Author Topic: Skip college and go straight to work?  (Read 7957 times)

Tacosrocket

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Skip college and go straight to work?
« on: February 24, 2014, 02:23:29 PM »


I just heard I could get a job as a 911 phone call operator. They make nearly $20 an hour which would be plenty to live off of and save up to reach FI sometime in my 30s. I have asked about college loans before but I always end up finding that I don't like things that I thought I liked, I also think I may just dislike work altogether (at least "mandatory" work), so I might as well not pay thousands of dollars for something I don't like when I can just get to it.

The problem I see is being laid off and not having a lot of other skills to offer and no degrees to my name. I could also reasonably estimate that after a few years I'll have a man anyway so I wouldn't be screwed, could possibly want babies by then so it wouldn't matter. That's a couple of "ifs" though.

I like geology a lot but the museum has programs and classes for it and volunteer opportunities, so I could still do that without it being my money maker. Then again geology has really high job satisfaction rates.

I don't know how to know what the right thing to do is! Either way, I feel like I'll be taking a huge risk on doing the wrong thing, but the odds are 50-50 that whatever I choose could be the right thing.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 04:11:14 PM by Tobi »

frugally

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 02:33:46 PM »
That sounds like a really great opportunity.  Why do you feel like you need to go to college right away?  If it were me, I would probably take the job, save up for a couple years, then decide if I really want to go to college.  You'll be in a much better position to decide what you want to do after you have the money to pay for it without going into debt.

randymarsh

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 02:48:32 PM »
The problem I see is being laid off and not having a lot of other skills to offer and no degrees to my name. I could also reasonably estimate that after a few years I'll have a man anyway so I wouldn't be screwed, could possibly want babies by then so it wouldn't matter. That's a couple of "ifs" though.

Really risky to put your financial future in the hands of someone else, especially one who's not even in the picture yet. What if he wants to stay home with the kid(s)? Who's going to work then?

I wouldn't rush into college if you're not really sure what type of major you'd pick. But you could do the 911 thing and attend part-time, getting some general education classes out of the way. You do some intro level classes too if you know which college you'll end up in (business, engineering, liberal arts, education, nursing, etc). I switched from accounting to MIS and all the classes I'd taken up to the point still counted because those majors are in the same college.

Tacosrocket

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 03:01:02 PM »
I feel like I need to go to college right away because if I don't then I'll be missing out on something really awesome. Or maybe I won't be, I don't know. At 21 and having not started I feel way to old already, I should be into my third year by now! So I thought I'd just start working.

Tacosrocket

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2014, 03:07:51 PM »
The problem I see is being laid off and not having a lot of other skills to offer and no degrees to my name. I could also reasonably estimate that after a few years I'll have a man anyway so I wouldn't be screwed, could possibly want babies by then so it wouldn't matter. That's a couple of "ifs" though.

Really risky to put your financial future in the hands of someone else, especially one who's not even in the picture yet. What if he wants to stay home with the kid(s)? Who's going to work then?

I wouldn't rush into college if you're not really sure what type of major you'd pick. But you could do the 911 thing and attend part-time, getting some general education classes out of the way. You do some intro level classes too if you know which college you'll end up in (business, engineering, liberal arts, education, nursing, etc). I switched from accounting to MIS and all the classes I'd taken up to the point still counted because those majors are in the same college.

I'd really like to have somebody in a couple years, I guess that doesn't mean anything. And I would LOVE to have a stay at home dad, I just don't think I'll be lucky enough to find one, lol. If I knew I would, I'd go straight to college and never look back (my major would be geology, that I know for sure). But, why pay all that money just to quit in less than 10 years for 18 years or more then be left with outdated skills? I really don't want any kids but I have to assume that will change eventually.

Jags4186

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2014, 04:56:27 PM »
Take the job go to school part time (or if you can swing it full time). Not getting a degree severely limits what you can make.

Go to CC for 2 years get your AA and then decide if you want to transfer to state u. If you do very well in school lots of state u's offer money to AA holders who have 3.8+.

MissPeach

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2014, 05:28:26 PM »
I think it depends on what you want to do. It's no harm is starting it and seeing if you like it. I imagine the hours would be all over so with a family it might not be something you want to do long term. Worst case you could pick up some day/night school at community college in your off time or see what opportunities you have in your hobby.

I worked full time and did college full time. If you don't care about the whole 'college experience' and parties it's doable. It's also a great place to meet people - friends and gf/bf too. If you go the community college route just check to see if there are any transfer agreements. Most have them for the public colleges and sometimes for the private ones too. That way you don't lose anything you take if you want to go for a bachelors at some point. My GPA was really high so I was able to take it to a lesser rated school and get most of my tuition covered. It's still accredited and never really held me back once I had experience in my field.

My advice is try to get any school done before you start a family. With kids and a job it would be extremely difficult IMO.

FWIW my XH has no college degree. His only high paying options (that could match my opportunities with a degree) were build his own business. He ended up going into something that requires a license that could be done without a degree so it wasn't too important but it really limited his options. He doesn't like his new field either but there's not much he can do without laying out cash or going to school.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 05:54:10 PM by MissPeach »

bikebum

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2014, 06:10:03 PM »
How about try out the job? You can always go back to school if you don't like it, as long as you don't get "stuck", which you probably won't since you're on this site, haha.

You're 21? Haven't you heard 40 is the new 30? So you're more like 16, haha J/K. But really, that's still pretty young. I wouldn't be worried about not having started college. I think it's better to start late and pick the right major for you than to rush through, especially because of the cost. A LOT of people who start college young end up changing their majors or getting a degree they don't want to or don't know how to make money with. Maybe you'll take the 911 job for several years, then go back to school and do something else, and have no regrets. My point is it doesn't have to be either this or that.

Good luck to you!

JohnGalt

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2014, 06:21:27 PM »
My advice on that would depend on your goals.  If your goal is financial independence as soon as possible, it should be fairly easy to do the math and estimate which will get you there faster.  The less you plan to live on, the more it will lean towards skipping college and taking the job. 

I wouldn't worry about where you're supposed to be based on your age or even about making a "wrong" decision.  Do what you think will make you happiest in the long run.  Now is the time to explore life and start figuring out what you want out of it.  If you keep your finances in good order, it will be easy to change directions down the line.   

MissPeach had some good advice.  Community college is a great way to keep the costs of college down.  No reason you couldn't take the job and start school on the side while you figure it out.  If you start at community college and don't take out any loans, changing your mind about college after the first year or two won't cost you much more than the time you put into it.  If you end up hating the job you can always quit and find another or focus on school. 



windawake

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2014, 06:46:08 PM »
I would definitely caution against making any plans based on future Mr. Tobi. You really don't know when you'll meet him or what he'll be like. It's completely feasible that you might not meet the person you'll marry until you're 31, that's 10 years from now! You could be almost FI by then. I would suggest reading The Defining Decade by Meg Jay. I read it recently and it give a lot of great perspective on what to think about regarding your twenties.

If you know you really love geology, I'd say why not give yourself a shot of having that as a career by going to college? I agree with working and going to school part-time. Then you can see how it all works for you and make it through college debt-free. If you take college slowly, you can also do the interning/volunteering you mentioned and really graduate ahead of the curve in terms of work experience and relevant experience.

bogart

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2014, 07:24:37 PM »
What are you doing now?  What do you like/dislike about it?

SwordGuy

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2014, 07:32:33 PM »
I think this poster is pulling our collective legs.

vern

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2014, 09:42:34 PM »
Do what you really want to do. 

Far too many young people go to college just because "It's what everyone else does."


Rural

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2014, 05:29:11 AM »
The colleges aren't all going to close in the next year or two if you don't jump on it now. Work to support yourself while you figure out what you want, and if that involves college, go then.

dude

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2014, 06:19:02 AM »
But you could do the 911 thing and attend part-time, getting some general education classes out of the way.

This.  A college education goes far beyond learning any particular skillset or area of expertise, in my book.  Of course, you have to do a cost-benefit analysis of the situation, but I'm one of the old-fashioned types who believes a good college (and particularly liberal arts) education goes far beyond simple book-learning.  It's about connecting with others, sharing ideas, exposing yourself to different viewpoints, learning about the cumulative history and development of certain disciplines that still bear on our lives today (like art, economics, literature), and about making some lifelong friends.  The best college education, IMHO, is one that fosters and develops critical thinking skills, which is something that never, ever goes out of fashion.

lifejoy

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2014, 07:41:10 AM »
I have always loved school, and MANY of my closest friends are people that I met in university. It is a unique environment that I think may be worth experiencing.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2014, 07:46:12 AM »
I think this poster is pulling our collective legs.

I wonder this too. a lot of her posts just kind of... don't make sense.

kyleaaa

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2014, 08:51:22 AM »
College is pretty awesome! I sure wish I could go back to the undergrad days.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2014, 10:10:14 AM »
I think this poster is pulling our collective legs.

I wonder this too. a lot of her posts just kind of... don't make sense.

^ +3.

the fixer

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2014, 11:19:01 AM »
Not going to college does NOT limit how much money you can make. On average, earnings are lower between high school grads and college grads, but the variations within each group are greater than those between the groups. For instance, you have Mark Zuckerberg who's made a ridiculous amount of money. Yes, I know that allegory is probably overused. I also have a former coworker who just retired and never went to college. In his last working years he was a self-employed consultant probably pulling in twice as much money as me. We all found out he only had a high school diploma at a work retreat one day, none of us had any idea.

The trick is to focus on building generic skills with value. This means that by practicing the skill, you allow your employer (or yourself if you're being an entrepreneur) to benefit monetarily in some way. Being a 911 operator is a valuable skill only to an organization that needs 911 operators, but the individual skills required are not that valuable. That said, if you want a short-term gig while you figure this out there's nothing wrong with that.
Being able to install plumbing to code is a valuable skill.
Being able to design or build a website that meets a set of business requirements is a valuable skill.
Being able to manage others and keep a project on schedule/on budget is a valuable skill.
Being able to teach people new skills is a valuable skill.
Being able to convince others to purchase something is a valuable skill.
The people who have any of the above skills (meaning they are actually good at doing those things) don't have a problem finding work, regardless of whether or not they have a college degree. College can be a great way to build skills that you can use to get a nice job, but it's not the only way to do it and it's not a guaranteed outcome.

By the way, some things which are NOT valuable skills in and of themselves: researching, writing, forming opinions, attending or organizing meetings, working well with others/being a "team player," time management, and punctuality. You need to be able to use such skills to do something valuable. If you need to build these basic skills, though, any job you take will get you moving in the right direction.

griffin

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2014, 11:37:03 AM »
I think there are a couple of things to consider here:
First, you should consider the 911 operator position: can you see yourself in this role for 10-15 years? If not, what positions would experience as a 911 operator qualify you for, and do you like the sound of any of those positions? (I honestly have no idea what jobs these may be). If the answer to both of these is no, you probably should consider your options carefully! As the fixer pointed out,
Quote
the trick is to focus on building generic skills with value
You could certainly do this through college (either a 2 or 4 year degree - you mentioned geology, a degree in petroleum engineering pays extremely well right out of college! http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/petroleum-engineers.htm ), but it is not necessary. I know here in Portland there is a school that offers free trade classes to women (apologies if i misjudged your gender), so it might be worth looking into an option like that. In the long term, a trade will certainly pay better than a 911 operator, and will likely have better hours/be more fun.
There is also the social aspect of college, and it provides an excellent place to network. If your plan really is to find someone to support you financially, college may indeed be an excellent place to look! (Personally this option seems a little risky, but to each their own!).
In the meantime, I'd take the job! Even if you were to start school in September, you'd make enough to max out your Roth for 2014 and have some personal money set aside too!

sleepyguy

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Re: Skip college and go straight to work?
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2014, 11:40:06 AM »
Well this is from first hand experience as I dropped out after 1/2 semester and started working FT.  I never liked school either than sports teams so schooling was never for me, I can't stand sitting in classes.  BUT I will say, take the job and do a part-time degree.  It will open more doors for you in the future and give you more options.  You can be successful both ways, buy why take the way that limits your options.  For me there was no option because I could not stand school... I entered the workforce early and haven't regretted it.  I'll be done at about 40, which is early but not really... I've had worked close to 20yrs once i do hang it up, lol.