Before my laptop crashed, I had a list of people who made it without college degrees. I wasn’t talking about people who dropped out of Ivy League schools. People always want to point to Mark Zuckerberg and say, “See you don’t need a degree to succeed.” My reply, “Aight bet, just get into an Ivy League school before you make that decision though.” I’m talking about good and regular citizens like me and you who may or may not have a degree but we make due anyway.
I thought about this because as Black people we always stress the need for higher education. I think that it’s important that you tell the youth to reach for the stars and so I don’t think it’s wise to tell a 10 year old, “You don’t have to go to school, you can do good all by yourself.” That’s not the right type of motivation that the youth needs. However, I do think that we shouldn’t think of someone as a failure or having a ceiling just because they don’t have a degree. My family is very successful, but my grandfather didn’t go to college, he actually dropped out of high school and ran away from home in South Carolina and he did what all of us do, “he made some sh*t happen.” My grandfather hustled numbers until he had a family and then he settled into a fulltime gig at Sterling Dry Cleaners for 30 years until his retirement. My grandfather got me to thinking though, how necessary is the degree. Check me out.
Despite popular belief the military is a great option – Here’s what I don’t like about the military: they put guns in the hands of young Black men and tell them to go kill their own people. Here’s what I like about the military: they educate men and women with state of the art technology and they also teach a sense of discipline and maturity that is ions ahead of what happens at four year institutions in America. You can go into the military, serve your country and you will exit the military either through discharge or retirement and have access to some of the best things in America. I know a dude who retired as a Lt. Colonel and came into my firm and make 200K. When you ask him about his degree, he doesn’t know what that means, but he oversaw over 10,000 troops in Iraq. I don’t care what you say, you can have six degrees from Harvard, that ain’t got nothing on being in charge of 10,000 men and women’s lives in a time of war.
If you go to work everyday and you work hard, you will be rewarded – Like my grandfather, if you go to work everyday and work hard, everything will work out for you. It’s real men out here right now without degrees who do what they have to do to provide for them and theirs. They should be applauded. You ain’t got to put on a shirt and tie to bring home a paycheck, legally. If you are a contractor for FedEx, be the best at what you do; pass all your drug tests and show up on time. You never know, one day that may turn into your own business and Kobe Bryant from the Lakers. Now that’s paper!
A Good Government Job, is still a good Government Job – My boy told me he couldn’t date a chick who didn’t go to college. She was a DC slim with hazel eyes, and I said, “Dog you just not from here, she probably doing alright for herself.” If you not from DC, I’ll have to explain this later but, YOU AIN’T GOT TO GO TO COLLEGE TO MAKE GS-13. All them position descriptions say, “or equivalent experience.” A lot of females grow up and they know they need to get out the house as soon as possible, they graduate high school and go in the government. You put your time in the government and you can retire. If you are motivated you can turn a GS-3, into a 5, into a 7/9, into a 9/11/12 and then be on your way in no time. (All that is are the GS schedules and the way the positions are in the government. The Federal government is just set up in a way that you can keep moving up without a degree.) My whole point was this, how can you judge a chick for not having a degree when she got more money than you? (Sidenote: Being from here, I got too many family members in the government to ever take shots at that life, keep this in mind during the comments.)
Trade school is a good look these days – You know how much plumbers make? $80 an hour. Yep, and I’m not talking about that guy who comes over your house and pays you in yards. I’m talking about the dude who unclogs your drains because you don’t know how to put your hair in the trash can. You go to trade school and you can be making $80/hour for life. That’s a skill that they can’t take from you. Because of the decrease of men becoming plumbers, their rates are going up and so is their business. You know how much the person who operates a crane on a construction site makes? They make a bill an hour. You know how much a consultant makes? On average, about $30-35 an hour. Think about that.
I’m just not the social type and campus life is crazy – One of my boys raps, y’all know him, but I won’t shout him out. He was my roommate freshman year in college, he only lasted two weeks. He couldn’t deal with campus life. It wasn’t like he was partying or banging everything that walked, he was just not into it and it depressed him, so he dropped out. He got himself in a good position once he left college and he started dropping these weird mixtapes and hanging around artists. He’s making paper now. The only reason I bring this up is because there are some people who just ain’t made for college campuses. We force their hand by dragging them there. They don’t do well, they may graduate, but just barely. Those people would be better served if no one forced them to college, but instead taught them some other routes that they could go.
What do you guys think though? Is it important that we present these other options to our youth? Do we stop stratifying ourselves with our degrees? What’s the difference between paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to market yourself, or just finding it out yourself? What’s the difference between a hustler and a professional? What you think?