Not to come off as a big deal or anything, but I’ve always liked to think I was pretty S-M-R-T. I mean, you know that super annoying chick in junior high who, like, cried if she got a B?
Yeah, that was me.
Which is why after exchanging years of my life, thousands of dollars, and at least one-quarter of my liver to earn a degree from Gonzaga University, I was shocked and surprised to find my post-graduation self working as a manager at Hollister.
Yeah, Hollister. That clothing store in the mall for 14-year-olds.
After studying hard to get straight As all my life, the most difficult skill I had to learn at Hollister was how to fold shirts.
Guys, today I’m absolutely gonna burst your bubble:
Unless you’re a super-freak of nature, your college degree will not get you the job you deserve.
So what will?
YOUR LEVEL OF AWESOMENESS.
Today, sweet perspectives from people who know shit.
Skip College; Be Awesome at Life
Andrew Olson never went to college, but I’m pretty sure most employers would hire him over… oh, say 99.9% of my college educated friends. (COLLEGE EDUCATED FRIENDS PLEASE TAKE NOTE: If you’re reading this right now, of course you’re in the .1% ;-)
Instead, he decided to learn relevant stuff on his own — and most importantly, he got out there into the bullpen and JFDI (“Just Effin’ Did It”).
In his own words:
“In this world, the only skill you really need is the ability to learn new things. If you know how to read (really read) and absorb new information, your knowledge will be far deeper than the average college graduate who listened to lectures and filled in bubbles on tests.
Even at 15, I somehow recognized how futile college would be at teaching me to learn. And, how unnecessary it would be if I learned the important things on my own. So rather than setting my sights on college, I scraped by with mostly B’s (…and an occasional C) and focused on teaching myself the things I wanted to learn.
I spent my free time in the school library building websites, writing articles, and checking my AdSense earnings. I read books on affiliate marketing and spent time in the Internet Marketing forums. By the time I graduated, I had sold 2 websites for a total of $9,000.
Finding work is not harder without a degree – if you’re skilled. People don’t want your piece of paper; they want your qualifications. Find a way to get qualified. Period.
I find it funny how people often say “My friend has a degree and can’t find a job, so it must be impossible for people without an education.” Have they ever considered that their friend simply doesn’t have what it takes to get hired?“
Andrew wrote a killer in-depth post a few weeks back in which he gave away all the secrets to his success. Degree or no degree, check it out here: 100 Ways to Succeed Without Going to College.
Disclaimer: If you plan on becoming a brain surgeon, please do not skip college. K thanks.
Recession-Proof Your Career
After graduating from Colorado State, Charlie Hoehn faced a dilemma similar to my own: Despite being bright and motivated, his post-graduation job opportunities reeked of crappiness and mediocrity.
Then he figured out what really matters when it comes to work: The ability to develop insight into peoples’ minds, wants, and needs, and to subsequently blow them away with the value you can add.
By the time he’d reached 25, Charlie had used his self-made “Recession Proof Graduate” strategy to score experience working with marketing genius Seth Godin, financial & behavioral guru Ramit Sethi, best selling author & productivity whiz Tim Ferriss, and professional jackass Tucker Max, among others.
The best thing about Charlie? Despite his level of awesomeness, he’s not an asshole (and he’s funny, too).
Check out his free e-book right here (or be sorry): Charlie Hoehn’s Recession Proof Graduate.
What College Will Never Teach You
Michael Ellsberg spent years interviewing successful people without college degrees, and in the process he busted some pretty huge myths.
The Myth: If you get into a good college, study hard, and graduate with excellent grades, you will be pretty much set for a successful career.
The Reality: The biggest thing you won’t learn in college is how to succeed professionally.
Then Michael wrote a book that revealed it all: The Education of Millionaires. Of course, being a millioniare is NOT what life’s all about, but the book’s got some pretty dang good insights. Check it out here: The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think and It’s Not Too Late.
* * *
In the end, it’s not that your college degree is worthless — if given the choice, I’d absolutely get my (two) degrees all over again.
It’s just that in and of itself, possessing a piece of paper will never make you awesome. As Charlie Hoehn likes to say (and this makes me chuckle to myself [CTM] every time I think of it), “College degrees are not given to unique snowflake children.”
Regardless of your choice in edumacation, the real question is this: Can you add real value in the workplace and in the world?
Find ways to answer this question with a HELL MOTHER-EFFING YES, and watch as your greatest potential bursts forth.
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[Image by Hammonton Photography]