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Monday, September 2, 2013

Useless degrees vs. practical skills

A couple of days ago, our friend and neighbor Enola Gay put up a blog post about her 17 year old son's ambition to become a butcher. As homesteaders who frequently call upon the services of butchers, I can think of no finer and more useful profession. This young man has a solid career path open to him which virtually guarantees employment no matter how dire the economy.

But someone, it seems, took exception to his path in life and wrote a comment on her blog post, to wit:

Why don't you get Mr. Dumb Ass, er, I mean, Mr. Hand Grenade into a college so that Mr. H.G. won't be yet another loser walking around armed waiting to go postal when the world, which he is not prepared for, overwhelms him and he realizes that he is a working class cog and will never get ahead or have anything on a butchers wages.

(Master Hand Grenade is Enola's nom de plume for her oldest son.)

The words were vile, of course, but Enola handled the snarker with her usual class and grace.

Now hold these thoughts in mind for a few moments while we switch to another scenario.

My husband brought to my attention a blog which mentioned a recent college graduate named Andria who has an “Honors BA in Social Justice and Peace Studies” and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Gender Studies.

And how are these lofty degrees serving her? She writes: "I have a honors BA and I’m defending my MA thesis in two weeks. I am also apply for jobs and I can only find stuff in the service industry. I applied for a Hotel Front Desk Clerk job today. My degrees mean NOTHING. I am at the end of my rope."

Andria may sneer at the service industry, but it begs the question: Where does she want to work? Or perhaps more pointedly, where does she EXPECT to work? Who hires Gender Studies majors?

I don't mean to be snarky or to denigrate certain areas of study; I genuinely want to know. Who hires Gender Studies majors?

It makes me wonder what on earth Andria was thinking when she decided to devote five or six years of her life and possibly acquire a heavy student loan debt in order to obtain degrees which are hard to utilize in the best of times but essentially become useless in a bad economy. Did she think through her career path ahead of time? Did she look into the number of paying jobs available to Social Justice, Peace Studies, and Gender Studies experts?

As Vox Day so cuttingly put it, "And she just figured this out NOW? She has a degree in 'Social Justice and Peace Studies.' She will soon have a second degree in 'Gender Studies.' She's very lucky the service industry will consider hiring anyone with a pulse, because any employer looking at those degrees has to knows she is a walking, talking, sexual harassment and/or discrimination lawsuit waiting to happen. In fact, a Gender Studies degree actually has negative value, given that credentialed feminists are considerably more likely to cause disruption in the workplace. It's bad enough to acquire garbage degrees in economic boom times. It's even worse to do so in the middle of a five-year depression."

This is harsh, yes, but I see his point. I don't know if I'd be inclined to hire her either.

All this makes Master Hand Grenade's choice to become a butcher seem wise, forward-thinking, and intelligent. Not incidentally, since I'm well acquainted with this young man's character, I'd hire him in a heartbeat for ANY job, including hotel front desk clerk.

For those who think Gender Studies majors are somehow morally superior to "working class cogs" like butchers, please check back in ten years and let's compare Master Hand Grenade's and Andria's career paths.

Something to think about for young people thinking about their futures. Think practical, folks. Think practical.


  1. Who would hire gender study degrees? I will tell you education. Gender studies and minority studies have been pushing history degrees out of education and government positions for years. Museum curators or researchers are now called "cultural preservationist". The main reason students these days have no clue about true history.

    Yet your point is valid there simply is not enough room for all these useless degrees any longer. Trade skills are far more lucrative especially for the men who can't get a fair shake in the "educated" fields anyway.

  2. what the snarker doesn't realize is without butchers there would be nothing for them to eat except genetically modified foods or lab grown meat which is as we all know not good for anyone.

  3. Ms. Lewis:

    Unfortunately there are people out there who will judge others by the level of their formal education. Worse, these people seem clueless that informal education may be more valuable than formal education. So while Mr. Snark decides that everyone who doesn't have a formal education is a "working class loser", he will rely on those losers when his plumbing is backed up, or when the electricity goes out, or his car breaks down, etc etc.

    Ironic that he would so discount those who choose to pursue a practical (informal) education over those who would pursue an inpractical education instead.

    Not that I am against formal education - far from it. I have my BSPA and am currently pursuing a JD/MPA, and may continue on to a PhD of SJD because it fits my career goals. However, the idea that just because I have achieved a college degree means that I am somehow "better" or of a higher social standing than others who did not is ludicrous.

    College isn't for everyone. People will live a long and fulfilling life without a college degree. In fact, there is a great argument that if you want to make money, perhaps the fastest way would be to learn a skilled trade rather than obtain a college degree.

    As for Andria: I know plenty of fellow students who attend law school simply because they have a worthless degree and are seeking to make something of it. There are a lot of people who have a degree in fine arts, or a masters in gender studies, or some other non-marketable degree. They're not going to make very good lawyers, and I suspect they won't be in the field 5 years after they pass the bar.

    We've (speaking generally) created a monster regarding college degrees. You can get student financing - no questions asked - from the feds. You are saddled with that financing for life; practically you can never discharge it. There is no outside market pressure on colleges; as a result, you can spend $150,000 to get that bachelors in fine arts or that masters in gender studies. Kids are willingly signing up for massive amounts of non-dischargable debt their degree simply isn't worth.

    Love the blog and the self-reflection that it causes.


    1. Read this whole comment, and couldn't agree more.

  4. This discussion has caused some heated debate in our family over the past year. A son-in-law was hammered about higher education his entire life and he believes ONLY those with an ADVANCED degree are worth anything or can get anywhere in life. His major? Music. And so he teaches high school for less than $35K per year, while other "less-educated" in our tribe make several times as much. He called our son a horrible name because he has a WONDERFUL opportunity to train for a $100K/year position the day he graduates high school. Fortunately, our son had enough sense to see through the insult and just walked away. Sometimes, education makes people absolutely STUPID about REAL LIFE........

  5. Wow. The moment I read the reply to Enola Gay's entry about Master H.G. I had one person leap to mind. This gentleman owns a place in Idaho, lives in a gated community in Southern California, paid CASH (from what I hear) for his latest pickup truck, has no mortgage, helped his son through college, has a rental property that his son and his family live in (and rent from him).

    Oh, did I forget to mention? He's a retired butcher. He was going to start at the local community college, and simply decided that he didn't want to go to school any more, and wanted to learn a trade.

    More power to Master H.G. for choosing a noble and profitable career path.

  6. Enola's son has chosen a wise career path....not much competition... even people who hunt do not butcher their own meat. Even you Patrice have your chickens butchered. A good butcher is worth his weight in gold and a bad one won't be in business for long.

    Skilled butchers cut meat wisely and end up with better cuts of steaks and roasts and minimual amounts of hambuger and stew meat. Its and admorable field and is NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.

    It takes much knowledge of animal anatomy and some health nutritional skills to be a butcher. Not to mention the small business owner requirements.

    We need more butchers.... and less gender studies majors....

  7. Yes, my grandson has a master's degree in music, graduating 3 years ago...he didn't get a teaching certificate and now works a clerical job in the insurance industry. I don't know that he'll ever get a decent job in music, I have an advanced degree in something practical, as a dietitian, and never had trouble getting a job. His folks thought my advice to major in something he could find a job with was a downer - three years ago - they now wonder how he is ever going to pay his college loans.

  8. To paraphrase Dave Ramsey, he once told a young woman that had gotten her degree in Japanese Cultural Studies (and after graduating with a TON of debt .. over 100K .. lived at her parents home) .. "Didn't anybody love you enough to steer you in another direction." The Andria's of the world are easy pickins' for college administrators to 'lead' down a path of no future and a boat load of debt.

    1. I read that degree title and immediately thought of a consultant/advisor to companies doing business with Japanese. It's not as useless as it sounds.

  9. Excellent choice on his part. Everybody has to Eat. Not worried about the Vegan crowd on this one. I had to advise my youngest son on career paths. He did not have a clue what to do after he left the Navy. I knew he needed to consider a few things to pinpoint a direction in which to look. 1. look for a job that is needed in any medium to large communities or any population center for that matter. Pick a job that requires actual training that the Do it yourselfer can't readily do. Look at jobs that aren't glamorous but essential and are often overlooked because they are not high profile, Such as ,Plumber , Sewage treatment plant operator , Certified welder. Certified vehicle mechanic. I'm Happy to say My son has been an HVAC technician for 10 years now. Very essential to the community . Heating and cooling, refrigeration are very important to any home or Business.Most College degrees are not worth pursuing these days as my wife the public schoolteacher will tell you.10% of students in our district might make it to Community college. 1-2 % might get an associates or 4 year degree . That leaves the other 90 % scratching there heads wondering what to do. Vocational training is the career path most of our kids should be taking. Developing a hard work ethic wouldn't hurt either. The young Butcher will flourish in any town he chooses . On the other hand, The Female with the Woman's studies degree will have to wait behind a few hundred other angry feminist activist applying to get a clerk position at Berkley.

  10. Many (if not most) of today's college grads are just what the government wants: dumb-down, dependent, skill-less sheep in bondage to government. They will be fighting each other to get a seat in the FEMA buses…
    Montana Guy

  11. Man, I Love our butcher! Excellent choice!!!

  12. Hey first of all I have nothing against a higher
    education, but now i Think you should be lead of God.
    One of the last years awanas had there MIT (missionary
    in training) outreach, my daughter got to go.Her 3 day
    training course was in seattle and the women who taught it had a masters in Socially or something like
    that. Because of her education and just by talking
    with me, she was able to know which of the two teams
    to put my daughter and where she should go.
    I think either or you need an education of somesort.
    rather it be a buther or college.

  13. I served ten years in the military, went to college, worked a variety of jobs ending up part time laboring hard in a warehouse...got laid off when the housing industry went belly up. since that time I have been one of the happiest persons alive cause I am doing something on my own and liking what I do. I have never been wealthy and I don't expect I ever will, but I am very content as well as surviving todays economy in ways that I never gave thought to in past years. there is way more to living a good life than lots of money and prestige of multiple unuseable degrees.

  14. I made the mistake of getting a Masters in Healthcare Management. I have been an EMT for 13 years and realized my time working in the field is winding down as I get older. When I got the degree in 2009 the healthcare industry was just starting to feel the effects of the economy. Now try as I might I cant get any job in Healthcare Admin all hospitals want Nurse Managers now and several HR department have suggested that I go back for a Nursing Degree. So I have to just suck it up pay the student loans and continue working on the ambulance for the next 20+ years.

    1. Feel your pain, @GrumpyEMTI am RN but AD so facing #BSN mandate and at 50 not gonnna take on that debt! I have WAY too much experience as ICU/ER nurse! left bedside aoubt 5 yrs ago, and am STUCK now!

    2. private duty nursing??
      deb h.

  15. I figure employers ask for Bachelor's degrees anymore to increase their chances of getting someone with an 8th grade reading level.

  16. As one who never finished high school I can honestly say that in most cases college is a waste of time. My husband also never finished high school, yet we started our own successful business in the computer repair field where it is so cut throat that only about 35% of those businesses are still in operation at the 3 year mark. We were going strong at ten years until we had to close because my husband had a disabling heart attack and could no longer work. My son had gone to trade school instead of a traditional high school and worked in our business until we closed. He continued on in the computer field and is still gainfully employed with no huge college debt. Our oldest daughter also went to trade school to become a dental assistant, she has never had a problem getting a job. Our youngest daughter actually received on the job training to become a pharmacy technician and the company sent her for training because she had such a strong work ethic that the company wanted to keep her. So it has been our experience that college is not needed to be a success.

  17. Being a butcher is an excellent job choice. My dad grew up on a farm in the 30s/40s and where he lived only had the opportunity to go to school through the 8th grade, and even then him and his siblings missed a lot of school as did their classmates, to help on the farm. All he knew how to do was farm, then he got drafted to go to Korea. After Korea he decided he didn't want to go back to the farm and got a job at a slaughterhouse where he worked until he retired. When I was in school I often got ridiculed because my dad worked in a slaughterhouse, which even then was considered a lesser job by people who worked other jobs. To this day, my dad who is in his early 80s, can still butcher out an animal faster than almost anyone and in his younger days many relatives and friends would pay him to butcher their deer, cows, etc. for them. And like others have said, most people don't butcher their own cows anymore, nor do most people even process their own deer, so mobile butchers, or other small butcher shops make quite a lot of money. It's a good skill to have. In today's economy quite frankly I think those types of jobs are far better than to go to college, because if you can't get a job in your chosen field, you often get overlooked for service jobs because they think you are too educated and will treat less educated workers poorly, and yes I have seen that happen on many occasions in the retail world. And sadly many of those with college degrees have never actually worked a job in their entire life and just expect to graduate and be handed a job. In fact many high school students now have no goals after high school at all, most just want everything handed to them and don't want to work. So more power to those that actually want to get a job like a butcher.

  18. Remember, Lazar Wolf, the butcher in Sholem Aleichem's _Tevye the Dairyman and Other Tales_, which was adapted to become "Fiddler on the Roof," was the wealthiest man in the shtetl, Anatevka.

  19. In ten years master hand grenade will probably run one of those butcher on site out of a trailer setups or maybe even his own small shop.

    Part of the problem with our whole blue collar/ white collar system is that it is economically meaningless. A teacher would consider their self white collar citing years in school, degrees, etc. Conversely a crane operator who makes $50 an hour would look at their background and say they were blue collar which is generally considered less prestigious despite earning 3x the teachers wages.

    Skills matter a huge amount in this economy. That being said not all skills come from degrees and not all degrees bring skills.

  20. A friend of mine has a daughter that did not want to go to college. Just did not appeal to her. He asked what she thought about being a dental hygenist. She had not thought of it, and he took her to a trade school that trained dental hygenists. She did the work, got her certification and license. Fast forward 6 years, and she's making almost as much as an entry level RN, can make her own hours, can move or basically live where ever she wants and find a good job. The field has high demand and great flexibility.

  21. Hey...I worked real hard and went into a lot of debt to get my purple velvet fammerjammet doctorate, thus proving my superiority, so now y'all owe it to me to give me a job commensurate with my obvious intellectual prowess and coolth.

    Well....I'm waiting.....


    A. McSp.

    1. A very funny comment! No matter how much you try and conceal it, you can't hide your astute-full erudite-ness.

      Just Me

    2. LOL!

      I can't take credit....the comment was actually modeled after a real life experience some years ago with a young, inexperienced female veterinarian, who although not very good at her job and having chosen to open a practice in an area already over-crowded with veterinary practices, nonetheless made her sense of entitlement openly known and set her fees accordingly. "I have student loans to pay off!" The girl was dang near petulant about it! I swear I tried not to laugh.

      And I learned everything I know about purple frammerjammets from Patrice. ;)


  22. Sounds to me as if Enola's snark has anger issues. Perhaps he/she has one of those fancy degrees that ain't worth wiping their butt on, hmmm? Or maybe it's jealousy. Oh heck let me just say what I'm thinking..that snark is an ignorant a$$. Who does he think cuts the meat at the deli, a keebler elf? Geeesh

  23. I'm truly dismayed at that snarker's comments about MHG.

    I can't believe that anyone thinks it's okay to blast away at a 17-year-old young person on the internet like that. What have we come to? Geez!

    I'm a semi-vegetarian. I know nothing about cooking red meat.

    But my husband is all manly meat eater. I'm constantly seeking the advice of the butcher in my store for his thoughts on how I should prepare something. And he's always really nice to me.

    Ignore the naysayers, Master Hand Grenade. Living well is the best revenge.

    Just Me

  24. I would avoid any applicant with a degree in one of the hate studies (gender, race, etc.) First of all they are easy degrees that you can't fail and secondly it seems only troublemakers choose one of these degrees.

  25. My daughter started working at 17, sorting books at the library, then went to work at a gas station. Any job meant being employed.

  26. TG my degree is an RN/AAS! WHile the push is on for BSN for RN,I will be 'grandfathered' at least for a while...and they can NEVER take my experience away from me...I'm sorry but WTF if gender studies anyhow? Butcher isadmirable skill no matter what way u look at it!

  27. WTH is a degree in gender studies anyhow? TG my AAS is in field where I can and have had a + impact on saving lives..and a butcher can save lives by knowing meat handling! And why knock a kid who knows what he wants, and the positive he can provide! this is freaking slaying me!

  28. I say do what makes you happy (and earns you a living.) There's no dollar sign on Piece of Mind.

  29. Conservative people with good common sense DO "think practical." It's been proved time and time again that a college degree does NOT guarantee anyone a decent job after they graduate. Far too often it is just the opposite! But still we have the blind, deaf and dumb snarks who just don't get it... and never will. They have been thoroughly conditioned to believe only the liberal-progressive lies. We will NEVER confuse any of them with the facts! They've been brainwashed into shutting out all who disagree with their perfect wisdom. When I'm confronted by one of these arrogant know-it-alls, I just turn and walk away. They can call me rude and intolerant. I no longer care, because there's just no reasoning with them!
    --Fred in AZ

  30. A slightly historical note here. The job of ships surgeon on Royal Navy vessels was always carried out by the ships butcher. Also where the nickname sawbones originated. Even today in the UK surgeons carry the title Mr not Dr in a nod to this tradition.
    Being a butcher requires intimate knowledge of anatomy and of many species. MHG will undoubtably do well at this and with his background I fully expect to see him running his own business within 10 years.
    As for the snarky poster I expect, with their professional qualifications, that they will own a nice collection of name tags within the same time period!

  31. That's the make believe world of college. That you can get a degree in anything and somehow make a living at it. Yes you have doctors, nurses, and, in the case of this household, a controller level accountant. Those professions do need a bit more education. What does someone plan to do with a gender studies education? What job does that qualify one for? I honestly don't know. Unless you continue to get a masters and your doctorate and then teach in college. Then they can schmooze with all the other educators and indoctrinate more students to be like them.

    And before you kick the kid for getting a worthless gender studies degree...didn't the kid's parents look at that and, oh I don't know, GUIDE? What about holding the colleges accountable for offering worthless programs that have literally no employ-ability? Shouldn't there be a disclaimer somehow that you are getting loans and whatnot for fluff? Colleges are not in the business of educating, they are in the business of making money....meaningful education may or may not be a by-product of the dollars spent.

    As I said on Enola's blog, good for MHG. Meat doesn't magically appear on foam trays stamped out of a meat-machine. That only really happens in the minds of those fairy tale "educateds " -- meat appears, it doesn't actually involve an animal.

  32. I would guess that the gender studies graduate will probably end up working for the government in some capacity.

    1. Probably true. I know someone with a Masters in some gobbledygook blahblahblah who works for the Feds doing who knows what.

  33. Not all colleges / degrees are created equal. My degree is in Diesel Technology. My peers had their choice of jobs (I was already in the rail industry) - one young lady is a Technical Representative for Toyota USA, another is head of fleet maintenance for a national truck rental company a third is a Western states Technical Representative for Caterpillar. Major national construction companies send recruiters to the campus each spring. The normal career path does not include turning wrenches very long, in a short time most grads are moving up in the business.
    JW M

    1. We are sending our 18yo son to train in Diesel Technology as well. He's always been good at math and is mechanically inclined. We think this is an excellent path for him to follow. He will be making money hand over fist as well as doing something he loves.

    2. How true. But a degree in Diesel Technology or any technical endeavor takes some intelligence and common sense. Something our liberal profs haven't been teaching their students in a long time. When our oldest daughter graduated from college, we noticed in the program that by FAR the most common degree was in psychology. We asked our daughter why so many students were majoring in psych? She told us it's one of the easiest degrees with the easiest requirements! Ah, that explains a lot. --Fred & Deb in AZ

  34. hi. if i had it to do over i would get training in something truly useful and then pay my own way through college.
    back in my day, when those lucky enough to afford one rode our dinosaurs to school, females where i lived had the choice of nursing school- either college or hospital school- secretarial school, or beauty school. i am not a feminist but i remember when want ads for engineers said 'no women need apply'. i hope those days are forever over.
    i just read an interesting article at 'thebaffler.com/past/academy_fight_song' which may interest some.

    our boy is a prof. and when he was still in school the feminist type classes were required for graduation. boy! was he full of questions about idiotic 'facts' being taught.
    one of the prof.s told him his 'masculinity' was so threatening to others in the class that they were afraid to interact in class. this boy is an average height, blond tenor. and believe me he was being quiet and keeping his head down so he could get through with no trouble and get his degree. he didn't know what to do!!
    anyway, my advice to all is to get real training in a real, physical field of endeavor that cannot possibly be outsourced to another country. anything hands-on.
    it is obvious that the snarker either has no degree himself or is one of those who got a useful degree. or maybe he is one of those who make unconscionable amounts of $$$ from the academics industry.

    deb harvey

  35. Boy, you people don't get it. A degree in Gender Studies means that you will be more successful hanging out in the bars on Friday nights! :)

  36. Better educated people have looked down on me for years because I am a cook.I didn't go to school for this.I started out as a dishwasher and worked my way up.I may not have a degree,but I never have a problem getting a job,anywhere I choose to live.

  37. Thank you for posting this topic, Mrs. Lewis.

    I am one of those very educated folks. I have two degrees, one in engineering and a post-grad in management. I am also about one year away from my PhD in engineering. I have spent about $5k (of my money) to receive these degrees. Yes, I am female and no, I don't believe I have received special treatment. In fact, my career has been full of struggles that I have had to overcome. I am not complaining as I was well aware (thanks to my parents) that when I chose my career that it would not be easy to enter a very male dominated field. I have worked hard (I am not a genius and I had to overcome a traumatic brain injury I received in my teens) but now I am blessed with a very successful career that I love.

    I am a firm believer that having a college education doesn't make you smart, it only provides you a basis for entering a career field, if that. You have to work hard in any field to be successful. Experience is worth it's weight in gold. But is success what everyone wants? And what is success? I would contend that some people would like a stable income, in a nice area to raise a family or enough money to allow them to travel, buy a farm, work on their hobbies.

    What I feel is the real problem with high education is that we are asking young people the wrong questions. What would be your dream job? What do you like to do? While there is nothing wrong with these questions, I feel they are very short sighted. We need to be asking them, what are you good at? Where do you want to live? A small town, a city, overseas? Do you want to work a day job? do you like working with people or by yourself? Do you know how much is costs to buy a house where you want to live? There are many more questions, but I am sure you get my drift. The other big part of this is that we focus on the education but the outcome. Young people need to learn about basic economics, supply and demand, rate of return on investments. I get sick to my stomach when I hear about a student paying $100k for a degree where the jobs in that field pay $30k especially when there are plenty of colleges where one could get that degree for a fraction of the price.

    Being a butcher is a great career choice. I am thankful for butchers, mechanics, doctors, engineers, dental hygienists, social workers, even politicians (but only a few). But all joking aside, all of these fields provide a service that is in demand and that benefit our society.


  38. You can make a lot of money and be very successful and raise a nice family as a butcher. My uncle went to a short butcher school, graduated and went to work in a grocery store meat department (small town WI). He met and married his wife who also worked there. After a few years of saving, they bought out another butcher shop in an even smaller town and went into business for themselves. Over the last 30 years they have built it up into a thriving business. They own a beautiful home, take family vacations each year in Canada, recently purchased a large tract of hunting land, and are putting their three kids through college paying cash on the barrel head. The oldest is now in medical school in another state, the second just starting. So, tell the young man a good butcher is always in need.

  39. Working class butcher clogs will always be able to put food on the table. How can that NOT be successful?
    MORE people need to become veterinarians, butchers, farriers, etcetera.

    Congratulations to your friend's son!

    Our daughter-in-law has a doctorate in some useless degree that accepted a thesis on "Graffiti as Social Communication" or some such crap. And she wonders why she can't find work doing anything more than being a cashier. (And I don't denigrate cashiers. I was a cashier for 10 years. They put up with a lot of crap that some peoples parents wouldn't put up with.)

  40. I think being a butcher is wonderful. Finding a good butcher to who does a good job and is willing to work with the public is a rare find.

    We have been going through the same process here. My daughter started college this fall to be an English teacher which she is well-suited to be. She is also going to get various endorsements and minors to make her job-hunting easier. I made it very clear to all my kids that if they are going to college it will be for something solid that will serve them for years, not some fluff degree like gender studies (ugh). They also need to find something they like to do. They also know that military, trade school, apprenticeships, and getting a job are all options for them to pursue.

    Pushing kids to go to college because it is socially acceptable and expected is wrong. Kids do not need college to be successful when a plethora of options are available to them to be successful.

  41. You know one that is not touch on, with all of us
    is about tithing and giving.I tithe until my husband
    retired from the military.Then he went the rounds for
    awhile of being in and out of jobs including being
    unemployed for 9 months. Well when he got the first
    job after the 9 months I also started to give 10%. ON
    top of the 10% percent that I was already giving. When
    that jobed ended, he got another one right away, etc.
    until he got his present job with the state that we
    are in.Now the state hasn't given them a pay raise for
    4 years. We were suppose have receive one July 1st, but still haven't seen it,etc. Well right now I am dealing with the militay paycheck.And tricare is trying to mess around now. So I sutacted out to much money because I wasn't sure where tricare was going to
    go.Well I talked on the phone today with tricare and every thing worked out. So that to much money that I
    sutract out, I can now use to drive about 30 miles to get chicken food for the winter. And God did not have
    to do it for me either. I have found out if I tithe and give, and then I let God work it out as to how he
    wants to bless us and he still does

  42. I responded to Enola's post by commenting that the letter he received from his recent employer is worth more than any bought and paid for college degree, especially in non-technical or non-professional subjects (e.g., accounting).

    I know of what I speak. I am the "proud" holder of two bachelors -- Economics and Philosophy -- and an MS of Philosophy. I was completing my second year of law school (straight A's at one of the top institutions in the country) when I realized I didn't want to be a professional prostitute for the rest of my life.

    Since then -- and a long, sad stint in "government service" -- I started seven different successful companies which I later sold (usually to the employees who helped me build them) and bought four failing companies, then turned them around and sold them.

    As for my formal education, economics was a Keynesian colossal waste of time and counterproductive to building and running a successful business. I do credit my philosophy studies for teaching me critical thinking.

    One of the major keys to my success was in identifying and recruiting employees like Master Hand Grenade. Even high school degrees weren't a requirement so long as they could do basic math, read at an adult level and apply locic and common sense to problem solving on their own initiative. The character and integrity of a man or woman was more important to their success, and therefore my success, than any degree a candidate offered me.

    If I wasn't an old geezer and was still involved in building companies I would be on a chopper to Idaho (I did actually pursue candidates in this manner that I heard about from trusted friends) on a full press recruitment mission to hire the young man. Hell, maybe I ought to look into a butchering operation...

  43. there are hundreds of useless degrees you can obtain in our "higher" education system. Hands on occupation (maybe through a mentoring system or journeyman work)& even a technical schools seems like a better option. peace, sahdowfaxhound

  44. College is not for everybody and we don't encourage young people to explore much needed skillled professons. I wish there were more apprentice type jobs that were linked in with the community colleges. My Greatgrandfather was a meat cutter and owned the meat market in his small town. We still need plumbers, electricians, welders, etc. I don't think I would encourage or pay for an education in gender studies.

  45. I agree that Andria is nearly unemployable. She is a lawsuit waiting to happen and all it will take is an imagined slight from another person.

    My BA is in English; I was a secretary and later an office manager. I took accounting classes later on and learned how to do bookkeeping. Not glamorous but I could earn a living, unlike Andria.

    My husband went straight from high school to becoming a firefighter. He worked hard, took classes and earned every certificate he could, and retired after 33 years at the tender age of 52 with a pension. A few months ago there was a need at a rural fire district (very small, one station, two square miles) that suddenly lost their Chief, and he stepped in to help. It doesn't pay very well but we don't need the income and he's back in a fire station! He works long hours but every day he comes home happy.

    We live very near the Rim Fire in California and while he did not work on the actual fire, his district received evacuation orders and he made sure that everyone including elderly who didn't drive had transportation and somewhere to do, as well as organized a daily community meeting that included Forest Service and Red Cross personnel. I am so proud of him.

  46. Learning a trade you can use anywhere in the world? Good for him.

    I knew a retired butcher who made a tidy sum and got some choice cuts of deer and elk every hunting season. He either got some cash or a steak on every animal. He had all the equipment and could process an animal in no time flat. It took longer to help him clean up than anything else.

  47. Oh how awesome that EG's son wants to be a butcher! I rarely see any young men (or women for that matter) going into that, yet someone still has to do that particular job. While I adore my middle aged kick-in-the-pants butcher, at some point he's going to need someone to take over for him. Or another butcher was floored that my reaction was "that's it?" when he gave me my total for cutting/wrapping/smoking my half a pig (it's certainly not a skill I've got, that's why I've got someone else to do it!).

    I'm almost to the point of discouraging my kids from going to college if their talents/skills/desires aren't going to be served by going to college. One child is enthralled with all things building, another is into all things mechanical/vehicle/repair, both of which are better learned with an apprenticeship and hands-on training. I have to admit seeing a 9yo correctly use a drill is so darned cute, as is a 7yo helping change the oil in a vehicle. :)

    Another tidbit I've heard time and time again in the job market was that you can teach someone a skill and how to do things, but you can't teach them work ethic and good character. Things that make all the difference.

  48. I'm very glad, for his sake, that he's looking into a field that will likely remain busy long term. WITHOUT having to spend a fortune to get the experience!

    When I started college I picked a degree in a field that was, AT THAT TIME, a high demand field. Infact, the demand was so high that I probly could have started fresh from highschool. But I wanted the degree.

    By the time I graduated (only 4yrs later) I had a stack of student loans to pay back....and no job prospects. The bubble had popped, and the market was saturated with experienced professionals looking for work. There were no jobs for a "fresh out of college newbie". My job prospects have never quite recovered. Keeping up-to-date is costly and time prohibitive when you're working 60hrs a week just to make ends meet. I keep plugging away at it. But oh do I wish I'd gone into a trade instead of college.....

  49. I firmly believe (& encourage my children) to get working jobs. To form a skill set that will be useful when computers and technology are not. I want them to be well informed, and educated, but to have the hands on ability to perform a job skill not just their brains. My husband, currently military is taking a certificate course to become a butcher as well. Having a skill is more important than anything else. He has all this "education" in different forms from his military career, but that means little if you have no actual skill you can perform in the job world. He finishes his military career in less than 2 years and is trying to acquire a skill set for future jobs now before he has to hunt for a job. I too am learning a skill, in case the need arises for both of us to earn an income to support our family. I think learning a skill and trade is far more beneficial than just "book smarts".

    Learning in NY

  50. Trades will always be in demand-I think it's a shame there isn't some form of apprenticeship offered by high schools, where a student could work and learn from a tradesman-be it a bucher, electrician, or whatever. Short version is it's his life, and his to do with as he sees fit. A good butcher will always have an income...and no massive college debt. More power to him.

  51. My dad has been a butcher his entire adult life and I am proud of him. He is the hardest worker I know and has a large customer base that only want him to cut their meat. He has also made extra money on the side during deer season processing the deer meat at a local shop. The biggest thing for him is that at 62 his body is getting tired from the physical labor.

    Our world/nation is changing and only a fool can't see that a trade/skill is the way of the future.

  52. Imagine if two young people tried to sell shares in their future success including debt. One was a butcher apprentice, the other studying for a Master's degree in Gender Studies. Which would you invest in?
    Montana Guy

    1. Montana Guy,

      I'd take a leveraged short position on 50% margin on the idiot studying for the master's degree in gender studies -- that's a stock guaranteed to go to zero (wildly profitable for a short). The butcher's apprentice might be successful so his stock might have some value as a long trade with unknown risk (market risk; unknown character risk). The gender studies short is a perfect money making play stealing money from stupid liberals who would invest in the gender studies student. And if I was Goldman Sachs, I would naked short the gender studies student's stock (skipping the margin step and simply printing shares to sell to stupid liberals).

  53. I retired from a major IT company a couple of years ago after 40 years. I had a Team Lead that always told me "a smart person has a good trade, then a career". Meaning, you always have something to fall back on (if you want it) if and when you (or your job) become(s) obsolete. All my training came from the US Navy or in house, I just got tired of the new stuff every day, so I retired. Now, I'm doing the really fun stuff I did 40 years ago, I wonder some times what my life would have been like I had a stuck with my "trade". Good for the young man to choose a trade/career that will always be in demand. Who knows, he may end up owning a thriving business if he wants.

  54. "Formal Education" failed (interesting links):

    - "The Higher-Education Bubble Has Popped" "Not only are the returns poor, but the quality of the product is poor." @ http://mises.org/daily/5533/The-HigherEducation-Bubble-Has-Popped

    - "Hey, Entrepreneurs, Skip The MBA And Use The Money To Start Businesses"
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/tony-hsieh-value-of-a-college-education-2010-10#ixzz1AmUJt3Qd

    - "Jim Rogers: "All Of You Who Have MBAs Have Made Mistakes" And You Should Be Farmers Instead"
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/jim-rogers-getting-an-mba-is-a-mistake-and-you-should-become-a-farmer-2010-12

    - "17,000,000 college educated Americans have jobs that they are overqualified for, according to the BLS.
    Over 482,000 college-educated Americans are customer service representatives and over 100,000 are maids and janitors; 5,057 of whom have a Ph.D."
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/college-educated-wasting-degree-2010-10

    - "The disposable academic - Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time"
    Read more: http://www.economist.com/node/17723223

    - "Do people need MBAs—particularly degrees from elite b-schools—to become successful chief executive officers with hefty paychecks? Exclusive new research suggests the answer is "no"." "... life experience may count for more than lessons learned in B-school. "
    Read more: http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/dec2010/bs2010121_528228.htm

    - "Financial Benefits of a College Education Are Smaller Than You'd Think"
    Read more: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/05/24/financial-benefits-of-a-college-education-are-smaller-than-youd/?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl4|sec1_lnk2|65020

    - "Anyone going to college is gambling...a college education just is not a good investment."
    @ http://blog.mises.org/17272/a-grim-look-at-how-college-worked-out-for-2010-graduates/

    - http://www.mises.org.br/Article.aspx?id=1072

    P.S. BTW, "The 15 Richest People Who Didn't Graduate From College"
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-15-richest-people-without-college-degrees-2010-11?op=1#ixzz1Ufe6Wshe

  55. I work in IT. I have 16 years of experience in the field. I completed a degree in 2010, solely to have the line item on my resume. That line gets me past the HR gatekeepers that control hiring in my field. Beyond that the only value in my $16,000 diploma is as a piece of tinder.

  56. Nothing wrong with being a butcher or a blacksmith -- if TSHTF, those skills will be among the most needed & desired. Also, you don't have to work for a big processing company like Hormel -- you can move to a small town & butcher deer and other animals for hunters. But it's sometimes surprising how college degrees can be used -- the new CEO of one of Chicago's biggest museums has a degree in divinity. That has nothing to do with museums -- but might have something to do with human relations. Maybe that translates into a viewpoint the museum wanted. Go figure.

  57. My grandfather was a butcher. While he and my grandmother raised 8 children born during and after the Great Depression, my father told me (not too long ago), with pride, that because of grandfather's occupation, there was always meat on their table regardless of how poor they were.
    Since my father had to drop out of school at age 14 after my grandfather died and there were still 3 young children at home to care for, I also grew up poor. But we all had a great work ethic and went into careers with practical skills, after each of us began working at age 14 (the minimum age in our state, with permission from the school district superintendent). My father went on to earn his GED and associate degree and had a well-respected career as a fire-fighter. In turn, he showed us by example that you can, if desired, continue to work hard to improve your lot in life.
    My husband was raised by his grandparents, themselves growing up during the Great Depression. After his grandfather got out of the Air Force, he became a veterinarian. His children, and grandchildren, were all expected to work at his solo-practice rural veterinary clinic starting by age 10-12. He taught them all to shoot, hunt and fish. We didn't discover until after his death that he actually had been an accomplished and recognized sharp-shooter in the Air Force.
    While I may have an extremely employable doctorate, my dear husband, with his high school diploma and service-sector job history, is a brilliant, creative and successful problem-solver. I am privileged to have him in my and our childrens lives.
    MHG has made an excellent decision and will have a unique skill set that, in conjunction with the wonderful education his parents have provided him, will help make him a successful individual in his own right and by his own hard work. I personally applaud him and his family for focusing on what's important, not what's "politically correct."

    1. My Grandfather was Milkman, he delivered milk and eggs everyday in Nebraska...my father was greatfull for this, " thanks to his simple job, we never went hungry during the great depression".....so, they ate well while college professors died of starvation....go figure.

  58. your rebutal to the numbskull was dead on.... also, i love your stories..........live strong.

    keith cossairt

  59. Even "useless" is overly kind.

    I, for one, would far rather hire a high school dropout than a "gender studies" major.

    A hint for college students: if the title of your major contains the word "studies", you are going deep into debt in order to acquire a credential that will make you _less_ desirable to employers than you were the day your high school principal handed you that sheet of fancy paper saying "this is just a prop...your real diploma will arrive by mail".

    And yeah. The world needs more good butchers.

  60. My first thought on this subject was where were the parents to advise against this in this economy? Yes a degree can be a good thing, my mom was a teacher for many years and retired from teaching. I on the other hand never went to college, living simply has become a way of life for us and I can't begin to imagine what it would be like had I gone to college and had to pay back all those loans. Hubby was a cab driver but later in life decided to go to college and work towards a law degree, I believe he would have made a great lawyer however when the time came to move on to a better job to help support us and still go to school, there was nothing available for him, we believe it was due to his age, no one wanted to hire an older man. He still works as a cab driver. Thank goodness we don't have expensive student loans to pay back.

  61. Wow such interesting views. I sincerely believe that going the technical root or the academia root is purely a personal choice. I believe that education challenges ones and exposes a person to different world views (having to learn about different theoretical framework of different subjects etc). If my son decides to be a butcher, I would be very supportive but still encourage him to study whilst he is still young and work part time in a butchery. As soon as he has completed his BA or whatever degree he can always become a full time butcher. Every young person should experience the joys of campus life, critical thought provoking research skills and community responsibility that a good institution of higher education should foster. By the way I believe that a degree in Gender Studies is a very good degree for community development, international policy making, rural development (particularly in the developing nations), product development and human resource strategies. To cut a long story short, everything depends on the individual's preference, their ability, their intellect as well as their environment.

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