I have long resisted getting any sort of higher education. I am now in my late 20’s and feel I am approaching the ceiling of income without a degree.
Context for me: I’m a perpetual job hopper, but I’ve managed to talk myself into a project management position paying around $70k per year. I am a firm believer in getting a raise and promotion with each job switch. I would love to talk numbers if anyone wants to share their educational outcome.
My question is, has your degree been worth it? Monitarily, job prospects, happiness at work, etc.
I’ve about reached the limit of touch-labor pay rates (that don’t involve excessive risk like Oil Dereks) and found myself unsatisfied when I got to a point where I didn’t feel I was growing anymore, and I currently work as a Flight Operations Inspector at Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks. I make about 95k yearly before taxes or overtime.
Now I’m pursuing a degree in Computer Information Systems because I realized I need a challenge (as if being responsible for the safety of a prototype aircraft wasn’t challenging enough). It made no sense to go to school for something that was going to pay less, and frankly most jobs pay less than what I make now - and I didn’t want to be stuck doing school for 8+ years like most other high-earning degrees… so I landed on tech field.
I have a hard time feeling good if I’m not progressing, so being at a ceiling of any type is hard for me. If you feel this also applies to you, I don’t think there’s a good justification not to get a degree in something.
I’m 28 with a wife and daughter; I wish I had started school younger so they didn’t have to sacrifice this time with me.
You hit the nail on the head. I do not do well with boredom. If I am not challanged, I am bored. I work about 20 out of 40 hours a week, the rest is ass in seat time. The only one really hurt by that is my employer. Yet, here I am, looking to spend money and time on school. Just to learn something!
Your current job sounds super cool! I have my commercial pilot cert and have a lot of respect for the safety and numbers behind airplane development.
My current career choice was possible only because I have an undergrad degree- the technical school I went to required people to have at least an undergrad degree. The field i’m in (EE) has nothing to do with my undergrad degree (History).
That is a fantastic question that I cannot answer yet. Part of my rotten attitude is I think all jobs will get boring. I have had 30+ jobs and they all get easy. Granted, most of them were entry-level positions. I have not looked at a list of degrees and had one stand out.
My law degree was absolutely worth it. Had I stopped at undergrad my undergraduate degree on its own would have been pretty useless.
Even professional jobs can become quite boring depending on your mindset approaching the job. For example, becoming a deep subject matter expert in an area of the law is fun and interesting for some folks because they can learn every little nuance. Others might find that mind-numbing. What I like about what I mostly do (bankruptcy) is that cases involved different businesses and so often different industries. Learning about how each new business operates keeps things interesting.
I think most jobs eventually end up feeling routine. After all, most jobs are ultimately asking you to handle certain defined tasks, and that essentially means you’ll be doing the same defined tasks over and over. Whether that becomes boring probably depends on the nature of the tasks and how those tasks fit with your personality type.
Afaik, the only career that fits everything you want (except the challenge) are tech, especially Comp Sci, jobs, due to the hybrid/remote work.
And even then you’re at the mercy of whether your company has the environment/culture suited for it. My brother and sister-in-law both work at FAANG companies. They get paid a lot, get lots of PTO, and are in a hybrid work model. They also work painful hours and seem to be under a lot of stress, though they’re getting better at managing that.
I myself am in a comfortable position right now at work. I have extreme flexibility with my hours. Before the pandemic I’d go to the office by like 10:30AM, leave sometime between 4-5PM to go lift, then come home and continue working if needed after dinner. When I’m not busy I only really work like 6-7 hours a day, not including the time spent keeping an eye on e-mails at home. This was only possible because we have work laptops, so I have the flexibility to work at home and so plan my day around rush hours. It also means that I need to make a conscious effort to ignore tasks and do other stuff.
But when I get busy I spend 70+ hours a week for months on end. At least I find it fun and rewarding and not stressful.
I write this because this is probably the average experience with any tech jobs that pay reasonably well.
I agree with many of your points. Namely, pretty much every job gets boring. I am beginning to think it is way less about what I do (day to day), and more about the company as far as the flexibility, hours worked and PTO goes. Doesn’t necessarily constitute needing a degree.
It is a mental game too. At least for me. I am the common denominator in my many job switches, I have excepted that I am the problem.
My attention span resembles a Labrador after two Redbulls. The longest I have held a job is just under 2 years. Somewhat difficult to justify education with a bad track record. However, learning is never a bad thing.
Mine was worth it (mechanical engineering degree). I’ve been doing it for about 10 years now. I’m not sure I have the attention span for it TBH. I’ve got some strong imposter syndrome. I am working with a psychiatrist to work towards towards getting more meds (I’m on non stim ADHD meds), but a full diagnosis is required for stimulants, and my diagnosis from 25 years ago doesn’t count. If that doesn’t work out, I may switch to something less tedious. I say it’s worth it, because since starting I’ve invested aggressively and the degree has allowed that. I can’t retire, but I don’t need to invest anymore to have a comfortable retirement. I think all that saving / investing is it out of fear of getting fired and not being able to get my shit together. So I’ve always seemed to have the mentality of trying to stick it out for a few more years, and wanting a really good nest egg when that happens.
10 years plus school sounds like a hell of an attention span from where I am sitting. Investing and having other income is absolutely something to look into. It seems like for you it may have given you extra motivation to stay. You had an external factor to keep your focus.
Not really. I could’ve gone into my current career (sales) without a college degree. Went from making peanuts on a draw to $250k-$300k/year in 8 years. If you can bullshit your way into an entry level SDR/BDR role at a SaaS startup and grind hard enough for 1-2 years to get promoted, the pay scale for good AE’s is bananas. Given how hot the labor market is currently, I think school is a waste…
I appreciate the candid response! I have never thought about sales. Not really my strong suit… but I was offered a job one time when buying a car based on my negotiation skills. I could probably bullshit. Sky is the limit with it.
Bout 12 years out from a civil engineering degree. Lot of things I like, and many I don’t like about the career. IMO, the most important thing is working alongside, and with/for people you enjoy. I make very good money at this point, but that is mostly due to my non-technical skillset. I am able to wfh, but prefer the office… At this point I set my own schedule as there really isn’t anyone above me, and I am only beholden to clients so I sneak out fairly regularly when the snow is good, or trails are hero dirt. It’s lower stress, but also pays less than my buddies in sales making mid-upper six figures. That said, anyone who makes “good money” has a certain level of responsibility, and deals with corresponding levels of stress… So, be careful what you wish for.
The skills I’ve honed in the job have a lot of carryover to being successful outside the job… And that is worth more to me. YMMV.