If you’re going to Hawaii and want to save some money, skip the flight and just drive there. Problem solved?
Of course not. It doesn’t make sense. Sometimes obtaining a formal education makes the same amount of sense. Certain employment requires a “ticket” to get there. Others may welcome you on a bicycle with open arms.
When I was growing up, there was a very clear educational path in front of my generation.
- Graduate from high school.
- Go to college and obtain a bachelor’s degree.
- Consider your field and work and, if necessary, obtain a master or doctorate degree.
Me and Mine
With children of my own, I’ve seen the positives and negatives of furthering traditional education. One of my sons needs it to solidify his position at work.
Another son went into debt to obtain a degree, for which he is still chasing his employment dreams. He received impressive grades through his schooling, but the degree-related employment has been frustratingly elusive.
Yet another son is foregoing formal education, but he works to educate himself in other less-formal ways and has progressed rapidly in his chosen field of employment.
As for me, the default for my field of work in law enforcement required a bachelor’s degree. By the time I retired (March 2018), the ante was upped to having a master’s degree as an entry level. These kids (I can say ‘kids’, they’re younger than my own) start out with a boatload of debt and a lower starting salary than I did (back in the day). That’s a tough hole to climb out of.
Students at public four-year institutions paid an average of $3,190 in tuition for the 1987-1988 school year, with prices adjusted to reflect 2017 dollars. Thirty years later, that average has risen to $9,970 for the 2017-2018 school year. That’s a 213 percent increase. – Emmie Martin – CNBC.com
The price of the formal education road is brutal. Obtaining that little piece of paper on your wall can be a chancy payoff.
Whether choosing the formal or informal route, you have to, “Educate Yourself.” If not in a classroom, then by a mentor, or on-the-job, reading, studying, asking questions, consuming everything you can about your chosen field, and taking online courses.
The internet has obviously given the non-formal education model an enticing platform. The positive is this model returns what the user invests. The negative is this model returns what the user invests. The answer? You have to push past the setbacks and closed doors. Instead of presenting your degree to an employer and hope they take a chance on you, you present your experience.
If you are new to the field, this can be trying. You start small and build up. You hustle and hustle some more. You continue to educate yourself along the way.
My Brother’s Story
One of my younger brothers has done well for himself in the computer security world. He started out with no degree and working small jobs. He was a ferocious reader. How ferocious? He asked my parents for a new set of encyclopedias when we were growing up. When asked what was wrong with the old ones on the shelf—yes, we’re that old—he simply answered, “I already read them.”
He would take increasingly more difficult jobs and every time he was asked if he knew how to do “XYZ,” his answer was always “YES.” Then he would dig in and lose himself in learning how to do “XYZ!” Along the way, he obtained every certification he could get his hands on and eventually decided that he wanted to get his degree. He started his trip to Hawaii in a car and eventually took a flight when he got to the coast.
GO and DO
I’m confident in saying that if you’re reading this story, you are above average. You’re studying ways to better yourself, actively. This makes you above average. Evaluate your field of work and determine your method of travel. And trust me, you don’t want to drive to Hawaii.