I have posted on the topic of college education a couple of times. I happen to live in a town that got its start as a factory town and which has remained as such, to some extent, even today, as far as the economic base of it. The working class and blue-collar nature of most of the folks in my immediate surroundings, has afforded these folks the basics and then some. It has not allowed them to trade up to the McMansion, therefore most of the homes in this area have not depreciated quite as much as others in more “affluent” areas, simply because their value was not over-inflated to begin with (unless it was for the purpose of banks offering what amounted to essentially unsecured lines/loans of equity).
We keep reading about the massive wealth reduction that is coming. (The “super-rich will lose up to 50% of their net worth” so the stories say). But let’s get some perspective on this. If you don’t have millions, and have learned how to live on oh-so-much less, this is not going to effect you the same way it will affect the Warren Buffet, Donald Trump types. I’m not saying that we down at the bottom of the food chain aren’t going to feel it. But we will have the advantage of already knowing how to make do. So many things in our world have ballooned to grotesque and ludicrous proportions. One would be hard-pressed to look around and find much of anything that is reasonable anymore. And the premium placed on “higher education”, in my opinion, is one of the things that has become overly exaggerated, (to say nothing of the price) Again, I am not against education. I am only against the version of it that has been packaged and sold to young people in this country for several decades. It is an inferior product and yet the establishment has created a false “rarity” or value by repeatedly raising the cost. I graduated from High School 30 years ago and here in the U.S. the cost of college tuition has quadrupled since then. There are many ways to get an education. And though a degree does sometimes lead to a higher salary, it does not gaurantee it “right out of the starting gate”. Especially now, in this economy. The entry-level plaing field has become, well, more “level”. So who is going to be ahead in 15 years? The guy who started without $50k-$100k in student loans, or the guy who started out getting to keep what is left of his paycheck after Uncle Sam gets his cut (which is also unreasonable, but thats a topic for another post).
Too many waitresses and line cooks are paying huge monthly student loan payments for 4 year (or greater) degrees in specialized fields in which no jobs are availabe. Many financial forecasters began predicting 12 or more months ago, that the student loan “bubble” will be the next to burst.
At one time owning a home was the best and most important investment for families starting out. It was gauranteed equity. Now that equity has been eaten up. And just as Americans have had to change their thinking about that particular investment, these times may call for young people, and parents of young people, to change their thinking about the best route to career training and proficiency, and what the demands will be, down the road. I realize what follows in this post is essentially an advertisement. Still, in the interest of high school graduates knowing their options, I like to pass along things like this when I run across them:
Five Unconventional Careers You Can Prepare for in the Army National Guard
Let’s face it, not everyone is cut out for business, sales, or high finance. Not all of us are wired to learn a trade. Some of us balk at being a restaurateur, retail manager, or copier repair professional. All honorable pursuits, certainly. Especially if it helps pay the bills. But what if the call of the unconventional beckons?
If your requirements for personal fulfillment are just a little different, look into training programs for these exciting careers available with the help of the National Guard:
- The Rocket’s Red Glare – Our nation loves fireworks. They’re used everywhere from sporting events to every Independence Day celebration from sea to shining sea. But let’s not forget: Fireworks are explosive devices that require proper care, handling, storage, transport, and discharge. These are skills attainable in several National Guard specialties, such as Fire Support Specialist, Transportation Management Coordinator, and Ammunition Stock Control Specialist.
- Bring Down the House – We’ve all seen footage of a controlled implosion of a building or bridge. While it might not be obvious, this is the result of many hours of planning and knowledge that allows this to happen safely. The Guard takes great pride in training demolition experts in the proper, safe, and controlled use of explosives. Learn more about the engineering specialties available in the Guard.
- Lower the Boom – In the movies, this is usually referred to as the bomb squad. Learn how to disarm explosives and offer your services to law enforcement agencies at the Federal, State, and local levels. Ask your National Guard Recruiter about the Combat Engineer specialty.
- Below the Surface – There’s an underwater world of opportunity with a SCUBA certification that you could get in the Guard. You could always become an instructor or work as a guide for tourist excursions in tropical locales. But everyone does that. In the Guard, you could earn your SCUBA certification and also get training in underwater construction or demolitions. How cool is that? Ask your National Guard Recruiter about opportunities as a diver in MOS 12D.
- Security Specialist for the Stars – You’ve probably seen it on TV or in the movies when some celebrity, business icon, or diplomat has a personal security detail making sure they get through a throng of reporters to their limousine. In real life, this requires more than a brusque attitude and big muscles. It requires the kind of knowledge and training provided in military specialties, such as infantry, military police, and even logistics.
What it comes down to is this: Consider what kind of job you really want. Perhaps it is in a traditional field (the Guard can help with that, too). But if what really floats your boat is the unconventional, check out jobs.nationalguard.com and contact your Army National Guard Recruiter today to get the training you need to pursue the career path less traveled.
My previous posts on education and career paths: