I once worked for a major corporation and made over $500 more than their Computer analyst. I was the “assistant” analyst and also in charge of another not nearly as important program within the company.
I had no college degree (though I did have many college credits) and the computer analyst had a masters degree. In order to make ends meet he worked two jobs using all of his spare time to tutor students who were struggling in certain subjects.
As it was common knowledge in our office that he made less than anyone else, I ventured into dangerous waters and asked my boss why his position was paid so much less. She didn’t really have a solid answer as to this so she asked her boss. He did not know either.
Thus the question was pursued to higher management levels. We never did receive an answer and in spite of my co-workers masters degree he never did receive a raise that would equal to my salary. I always felt kind of sorry for him. Here he had spent many years pursuing a degree that was essentially worthless for him in his current chosen field of work. Here I was with no degree and making a lot more money than he was. It just seemed so incongruous to me that it would turn out that way.
As I explored this situation in my own mind, I realized that not all businesses require a degree. Though the example above certainly should have provided my co-worker more compensation, it did not. No matter how well prepared we are, often we are overlooked and underpaid. It’s a challenge that many people face on a daily basis. Consider all of the people that manage to make ends meet on minimum wage. Many of them are happy and consider themselves to be successful.
In order to be successful one needs to adhere to some simple etiquette rules of logic in the business world. Keep your job skills up to date and continually improve them.
Maintain contact with former employers in a reasonable fashion. One never knows when a better paying position might come up and if former employers keep you in mind you may just get the job. Providing of course you want the job that is. Networking is a great opportunity to keep yourself going up the corporate ladder.
Naturally everyone’s standards of success vary slightly. What is success to one may not necessarily be success to another. For me it is simply doing my best and managing my household in a timely manner. Paying my bills on time and staying out of debt as much as possible. I don’t worry about owning the latest model car (in fact, my car has over 240,000 miles on it and I have nursed it through 3 major winters because I simply don’t want a car payment).
The definition of success according to wikipedia is: “The achievement of an objective or a goal. A level of social status, and the opposite of failure.” A pretty broad definition to be sure.
So does one need a college degree to be successful? No, not at all. Success is defined in our own hearts and minds. Reaching our own goals and objectives. Not failing, and achieving the level of social status that we have chosen. Success is not keeping up with the Jone’s nor is it being able to live as if we have no worries. Success is simply how we view ourselves and our positions and whether or not we can be happy where we are at in life itself.