My Ticket to a Better Life

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My English degree I earned back in ’92 always seemed to be such a relatively worthless endeavor. Even though I was always proud of the fact that I was the first in my family to graduate from college, I secretly kicked myself on a regular basis for not pursing a “real” career and doing something that made real money, like being a biologist or a veterinarian. There were times I yearned to go back and earn a more practical degree, but I never had the money (and still don’t).

This week, after applying for a mindless factory job for the holidays, I looked around at the people who were there applying for the same kind of work I was. The job only required a high school diploma. I hate to generalize, but it did seem that for many of the other applicants, that was probably the most education they had attained (does that sound like I’m judging people? I really hope not).

But then I had an “Aha!” moment, and suddenly I realized the true value of my degree. By going to college, I never had to apply for factory jobs. I was never limited to this kind of work, because I had proven to the world that I could handle college. That little piece of paper was my ticket to slightly better work, and a slightly better lifestyle. I was there because I wanted to be, not because I had to be.

For today’s kids, I know things are different. A bachelor’s degree is almost as worthless as a high school diploma when it comes to finding employment. Which is exactly why I plan on staying self-employed for the rest of my life, at least after this gig is over.

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