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Advisor

Are you trained....

...to do what you do for a living? 

I'm watching Suze Orman on the DVR while catching alarm calls this morning..  Right now, she's listening to one caller who's asking about going back to college so she can change careers.  This young woman has a law degree, and a master's and now wants a master's in fine arts...but is currently unemployed.  (?!?)

Suze has freaked out over her existing $180K of student loan debt, and a projected additional $70K for the third advanced degree.  I find myself thinking that hardly anyone I know is actually doing what they are trained to do. 

I know a few of us have probably gotten training and even degrees early on in life, that just did not fit or turned out not to be a passion to follow for a lifetime.   Guilty.  In my case, it did not seem fair to subject students to a teacher who really didn't want to be stuck indoors in a classroom all day every day. 

Some may have earned degrees along the way, that turned out to be necessary to advance on a chosen professsional path.  That has always made sense to me.

Others have trained in new jobs that didn't even exist when we graduated from high school, eons ago.   Wind farms, anything computer-related, even daycare was not really a commercial enterprise when I was a young adult. 

A lot of jobs that did exist then aren't really out there anymore, too.  Are there even any real telephone operators anywhere today? 

Scads of things that humans used to do are simply handled by computers now.  What used to be durable goods are more easily replaced than repaired today.  How long has it been since you called in a TV repairman, for instance?

When I look at our kids: one does what he was trained to do, one does not do what she was trained to do, and one is in the business with us and business for herself, basically doing what she absorbed coming along or taught herself later on.  Frankly, the more we spent on education, the less is it being "used." 

I am consoled by the fact that we didn't go into debt to school any of them.  At least what they earn is not encumbered. 

When I see the student loan balances some people are carrying around, I do not see how they ever thought the career the degree was preparing them for would ever pay it all back.  If they find out, as I did, that the job they trained for is not the right match, then the problem can be magnified or even multiplied, if they go back for more degrees. 

i know some of you have children much younger than mine.  Maybe they know without any doubt what they want to do, have always dreamed of doing that job for a lviving, and will passionately enjoy their career.  Looking around here, and virtually all the people I know, I just don't see it happening. 

By contrast, what I do for a living is about as far from my formal training as it could possibly be.  I've picked up classes and enjoyed parts of programs here and there.  We both have licensing and permitting requirements for our farming business, and there are CEUs for them; but, I never had a single credit in business management or even home economics. 

I wonder sometimes how much better I might do what I do if I'd actually been taught to do it.

So, just curious: Are you trained to do what you do, trained to do something else, or, like me, just figuring it out as you wander along through life? 

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9 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Are you trained....

Maybe you don't realize it, but you were trained to do what you are doing well. It's call life experience and it has a greater influence than college courses. Even the college experience taught you how to manage time, maintain motivation, and develop business relationships.

I think most people that think they know what the career will be should go to a community college. There, they can get hands on experience without the cost of a bachelor's degree.  The basic courses that everyone at a university has to take simply take up time for interships or job experiences. If you're are required to take them in high school just to be accepted to a college, why take them again? I know several people that went to community colleges have better paying jobs because they had more job knowledge than a 4 year college graduate. A BS or BA degree may look better on a resume, but without the knowledge that an AAS degree, you may not have that job for long.

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Advisor

Re: Are you trained....

Completely agree...unless you are heading to be a doctor or veterinarian, community college seems to be a great bargain in career prep to me.  The kid with a one-year skills certificate porgram that cost 5-10% of his sister's $100K four-year degree can charge 2-3 times per hour what she is earning on salary. 

I think parents and kids have been sold a bill of goods, when it comes to a return for the investment in a degree, especially at a private college or university.  We have actually discussed a career-change community college program for the one with the high-priced degree. 

As for my training, maybe learning to keep records and organize a classroom did in ways prepare me for running a business.  I can say that studying developmental psych and teaching methods got me through some of the perils of parenting.  I can pretty much explain just about anything to just about anybody, and probably some of that harls back to studying different modalities. 

Maybe it wasn't all a waste, after all. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Are you trained....

Well,   We are trained.  Both of us have Agriculture Degrees from western Illinois University.    Granted I learned no computer skills there.    Neither of us had college loans.   I paid for all of the first 1 1/2 years from my 4-H projects.   My parents paid most of the next 3 years.   Plus,  I supplemented by working at home.    DH  had savings and worked on home farm.

 

Our kids are trained in what they have degrees in.  DD has a masters in Swine Management and that is exactly what she does with a little Agriculture communications thrown in.   DS  has bachelor's in Ag. Business and is a DSM  for a seed company.   He interned with Monsanto,  Agrigold and Pioneer while in college.   Neither child had any debt.  DD was savings and scholarships.   DS had savings and had paid internships.    We supplemented their savings by not charging them feed bills for their 4-H projects so they had lots of profit to put in savings. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Are you trained....

Even if you want to be a doctor or veterinarian, you should go to a community college that has medical programs. If for no other reason, you will know whether you can handle the work or not. Some don't do well with blood or needles or animals in pain. At least if a major is changed, it won't cost as much as if you had gone through 4 years of college and then had a change of mind.

I used savings from FFA projects and scholarships to get through college. Parents didn't have the means to help out. Would hate to be paying on student loans with this economy.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Are you trained....

I went to a community college for Ag Business with a swine minor.  I raised pigs on my dad's farm for 4 or 5 years.  After that I worked in a factory for 8 years.  I got my Ag Business job working at that same college I went to! My office is actually where the student lounge was.  I would say I use my Ag Business degree in our farming operations every day.  And I did take some beef classes along with the swine classes and I beleive they helped me out alot.  My daughter is just finishing up her BA in Animal Science and I am not really sure she will find a job in Animal Science. I don't feel she got the hands on experience that the students at the community college get. Almost wish she would take some more classes at the community college.  I would say 50% of the community college students go home to farm, and 25% go on to a 4 year degree.  The other 25% get jobs in the industry.  Our bulletin board is full of jobs in Agri-Business although alot of them are start at the bottom custom applicators or seed counters. 

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Advisor

Re: Are you trained....

I was granted an internship in my profession at age 5.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Are you trained....

I went to college to be a teacher, but instead married a farmer and decided to stay home. In 1985 I went to work about 9 miles from the farm, worked my way up the corporate ladder, and was the last one to leave when the facility shut down. I actually locked the gate. I did not have a degree, but a great boss and I learned as I went. My daughters both have a degree in what they do, and love their jobs. My DH has farmed his 55 years, no degree, just learning more every day. I really think that farmers have to be so rounded in everything to keep up with everything they are faced with. I know so many young people that attend college, get a degree and then go back. I am just fortunate that my girls knew what they wanted. I did read an article the other day that said most adults need at least 3 degrees in this time to survive. I really don't understand why so many. Anyway to answer your question, I never did see myself on a farm, but the guy on the tractor was irresistible 35 years ago Smiley Happy

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Are you trained....

Yes I am and I love it.  I didn't go for money though I went for something I was interested in and figured I would enjoy.  I've found those that go after the high paying careers are more then likely the most unsatisfied in their choices.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Are you trained....

I took dance all my life & graduated from Chicago Nat. Dance Masters program along with yearly conventions for updates.

As far as the dairy-no training other than from DH and the deluge of information you can muster from the experts at the university, etc.

DS#1 is using his degree from Western University.  Majored in law enforcement & a minor in ag science.  A good match for a game warden/investigator.  He joined the national guard, which at that time was a pretty safe bet for college tuition & worked during the summer at various jobs such as construction, local meat locker.  I think at that time the guard was a real good way to promote maturity & self reliance.  We helped out as needed but he paid for most of the extras.  His wife is a nurse & just paid off her student loans not long ago.

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