haven't been in what I'd consider "decent wage" territory, but a few can be. It could be helpful to have a larger list.

 

In answer to this specific question -- the only thing I'm seeing here are high school grads who hired on with a bigger company like Geico, Wells Fargo, etc., and do a super job at the entry level position, and are being promoted and moved up by the company. (However, I have to wonder if they will need to get a BA at some point, if the company has a policy that causes you to top out at a certain pay scale without the degree...)

 

One woman I know who suddenly was a single-mom went and got an interior design certificate, but all that did was give her a few initial contacts -- she was extremely skilled at faux finish painting of interiors and also did Venetian plaster technique, and made really good money in the very expensive neighborhoods -- until the economy crashed. The key here is to be good at some sort of skilled trade and get your foot in the door with a contractor or realtor to developer of the wealthy... Or even if you can get one job with a wealthy homeowner and then work on referrals.

 

What about getting a certification in a safety inspection type of field? Yes, you need to pay for the certification, but that might be a steady job, since the US Gov't requires safety standards in so many fields. National Association of Safety Professionals.

 

What about paid-training jobs -- I really don't know what the pay scale is for these, but just throwing out ideas of jobs that often have on-the-job training, and need no degree or certificate: pet grooming; pet training; event/catering types of jobs (floral arranging, cake decorating, wedding planner); tech support; search engine specialist/researcher; hospitality industry; utilities (electric, gas, water, cable/satellite, waste management); transportation (bus driver, truck driver, railroad, shipping...)

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Thanks for starting this thread, Creekland! I have been avidly reading everyone's responses, and really appreciate ALL the points being brought up! I just wanted to throw my general 2 cents worth in with everyone else's comments. ;)

 

This is a changing, shifting time we are living in -- in terms of the sudden escalation of college costs causing huge debt; the job market going south and making it difficult to find anything that pays enough to support a family; and the trend for years to shift away from vocational, skilled trade, and hands-on occupations in favor of a BA...

 

I think all that makes it very tricky to figure out what to do and how to do it and when, especially if you are a student who really has NO clue what you want to do at 16, 18, 22...

 

I have spent the past year off-and-on doing some research and just gave a session to our homeschool group on alternatives to 4 year college. But honestly, ALL of them are going to require SOME education at SOME point -- maybe even eventually a 4-year degree. And often, the longer you wait, the harder it is to have the time/money to GET that 4-year degree... sigh.

 

There are real pros and cons to all of these options (see below). After doing the research, I guess I lean more towards at least trying for the 2-year degree in *something*, as it is usually manageable with minimal debt, and (depending what area your degree is in) results in more jobs out there at a higher wage.

 

The US Bureau of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook has a very handy search function on the home page that lets you limit searches by salary, educational level required, # of new jobs, and projected growth rate -- there are actually some pretty high-paying (relatively speaking) jobs that only require a 2-year degree! All of those occupations requiring only a 2-year degree that pay the highest are in the medical and/or engineering fields, though.

 

My other thought is to also do what you can to lower the cost of college by doing some of it before actually attending, if possible:

- dual enrollment and knock out a full semester, even a full year's worth of the 2-year degree credits

- especially if the state offers a FREE tuition for dual enrollment option

- look at CLEP tests -- $125 a pop for for credit, vs. hundreds more

- consider 2 years at the CC and transfer to the university

- look into distance courses and setting up your own College Plus type of distance 4-year degree

 

I know not all universities accept these options -- BUT... if you can't afford and/or don't have the grades for top tier, a lower school often accepts these options, and you can finish your 4-year degree, having only had to pay for/be there for 2 years... Well, it may be worth it!

 

Just brainstorming ideas! Okay, here are the 4-year college alternatives and pros/cons. I also had a gap-year as the fifth option, but it is quite obviously a very short-term option and only to help fulfill specific goals; the student would then move on from there either into a university or one of the other alternatives.

 

_________________________

 

1. 2-Year Degree or Certificate

This is direct-to-work education, from a Community College, Technical School, or Vocational School.

 

Pros:

- much cheaper and faster to get than a BA (which often takes more than 4 years to complete these days)

- starts at a higher pay than jobs requiring only a high school diploma

- currently many more jobs hiring and available in these areas -- some are very high demand right now

- can be a stepping stone into a field of life-long interest -- or at least a decent-paying fall-back occupation if the economy continues to be slow or gets worse

- can allow you to earn and save quickly towards a future goal (pay for a BA, a house, invest in a business, invest early in retirement plan....)

 

 

Cons:

- hit the "glass ceiling" or top out on pay, and need more education to

- if you start a family while in this job, you may find it extremely difficult or impossible to go back for more education (due to limited finances and time)

 

 

2. Apprenticeship

Earn while you learn; hands-on skilled trade work of on-the-job training and some classroom work of things like plumbing, electrical, construction, masonry, tile-setting, machinist, etc.

 

Pros:

- pretty much the same as #1 above

 

Cons:

- pretty much the same as #1 above, plus:

- many (but not all) of these jobs are physically demanding and chew up your body -- in 20 years you will be feeling it; by age 50 you just can't do some of these jobs any more

 

 

3. Work / Entrepreneurship

Go straight to work; or, start your own business.

 

Pros

- can realize your own business dreams

- can sometimes rise through the ranks and excel with a company as your career

- some jobs even pay for course work that helps you do your job better, or makes you more useable to the company (some have tuition reimbursement programs)

- some jobs have paid-training

 

Cons

- pretty much the same as #1 above, plus:

- due to the economy, businesses are much less stable and long-lasting compared to 50 years ago -- the business you rise in today may downsize you or be out of business by tomorrow

 

 

4. Military

Straight to work, possible career.

 

Pros

- Can learn valuable skilled trades that transfer to civilian jobs.

- Can help those who are struggling to get their lives together find purpose and self-discipline.

- Earning a higher wage than a high school diploma job.

 

Cons

- Enlistment pay is not that great compared to what you are potentially sacrificing.

- Without ROTC or Service Academy training -- i.e., paying for college education -- you may not go far/earn much.

- Military budget is being slashed -- we know officers who were "involuntarily severed" -- i.e., downsized!

- Military is far pickier about who they will take -- you may work hard to prepare for the physical and the ASVAB test -- only to not make it; we know several high school grads/young 20s who have worked hard and been turned down -- several times!

- High stress of deployment really takes a toll on families; many get divorced right after they return.

- Active service can result in permanent physical or emotional lifelong damage -- we know several young service men and women who experienced both. :(

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My ds has expressed interest in having his own business. My advice to pursue a degree doesn't change. He can work on developing ideas in college and testing the waters to see if it will work. If not, he'll have a degree and some experience. If so, he'll have a degree should he ever decide to change careers.

 

 

 

Resources for your DS as a young entrepreneur even now in high school. The high school groups would be accessed by joining the local high school's after-school group -- and it may be worthwhile as both Junior Achievement and DECA hand out scholarships. And DECA is a great resource group at the college level, too.

 

Junior Achievement (K-12 -- business and entrepreneurship info, programs, leadership, scholarships, etc.)

DECA (high school, and then college, level group of projects, info, scholarships, and internships in marketing, finance, management, and hospitality industries)

Small Business Association: Young Entrepreneurs (article, with lots of links to resources for young entrepreneurs)

Small Business Association: Teen Business Link (website with specific articles on start-up, financials, growing the business, etc., each with lots of links to resourses)

Entrepreneur website (web page with articles on young entrepreneurs)

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I just want to say that my dh is a 45yo electrician and his body is not chewed up. He's quite fit, well-rested, and healthy. Most of his co-workers are older than him and in good health. They're in better health than other men their age who have had desk jobs and failed to exercise. People are made to use their bodies, it's OK.

 

Edited to add: that wasn't in response to any one person. It's a sentiment I've read many times on these boards over the years and several times in these threads. I come from a family with lots of physically hardworking men, and they are the ones who lead long, healthy lives. My Grandpa is still very active at age 85, taking a five mile walk every day and still chopping wood and working around his cabin in the woods and garden.

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I just want to say that my dh is a 45yo electrician and his body is not chewed up. He's quite fit, well-rested, and healthy. Most of his co-workers are older than him and in good health. They're in better health than other men their age who have had desk jobs and failed to exercise. People are made to use their bodies, it's OK.

 

Edited to add: that wasn't in response to any one person. It's a sentiment I've read many times on these boards over the years and several times in these threads. I come from a family with lots of physically hardworking men, and they are the ones who lead long, healthy lives. My Grandpa is still very active at age 85, taking a five mile walk every day and still chopping wood and working around his cabin in the woods and garden.

 

 

 

I know. I say this due to my DH -- strong and healthy and active man who has jogged, biked and lifted weights regularly throughout his career -- but he IS totally chewed up by almost 28 years on the fire dept., from too much sleep-deprivation going on multiple calls in the middle of the night every 24-hour shift -- to the point of not being able to sleep properly when at home, the stress of the bad economy forcing furlough days (so, basically a huge paycut here), and increased call load in every shift as the work force gets spread thinner and thinner....

 

And a bad back, too, due to an on-the-job injury that he has had to contend with now for probably 15 years. It only takes one unexpected accident to very suddenly and very thoroughly change physical well-being for the rest of your life. :(

 

 

I know you weren't discounting our experience Tibbie. I just needed a moment to vent... It is so hard to carry the double load of watching the job eat my DH alive, and to have it also have cut off so many of my dreams by turning my DH into an old man before his time. :(

 

Take a moment to be grateful for good health, a strong back, a clear mind, and being able to enjoy simple pleasures without pain.

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(((Lori))) Truck-driving had that effect on my Dad. I'm so sorry your husband is unwell. :(

 

Edited to add: We also know about low pay, bad hours, injuries on the job and at home, and severe financial worry. I just have noticed that my white collar friends have their problems, too. They have debt we don't have, for one, including college loans that they're still trying to pay off without having the careers they counted on, or houses that they can't afford because they bought them during better times. Your family is suffering, my family has suffered....millions are suffering. These are hard times. Discounting certain types of jobs because they are hard to endure doesn't make sense. There's more than one kind of "hard." Different solutions are right for different people.

 

I don't mean to say there are no difficult, physical, risky jobs that wear people out too quickly. My husband's job as an electrician is pretty physical; my Grandpa's job as a construction worker and crane operator was physical. Danger, injury, wear-and-tear, some worry about their safety and health...I do know first-hand about these things. I was just answering the prevalent idea of steering young people away from physical jobs lest they suffer from hard work. I think that concept is antithetical to some pretty traditional American values, and contrary to the design of the human body. It's more natural to work with one's muscles than to sit at a desk. We need people to fill all these jobs, and we need to realize that some people are fulfilled by physical jobs and would be miserable and ineffective in more sedentary careers.

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Take a moment to be grateful for good health, a strong back, a clear mind, and being able to enjoy simple pleasures without pain.

 

 

I see you edited to add this while I was responding to your post.

 

Well, I don't have good health. I have lupus. I don't have a strong back, either. (I hope I have a strong mind. That varies.) But I am very thankful my husband is healthy, certainly. He's working two very physical jobs right now, one in the day and one at night, and I faithfully pray that he stays healthy and safe.

 

Of course I am thankful for all of my many blessings and I give God the glory for all the good things in my life.

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I am a college drop out. I did eventually go back and do 10 month certificate programs twice later but don't use them. As for a degree well that won't be happening anytime soon. I didn't drop out because it got too hard, or I was bored, or I had a great plan etc. I dropped out because I got pregnant, had complications, nearly miscarried during semester final exams and never went back. I flunked out of that semester due to not being able to write exams, thought I would go back in the fall but had a preemie instead and well the rest is history. I am certainly not a millionaire now, when I work I can make a decent amount but not great, that is when I can work, between the kids issues and my health that is never a guarantee. I certainly want my kids to get a degree if they can. oldest has no plans to, he is going to go straight into the army if he can. 2nd in line plans to go to uni on the military's buck, and go the ROTP route. Third in line will have a trust fund to pay for uni, thanks to his lawsuit. Youngest, who knows. I encouraging them to finish a degree of some sort, they need the security. I keep telling them they don't want to live like this forever, hand to mouth, constant financial stress, no choices. That's the biggest part of it all. Being trapped. Most drop outs end up trapped in one way or another. They may be employed but there is limited movement, most higher level positions need a degree of somesort, sometimes you get lucky and find a good job but then you are trapped in the town/city/state you live in because the likelyhood of finding a similar job elsewhere without that degree is very slim. So if you hate your area, tough you have to stay for the job.

 

On the whole I don't mind not having a degree, when I work the pay is okay, it is enough to get by. But I hate the feeling of being trapped. Glass ceiling my behind, more like cage, with that elusive degree being the key to more freedom. Even if my kids go into other career paths I really hope they have a degree to fall back on, I am hoping that once ds joins the army he lets them pay for his college. So if he gets hurt and has to leave the army he can still work. I want my dd's to have a degree so that even if one day they become SAHM they have that degree to fall back on should they have to get a job for whatever reason. If they go into trades, or emergency services, or sports or whatever else, I hope they get that degree to use to find work if they need a change for whatever reason. I don't ever want my kids to feel trapped as adults. I don't ever want their families to be burdened with that feeling all because at 18-19 they thought they could do better than college.

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One book I think really opens the discussion of the myth versus the reality is Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers . His points about the number of hours extraordinary achievers log toward their expertise is key.

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I just want to say that my dh is a 45yo electrician and his body is not chewed up. He's quite fit, well-rested, and healthy. Most of his co-workers are older than him and in good health. They're in better health than other men their age who have had desk jobs and failed to exercise. People are made to use their bodies, it's OK.

 

Edited to add: that wasn't in response to any one person. It's a sentiment I've read many times on these boards over the years and several times in these threads. I come from a family with lots of physically hardworking men, and they are the ones who lead long, healthy lives. My Grandpa is still very active at age 85, taking a five mile walk every day and still chopping wood and working around his cabin in the woods and garden.

 

Tibbie, your post reminds me that I should sing the praises of the artisan. Electricians may be considered in a trade, but as far as I am concerned, anyone who can use their hands to create or repair things is an artisan.

 

There has been a growing movement of young people returning to farming--small farms for the most part. We know a couple who were raised on small farms. Their parents said "Do anything but farming" so one became a teacher, the other a long distance truck driver (an independent). But they held on to one of the family pieces of property and eventually returned to farming as a sideline. Two of their sons are now seeing a future in farming. One of them wisely told me no matter what happens, people are going to eat.

 

We live in a culture with teens who have perfected their electronic game skills, but do they know how to cook, repair their bicycle, make camping equipment, or take apart their computers? Hands on skills can lead to good livelihoods. One of my husband's colleagues repaired laptops as a sideline when he was a student. We know a man who put himself through college by tying flies (for fly fishermen). There is a lot to be said for not just knowing how to work with your hands, but knowing how to do something really well.

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I don't mean to say there are no difficult, physical, risky jobs that wear people out too quickly. My husband's job as an electrician is pretty physical; my Grandpa's job as a construction worker and crane operator was physical. Danger, injury, wear-and-tear, some worry about their safety and health...I do know first-hand about these things. I was just answering the prevalent idea of steering young people away from physical jobs lest they suffer from hard work. I think that concept is antithetical to some pretty traditional American values, and contrary to the design of the human body. It's more natural to work with one's muscles than to sit at a desk. We need people to fill all these jobs, and we need to realize that some people are fulfilled by physical jobs and would be miserable and ineffective in more sedentary careers.

 

And I want to agree with this post too (while still saying have a backup plan!) When I was teaching at an engineering college, I often encountered boys who wanted to be car mechanics but parents pressured them into engineering. They really did not have the patience for the theoretical aspect of their course work, but I would have entrusted my car to any of them.

 

My husband works for a large electrical utility that hires many hands on types of workers. But the sophistication of nuclear reactors, diesel generators, hydro/gas/coal plants, the grid itself requires educated workers. It is very difficult for someone with a high school diploma alone to be hired. An associate's degree or related military experience is one path; most of his colleagues have at least a bachelor's degree.

 

Of course, electricians and plumbers have certification beyond the high school diploma. We always seem to return to the concept of post secondary education of some form.

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Can you help name some? We've been getting a list going of things we've seen recent high school students without degrees (or certificates) do. Most haven't been in what I'd consider "decent wage" territory, but a few can be. It could be helpful to have a larger list.

 

 

Sure-most folks I've known are in professions that require and apprenticeship and you eventually rise to becoming a master. Three that leap to mind are plumber, carpenter, and electrician. I know one guy who dropped out of college and went into elevator repair and maintenance-he is making close to or at 6 figures after 15 years. I call that a good wage.

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I think my family is just weird. We encourage our kids to get degrees just because. However, my father was invited not to come back after his first year of college. He got a job and is an electrical engineer, extremely highly paid, extremely well respected, wanting to retire (but promised his boss he'd work through the end of the year because without my dad they will be closing their doors since they just can't find another one as good as my dad). So he had one year of college that he flunked out of. My husband went to one year of college... same story. He went to a technical school for 9 months, got a good-paying job, switched fields slightly, got a really high paying job, and now works for the federal government. They say you need a bachelors degree, but they lie. Experience, being in the right place at the right time, and knowing the right people works as well. Possibly better. Many of the people above my husband in management do not have college degrees. My husband actually makes more than my brother with a PhD (college professor) and my BIL (officer in the military, attended the Academy). BUT even with all that we still encourage going to college. No one can ever take away your degree once you have it and sometimes it helps a lot for getting your foot in the door. At the very least we want the kids to go to a technical school if that would fit better with what they want to do with their life.

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I just want to say that my dh is a 45yo electrician and his body is not chewed up. He's quite fit, well-rested, and healthy. Most of his co-workers are older than him and in good health. They're in better health than other men their age who have had desk jobs and failed to exercise. People are made to use their bodies, it's OK.

 

Edited to add: that wasn't in response to any one person. It's a sentiment I've read many times on these boards over the years and several times in these threads. I come from a family with lots of physically hardworking men, and they are the ones who lead long, healthy lives. My Grandpa is still very active at age 85, taking a five mile walk every day and still chopping wood and working around his cabin in the woods and garden.

 

I want to add to this, because I'm one that talks about my dh working with a multitude of injuries, etc. He's always been like an energizer bunny, at 45 he had the energy of a 30 year old. However, by 49 or 50 he was slowing down, it was obvious and he wasn't dealing well with it. So, regardless of white collar/blue collar if you use your full mental or physical capabilities, you need to have a plan for a time when you need to slow down. In his industry, construction, slowing down isn't an option for most. He tried working with one company and that lasted about a month. He, the jackrabbit hare, was told he was too slow. It hit him hard. He also had a head injury in 2009, which created some mental deficits with memory, etc. All of this happened in a very short time frame. That's the anecdotal story of my life.

 

Depending upon your position and field, there can be more lateral movement for aging employees. My dad worked well past retirement age. His job, broadcast engineering, could accommodate a physically slower employee who had good mental faculties. Many physical industries don't have the lateral positions available or can make accommodations for employees that move at a less than rapid pace.

 

Again, regardless of field or collar, employees need to be aware of these options and have some sort of disability back-up. Can they move jobs with their current employer? What happens if they are disabled, but don't die? Is disability insurance worth it? So many people my age have changed jobs, change industries, that I know some aren't looking at the retirement from one company. I worked in an insurance office in the 90s. Large corporate building. Some people who had planned to work in other companies in the building forever watched their jobs disappear in an afternoon. Downsizing happened quite a few times while I worked there. So many of us never even dream of secure jobs with one company.

 

Also age is not always an indication of ability. Injuries, death, mental health issues can strike anyone. I know I'm now looking at the larger picture, but as families, many of us with one working spouse, these are conversations we need to have.

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I think some of my biggest concerns are that the very few kids who do find a job they can train for without at least two years of college or vo-tech and eventually at some point being required to get a bachelor's degree are very physically demanding and oft times dead end. That sounds wonderful when your young and healthy and love the work. Not so great as you age.

 

We've got a dear friend in a terrible, terrible position. He's 45 and does some of the most amazing stone masonry work you'll ever see. He makes very good money at it. However, he's getting stove up...that is some hard, hard physical labor and it's busted up his body. He feels like a 70 year old man in a middle age body. He has taken care of himself very well, seen the chiropractor regularly, eats well, has gone to physical therapy, put a jacuzzi in at his house to relax his aching muscles, but to no avail. His youngest child is six- three children at home and two in college. He.has.to.work. His wife's degree is fairly worthless. It's comparative literature (Spanish and French) with not enough speciality in either language to teach in high school or do translation work, no master's degree so she can't teach in college and she's been a sahm/homeschooling parent for over 20 years...she's forgotten most of what she ever knew of those two languages. There isn't a job to be had with a comparative lit bachelor's degree. So, she's starting from scratch trying to get back into the work place. He figures he can continue stone masonry for only two more years. Outside of some woodworking skill and not enough to be a real master at that, he's got nothing to fall back on. Their savings are decent, but certainly not enough for a man to retire on at 45 and continue to raise a family!

 

He has forced his sons to go to college. One wanted to go into stone masonry with his dad and is very talented. But, he had a bad leg already from an injury in his early teen years and his father put.his.foot.down.

 

It's tough. DD is a medic and she's working on her nursing degree instead of finishing her chem degree. She absolutely loves her medic job but there will come a point in her middle age in which being on her knees for 45 min. attempting to resucitate someone is going to get pretty tough. Not to mention that at most nursing facilities in our area when bariatric patients come in, the nurses call med-com when the patient needs to be moved. They don't risk their backs, they bring in the medic team to do it. My deary girl who weighs 105 lbs. and is 5'4" tall once dragged a 250 lb. 6'5" male over 100 ft. away from a burning vehicle. How many years will her body be able to do that kind of thing over and over and over again? It's anybody's guess, but she's pretty certain she needs a plan B, nursing. Her plan C is teaching. In a few years she'll get her medic instructor's license and she'll also have her flight certification so she can vary what she does over the course of her career. She's thinking she'll get a master's in pediatric nursing when her medic days are clearly over with.

 

Anyone who wants to leave high school and go into the kinds of vo-tech that requires significant stress on the body really needs to have a long range plan in place for when they can no longer do that work. What happens to those that don't is not pretty!

 

Someone once complained to me about the generous pension plan for the paid firefighters one county west of here. I got ticked. Seriously, do they think these people can do that kind of thing until they are 65???? Most of them will have serious issues with their bodies by the time they reach 50, the least society can do as a thank you for the dangerous work they've done on behalf of their communities is provide for them well when they can't do the work anymore. But, that's a subject for another day...Relating to the topic at hand, none of our fire departments hire anyone without a two year fire science degree and the chief and the officers just below him all need bachelor's degrees. Some are in fire sciences others have emergency services management degrees. Same for management within dd's EMS. Some of the medics that couldn't do the work anymore went to MSU or Sierra, got two years worth of credit for their paramedic training/work experience, and then spent two years completing the emergency medical management degree. That was a great way for them to move on when their backs began giving them fits or they were really burned out from the stress.

 

EMT's in Michigan - 6 months of training - average $11.00 an hour plus 401K and medical/dental/optical/life insurance. Medics - 18 months of training that amounts to really two years of college semesters because it's done without breaks - start out around $12.00 and top out at $18.00 without flight certification...flight medics make a bit more than that. Instructors get around $25.00-30.00 an hour plus benefits, though it's actually an odd number when you break it down because they are salaried. I have no idea what management gets, but my guess is it's salary and not hourly. Dispatchers run right around $11.00 per hr. Some states pay much better than that. New Jersey medics average around $55,000.00 a year, but I don't know how much of that represents over-time and regular pay. No matter what, the pay is not commensurate with the responsibility level which is one reason so many medics go into nursing. It isn't for lack of love of the job, I've met many a passionate medic, it's just that the pay is poor for what they do. Most counties want to pay very paltry numbers for first responders.

 

But, if one got into it young before having a family, and worked through some pay raises, knowing that very few weeks have shifts that let out on time and as soon as your 12 hr. goes over, you start getting 1.5 x pay, then you can support a family on it if you are in a low COL area. DD hasn't gotten off shift on time once in the last three weeks. So, definitely one needs a spouse who is flexible and can handle the kids. One does not leave shift because someone is sick or has a school play...though definitely, they'll call someone in if you have a real emergency. It can be done. It is not easy.

 

Faith

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Yes, my youngest dd thinks this is what she will be doing. I say, yes, and every boy in the US wants that job too. Better at least have another plan in the works...

 

This sort of reminds me of an author I like.

 

He wanted to be a (Someone who studies dinorsaurs - I'll look up how to spell it later and edit it in here) when he grew up. Being paid to do that work is even less likely than becoming a video game tester. So because his parents made him pick a fall back job he picked being a science fiction writer.

 

http://www.sfwriter.com/

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... Discounting certain types of jobs because they are hard to endure doesn't make sense. There's more than one kind of "hard." Different solutions are right for different people.

 

I don't mean to say there are no difficult, physical, risky jobs that wear people out too quickly... I was just answering the prevalent idea of steering young people away from physical jobs lest they suffer from hard work.

 

 

 

Right there with you, Tibbie! :) My intention was NOT to steer people away from those jobs. I n my post I listed pros and cons solely to help people plan and to weigh their options -- what can you live with? what does the future look like down that path? do you need to have a series of plans and timetable? what if marriage/children/illness change things -- how do the different options allow you to deal with those changes?

 

In NO way trying to encourage young people away from hard work! :) If anything, over the past few years, I much more strongly lean towards encouraging all students, whether stellar in academics or not, to get some sort of skilled trade training and education. We all need to know how to do hands-on things for real life. For example, we remodeled our home when we moved in. I learned how to do demolition, set and grout tile, plaster walls, etc. -- at least enough to help DH get the job done. ;) Even though DSs were only 5yo and 6yo at the time, we had them as involved as they could be at that age. And of course, whenever we repair or do car/home maintenance, DH has DSs out there to learn how.

 

(((Lori))) Truck-driving had that effect on my Dad. I'm so sorry your husband is unwell. :(

 

...Well, I don't have good health. I have lupus. I don't have a strong back, either.

 

 

 

Thank you for your kind concern for my DH's bad back, and SO sorry to hear of the lupus, Tibbie! Chronic illnesses and pain are real joy-suckers. :(

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Sure-most folks I've known are in professions that require and apprenticeship and you eventually rise to becoming a master. Three that leap to mind are plumber, carpenter, and electrician. I know one guy who dropped out of college and went into elevator repair and maintenance-he is making close to or at 6 figures after 15 years. I call that a good wage.

 

 

I don't know what apprenticeship is like there, but here you have to go to trade school (typically 6 weeks per year) after accumulating your hours in order to move up. No trade school, no advancement. So it is still post secondary education with a peice of paper at the end, even if not a bachelor's degree. If you do not do the post secondary you can never rise through the levels and pay grids and you remain labelled as unskilled.

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Can you help name some? We've been getting a list going of things we've seen recent high school students without degrees (or certificates) do. Most haven't been in what I'd consider "decent wage" territory, but a few can be. It could be helpful to have a larger list.

 

 

FedEx, UPS, cable or electric company workers.

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My deary girl who weighs 105 lbs. and is 5'4" tall once dragged a 250 lb. 6'5" male over 100 ft. away from a burning vehicle. How many years will her body be able to do that kind of thing over and over and over again?

 

 

My mum is 5'1" and about 100lbs. She was a RN specializing in maternity and pediatric at the hospital. Carrying a 13lb newborn is tough for her but still doable since most babies are 8~10lbs at the hospital. She is also qualified for NICU. Her pay is enough for a single income family to live comfortable. She had done rotating shifts, permanent night shifts and permanent afternoon shifts. She stop working because of Rheumatoid Arthritis in her 50s.

Just something your daughter might want to look into.

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Someone once complained to me about the generous pension plan for the paid firefighters one county west of here. I got ticked. Seriously, do they think these people can do that kind of thing until they are 65???? Most of them will have serious issues with their bodies by the time they reach 50, the least society can do as a thank you for the dangerous work they've done on behalf of their communities is provide for them well when they can't do the work anymore.

 

 

 

Thank you Faith! SO appreciate you stating a very real truth, and for your vocal support of the work of emergency workers (my DH!). :)

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I think that when I was young, I was very idealistic, and I just wish that someone had offered me more guidance on the reality of it all, of what it takes to support a family, that things can happen, etc. I also think that raising a family 50 years ago was very different. More people could afford to have a non-degree-needing job and support a family on one income. Now that is harder and harder. This is part of why I feel like I am changing my mind about getting a college degree earlier and just getting it out of the way. I took my time, because I didn't know what I wanted to do, and so I took time off, etc. By the time I did find something that I wanted and got into graduate school, I was getting older and didn't want to delay starting a family any longer.

 

There are a lot of women delaying having children for the sake of higher education and advancing their career, and then they find they have fertility problems, because no one told them that they could have a harder time getting pregnant as they got older. I don't have daughters, but I feel for these young women today, who feel torn between wanting a career and having children and the timing of it all. There are no easy answers. But I feel like I will definitely help my kids identify something they can get a degree in that will be useful and flexible and give them more opportunity, even if they decide to do something else later in life.

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FedEx, UPS, cable or electric company workers.

 

My husband works for a Fortune 500 utility. While it is true that at one time employees of the company could find entry level positions without a degree, that is no longer the case unless there is specific military training (think nuclear Navy). Even entry level linemen now have associate's degrees.

 

The workplace has changed and I guess one could gamble that it might swing back the other way to a place where degrees are not required in order to interview for a job.

 

The other thing is that working for a small company or a start up is quite different than working for a Fortune 500. This is why some people who are successful in the software business are not required to have degrees.

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I don't know what apprenticeship is like there, but here you have to go to trade school (typically 6 weeks per year) after accumulating your hours in order to move up. No trade school, no advancement. So it is still post secondary education with a peice of paper at the end, even if not a bachelor's degree. If you do not do the post secondary you can never rise through the levels and pay grids and you remain labelled as unskilled.

 

This is the same here. Our school encourages kids who want the trades to start them while in high school (welding, electric, wood) then continue their education right out of high school to get that certification. It definitely is a viable path, but it's not really without that extra education.

 

FedEx, UPS, cable or electric company workers.

 

Electric around here requires more education (as with where Jane is). My sister worked with Fed Ex for a while. She saw a bit of turnover and eventually left herself. That kind of makes me think it's not so great, but for the right personality, it could work. I have heard UPS is good if you can get in.

 

I definitely think there were more opportunities without pieces of paper in the past. I don't think anyone disagrees with that. But for our kids, we're looking at now.

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I know. I say this due to my DH -- strong and healthy and active man who has jogged, biked and lifted weights regularly throughout his career -- but he IS totally chewed up by almost 28 years on the fire dept., from too much sleep-deprivation going on multiple calls in the middle of the night every 24-hour shift -- to the point of not being able to sleep properly when at home, the stress of the bad economy forcing furlough days (so, basically a huge paycut here), and increased call load in every shift as the work force gets spread thinner and thinner....

 

And a bad back, too, due to an on-the-job injury that he has had to contend with now for probably 15 years. It only takes one unexpected accident to very suddenly and very thoroughly change physical well-being for the rest of your life. :(

 

 

I know you weren't discounting our experience Tibbie. I just needed a moment to vent... It is so hard to carry the double load of watching the job eat my DH alive, and to have it also have cut off so many of my dreams by turning my DH into an old man before his time. :(

 

Take a moment to be grateful for good health, a strong back, a clear mind, and being able to enjoy simple pleasures without pain.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: I am so sorry.

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It is important to remember that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg were going to become who they are even if they'd finished and received their BAs.

 

I would encourage my kids to think long and hard about what they want from life; what sort of work, income, and lifestyle. Then decide if they need a 4 year degree to achieve that goal. If they need it then we shop for an appropriate university/college as savvy consumers.

Actually, the book "So Good They Can't Ignore You" starts out with a brief bio of Jobs and blows the theory. He wasn't much interested in computers and was only looking to make a$1000. He was at the right place at the right time and got into kahots with Wozniak (sp) cause Waz didn't want to run the biz side of things. Things snowballed from there.

Can you help name some? We've been getting a list going of things we've seen recent high school students without degrees (or certificates) do. Most haven't been in what I'd consider "decent wage" territory, but a few can be. It could be helpful to have a larger list.

ds18 is looking at Paramedic trng. $1000 for EMT and then going on for for paramedic trng (~$8k) with 99% hiring of grads and excellent future in health care- if you are willing to work for a hospital it's a great way to get RN, BSn etc paid for while making $35 -55K

DD 22 got a cosmetologist license- she was making ~ $25-$35 hr at a basic busy saloon -great tips- till she moved - for an investment of about $10K-Beauty is always in style and historically when the economy tanks people spend more on beauty.

Welders are making 6 figures in ND with no end in sight....

I just want to say that my dh is a 45yo electrician and his body is not chewed up. He's quite fit, well-rested, and healthy. Most of his co-workers are older than him and in good health. They're in better health than other men their age who have had desk jobs and failed to exercise. People are made to use their bodies, it's OK.

DH has been super healthy, athletic and uses his body but he's had 2 rounds of crazy illness that have cost us big time, once 10 yrs ago when he caught West Nile that morphed in to Chronic Fatigue and just recently with a months long bought of pneumonia, chronic bronchitis that has morphed into chronic asthma (he wasn't on any asthma treatment before this illness and now is on Daily, expensive treatment..... He's self employed and the last 4 months have about wiped us out....he turned 50 in Aug, was running 4 miles in Oct and has spent the past 4 mths on tons of meds..I understand what you are saying but there is no guarantee for good health no matter what you do to safeguard your health.

One book I think really opens the discussion of the myth versus the reality is Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers . His points about the number of hours extraordinary achievers log toward their expertise is key.

I think it's important to note that extraordinary achievers put in time but also were extraordinarily focused. So, it was intentional time put in.

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It really is startling when you weigh in the number of high school drop outs, plus the number of college drop outs, and try to figure out what they will do to earn a living.

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ds18 is looking at Paramedic trng. $1000 for EMT and then going on for for paramedic trng (~$8k) with 99% hiring of grads and excellent future in health care- if you are willing to work for a hospital it's a great way to get RN, BSn etc paid for while making $35 -55K

DD 22 got a cosmetologist license- she was making ~ $25-$35 hr at a basic busy saloon -great tips- till she moved - for an investment of about $10K-Beauty is always in style and historically when the economy tanks people spend more on beauty.

Welders are making 6 figures in ND with no end in sight....

 

These all require extra training sometimes during high school if you live in an area that has it, but generally after graduation. That has kind of been my point. We don't live in an age where decent sustaining jobs are available with just a high school diploma. Some form of post high school education now seems almost necessary (with a few exceptions like for farming) - whether for a certificate from a trade school, a 2 year degree, or 4 year degree.

 

It really is startling when you weigh in the number of high school drop outs,

 

:iagree: We have those here too. Everyone I can think of is in a dead end low paying job and/or on public assistance (sometimes in jail). I REALLY hate when I read obituaries from those who overdose. It's far too common.

 

There may be some in farming doing well. I don't see those kids as often.

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I went to a Youth Mental Health conference last year, and the latest neuroscience findings support the idea that a young person should not drop out of college until they are at least 22/23, and this has nothing to do with getting a job, but brain development (that is involved in problem solving etc). They used to think that the brain's most important growth was birth to five years, but now they say it's between 11 and 22. This is when the important 'pruning' of neurones takes place. Here is a quote:

 

“As in the earliest years of life, a second wave of reorganisation

 

of the brain is taking place during the teenage years. Recent research

 

on adolescent brain development suggests that secondary and

 

tertiary education are probably vital. The brain is still developing

 

during the period: it is thus presumably adaptable, and needs

 

to be moulded and shaped.â€

 

 

 

Dr S Blakemore

 

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

 

*

 

So, in other words, college is a kind of "therapy" for the brain :)

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These all require extra training sometimes during high school if you live in an area that has it, but generally after graduation. That has kind of been my point. We don't live in an age where decent sustaining jobs are available with just a high school diploma. Some form of post high school education now seems almost necessary (with a few exceptions like for farming) - whether for a certificate from a trade school, a 2 year degree, or 4 year degree.

 

I'm sorry- I mis-read. We have no h.s. vocational trng. In Ohio they have excellent h.s. vocational trng AND you can earn a AA while in h.s. - totally paid for.

I went to a Youth Mental Health conference last year, and the latest neuroscience findings support the idea that a young person should not drop out of college until they are at least 22/23, and this has nothing to do with getting a job, but brain development (that is involved in problem solving etc). They used to think that the brain's most important growth was birth to five years, but now they say it's between 11 and 22. This is when the important 'pruning' of neurones takes place. Here is a quote:

 

“As in the earliest years of life, a second wave of reorganisation

 

of the brain is taking place during the teenage years. Recent research

 

on adolescent brain development suggests that secondary and

 

tertiary education are probably vital. The brain is still developing

 

during the period: it is thus presumably adaptable, and needs

 

to be moulded and shaped.â€

 

 

 

Dr S Blakemore

 

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

 

*

 

So, in other words, college is a kind of "therapy" for the brain :)

hm..."Therapy" or brainwashing.....dh (psych) has been saying the same thing -so it's getting around the lit.

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Can you help name some? We've been getting a list going of things we've seen recent high school students without degrees (or certificates) do. Most haven't been in what I'd consider "decent wage" territory, but a few can be. It could be helpful to have a larger list.

 

 

Below are a few articles with ideas -- although these must be old articles because, at least in our area, you would *have* to first go to a technical institute or vocational school for all but just a few of these:

 

High School Diploma Jobs

20 Jobs You Can Get With A High School Diploma

Well Paying Jobs You Can Get Right Out of High School

The 10 Best Jobs You Can Get With a High School Diploma

 

 

These are much more realistically available without additional education, and, I *suppose* could possibly become full time, move up/on-the-job-training, or make as your own business:

15 Best Part Time Jobs for High School Students

Jobs for High School Students

 

 

And for a big list -- although again, I think MOST really require SOME sort of post-high school education -- check out the US Bureau of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook. On the home page, under the heading "select occupations by", just click on the "entry level education" heading, and choose "high school diploma or equivalent". Also try a search under that same heading, but choose "less than high school".

 

Don't know if the website will maintain it, but here are results I got from a search on "high school diploma or equivalent:: http://www.bls.gov/o...owth=&submit=GO

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We have some who are farming or fishing. They do ok. But this is not unskilled labour. They have served an apprenticeship, usually from the time they could walk. It just isn't a formal apprenticeship. Fishing doesn't exactly have a booming future. The most successful young farmer we know has an exceedingly expensive college education at an elite private LAC (on top of an exceeding expensive elite prep school education) and is farming on his family farm. He is not exactly a good advertisement for farming being something one can do with no extra training. He majored in organic agriculture and business. The other young farm workers or fishermen we know who are self-supporting are doubling it up with something else. They work really hard.

 

Nan

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One thing I try to make sure Dd knows is that college can actually really be a great deal of fun. I am not talking about parties or such, more the experience of having a smorgasboard of offerings to indulge the mind over four years. I joke that education and vacation have a great deal in common. College allows the chance to season oneself before entering the punch the clock world of work and bills. Seems a shame to miss it.

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Actually, the book "So Good They Can't Ignore You" starts out with a brief bio of Jobs and blows the theory. He wasn't much interested in computers and was only looking to make a$1000. He was at the right place at the right time and got into kahots with Wozniak (sp) cause Waz didn't want to run the biz side of things. Things snowballed from there.

 

I guess it depends on what you think Jobs was-a brilliant computer guy or a brilliant businessman and marketer. I would argue that he was a brilliant businessman and marketer who just happened to be involved in computers. I would think his time at Pixar proves this point. He would probably have become brilliant at business with a degree as well-he just wouldn't have had Apple and might not have been famous (although he may still have been awfully rich and successful). People like Gates, Jobs and Zuckerberg are bright, driven, creative and very lucky. Those first 3 are personality traits that they would possess with or without a degree. They are the sort of people who tend to become successful.

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