College may be the way for those willing to be a monkey’s uncle. Today’s economy simply cannot support more college grads in a market oversaturated with would-be white collar workers. While previous generations could rely on their degrees to provide them with substantive income, today’s grads will be lucky if their diploma holds true for a job at the local Dairy Queen. While prestige can be bought, the reward associated with skills can never be replaced. In a world festering with would-be managers, it’s the tradesmen and technicians that have made out on the current gig by creating a demand for themselves through their increasing rarity.
In a society that puts so much merit on intellectualism, no one wants to play second fiddle. Unfortunately, an increase in degreed applicants hasn’t changed the number of white collar positions available. Rather (and this has never been so true as in the current recession), there is an excess of qualified workers to diminish the value of the few positions available. In a manner of speaking, the demand for white collar positions by a populace too concerned with self-management is self-undermining to most graduates. While a small minority of elites will always command the most coveted positions through sheer aptitude and social positioning, the vast majority are required to consistently compete for increasingly lower wages within the leftovers unclaimed by the top dogs (or should I say monkeys?).
And while we can’t all be Ivy Leaguers, there’s something to be said for those that know their places. That is to say, most of us weren’t born with a silver spoon in our mouths and didn’t do as well in algebra as we’d like to think. But money can be and still is had by those with the right skill sets and these positions don’t require testing into the top 99th percentile to pay off. Sure, auto mechanics, plumbers, and dental hygienists don’t get paid like the stars or CEOs but let’s face it—these jobs are in demand and the career prospect is better than the promotional opportunities at the local Quickie Mart; although honorably, it is worth mentioning that managing a Quickie Mart or Dairy Queen could be quite profitable. That is, provided you’re willing to put up with the hassle of the funny little hats, ridiculous hours, and the general stigma associated with the service industry.
But why stop there? College is largely filled with useless prattle. What good will be having an in-depth knowledge of Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty as a liberal arts major when you get out into the cold cruel real world? The majority of college majors are phony. And the ones that aren’t can be too difficult for many. How will not being able to calculate compound interest in high school hold out once a major in Economics has been declared?
Most should quite simply save themselves the trouble. There is something out there between uselessness and intellectual embarrassment. Commonality in a college education has assured its inevitable decline in value, while a trade or technical education has never been in better demand.