“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free”

Monday, January 18, 2010

College? Military? Straight to work? Which way do I go?

Most Americans have been on a preordained path for quite some time now. A path they follow blindly that supposedly dictates the proverbial gateway to success. It goes something like this:

1.do well in High School
2.to land at a decent college
3.and get a well paying job.

But really, what are you going to college for?

1) To rack up a substantial amount of debt in order to 2) be employed in what one hopes will be a high paying job so that you might then 3) service that debt and the debt that inevitably ensues. After all, you’ll need a car to get to that job and a place to live let alone necessities like proper attire for the workplace and food, occasional working lunches, etc. Which all means, of course, more debt. Then, pretty soon you wake up heavily mortgaged (hopefully not upside down) with two kids sleeping in their bedrooms, sweating it out because you don’t know how their lives might possibly be any better – or worse, you just don’t GAF.

Under this construct we’re like sheep being led to the slaughter. In other words, we’re really feeding the machine. The one that keeps us on that wheel (like a hamster), quietly going to work, incurring debt, paying our taxes, and taking out home improvement loans for HOUSES WE DON’T EVEN really OWN!

Some of these “financial experts” love saying “keep your job” while they make real money and build substantial wealth not through any traditional “job” but through ingenious and carefully crafted and executed ventures. You see, in order to make real money you need to be crafty and in order to keep it you need to invest.

But naturally we’re gonna keep our jobs! Yet who’s to say what type of job that has to be? See, the implication of “keep your job” is don’t get clever, play it safe! But the truth is that if these so-called experts had played it safe themselves, they wouldn’t be in the position they’re in.

Alas, we all gotta start somewhere right? So, How's an Ogre gonna get ahead?

There’s been a preponderance of recent speculation about the real worth of a college degree. Many people nowadays, it seems, are questioning the idea of spending thousands of dollars and in a lot cases accumulating a great deal debt to do what has seemingly become an obligatory rite. For many if not all of today’s underwhelming academic performers college is a complete waste of time and money. And no one would argue that for other, more astute and cerebral types, college might still NOT be the way to go. That said, there is certainly a group of people for whom the right college is still an indispensible experience.The question I think we should be contemplating with our young Ogres and asking of ourselves is this: Which path would lead to our goals in the shortest amount of time with minimum expenditure? College? Military? Or straight to work?

This is a hard question and, in truth, the answer will be different for everyone.If your young Ogre wants to be a medical doctor, there’s only one path. Similarly, there are Ogres that grow up with a sense that they owe their country their service by serving our military, which is quite a noble thought. Still others join our Nation’s military because of the benefits (yes, there are some). These are hard choices and it’s up to us to educate our kids so they might make well-informed decisions. To that end, here are some general guidelines The Ogre would like to impart:

  1. Smart people who want to accomplish some specific aim should go to college. This is not meant to imply that people who don’t go to college are not smart. But the Ogre believes there are too many kids out there who are bankrupting themselves unnecessarily - or worse, their parents - just because it seems like the next logical step to take out of High School. If your ambition is to become an architect or a nurse, a veterinarian or a teacher, go to college. If you simply don’t know what you want to “be” in the way of an end goal, find a job (suitable to your liking, of course). While college can be fun and good times can be had, it is not a place to “find yourself” because you will bankrupt yourself in the process. In the end, ask yourself this fundamental question: Will this make me happy? Then think about the cost and the potential benefit but consider that you simply cannot place any substantive value on happiness and ultimate fulfillment. If being a teacher, lawyer, or architect is your thing, go do it.
  2. War is a business, like any other. And unlike many other businesses, war is hugely profitable and requires a large expenditure in the way of human resources/capital to keep the machine/business rolling. If you enter any military service be prepared to play the role of a pawn for as long as you serve. This is true at any rank (take it from a high ranking Ogre). Still, there can be a great deal learned and benefits earned by serving in the military in spite of what any contrarian might tell you. You can earn a substantial pension for one thing, but this requires a great deal of sacrifice over a twenty year period. The Ogre says if military service is a craving you simply can’t shake, join the Coast Guard, learn as much as you can, and get out in four years to pursue other endeavors content with both your service and what you’ve learned.
  3. In working any job for which you have no real passion, the real end goal should be to make (and keep) as much money as you possibly can. Benefits are nice too but financial compensation should always be your bottom line.
  4. In our Free Market economy, the goal of any of us as citizens should be to play the role of entrepreneur to the hilt! You are doing yourself and others around you a disservice by thinking small. If you have any idea, strive to develop it. It should be your ultimate goal to make money through serving others and taken a step further, our goal should really be to simultaneously maximize our profit and the value of the service we provide to our fellow man.
  5. If you want to try your hand at earning some cash from the comfort of your home, with a minimal investment in time and money, the internet is rife with opportunities - 50 percent of which, I would say are fruitless scams. Learn to develop a discerning eye. Of course, many claim to be legit and I don't doubt there are real chances to make money online (blogging is one of them); I just haven't tried many. Just doing a cursory check, I came across Legitonlinejobs.com . If anyone checks it out, please let me know how it goes.

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