Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Big Lie


Everyone knows that a college education is the key to a successful life.  The higher the degree, the better the career –and of course the great salary to follow.  But it’s all a big lie sold by society at our expense.  Maybe it worked for the retiring and retired generation, but for me and those after me, college has actually been an ironic detriment.

It been my observation, and my experience that the more you spend on a higher education, the least helpful it all is.  When I was a social worker I had no education in Social Work.  My colleagues, all had their Master’s or PhD in it.  I was extremely successful and productive, and I made more than most because I speak Spanish.   When a bunch of us went out for lunch one day, three of them had said that they would be paying off their college loans until they retired.

On the other hand, I have several friends who only have high school diplomas and they all make two to three times more than I do as a teacher.  All of them.  None of them are on welfare or food stamps.  They take vacations, have generous Christmases, and retirement plans.   And it’s not that they had more working experience, I worked all through college in jobs that were related to my major.

But let’s take it a bit further.  I have seen up-close people who were not hired because of their education.  Maybe you’ve seen this on the news –but, I know these people.  No one wants to hire them because either, they think they will expect more money than the company is willing to pay, or they think they won’t stay there long.  Unemployment is so high, no one will hire a person with a higher degree for a lower-level or manual job.  Forget the reality that that person has to feed their family too.

A friend of mine and I used to have a challenge where we would only apply for positions we weren’t educationally qualified for.  I swear to you we were always offered the position.  No one cares anymore.  It’s not about education, it’s about experience and personality.  I thought about working on a Master’s and she asked me why I would waste my money.  She was right.  It wouldn’t improve a pay scale, if I wanted to be an expert in something, I just had to study it; I didn’t need a paper or letters after my name.

So where have our standards gone?  Do we still save money to put our children through college, or do we encourage them to travel and study on their own accumulating personal experience?  I’m not sure where this trend is going, but those of us who paid for a higher education seem to be losing out on all those dreams that were promised to us.