Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Why college may not matter

Five Reasons to Skip College (MSNBC)

Jon and I often joke that the more advanced the degree, the less money you'll earn. Jon has his M.A. and when we lived in CA, the high school graduates who went into contracting outearned us five to one most times! We have seen similar results in our educated pool, with our peer group in the MA category struggling to find jobs that really pay while the entrepreneurs seem to vault past us into triple figure incomes.

What I enjoyed about this article is that I like that it correlated intelligence with income. One of the oddest parts of my business is that I don't have an English degree, am not now studying for an MA in composition, haven't published a single novel or book with an "official publishing house" and I haven't trained to teach nor have I been certified to teach writing.

Instead, what I did is I got busy writing (every day for years in every venue I could find) and at the same time, studied the needs of the homeschool market. I applied my skills to that niche and voila - business! In fact, I think that my lack of English degree has uniquely suited me to my chosen career. I have been able to do "garage-band" writing - a sort of computer genius in the basement kind of teaching.

Rather than let the system define what constitutes real writing or real teaching of writing, I've been busy doing the writing and the teaching to find out what actually works. I haven't had to unlearn anything! And I've discovered some real problems with the "system" as it is currently defined by working outside of it.

While I haven't earned the kind of income my contractor friends routinely pull in, I am still in awe of what I do earn since every single penny comes from the joint creativity of Jon's techie skills (all learned without a degree, too, btw) and my writing/teaching package. I tripled my income last year.

So I like what that article says and thought I'd "pass it on." :)

1 comment:

Chuck said...

I'm probably a living example of this principle. I did graduate from college with a BA in psych/sociology (minor in music). But when I decided that church work was not for me, I also decided I wanted to work in the computer software field. Everything I've learned in that field has been acquired on the job. I've been reasonably successful in this field 20+ years now, and have never looked back. When interviewing for new positions/roles, no one has ever questioned why I don't have a computer-related degree - they look at what I've accomplished.