Here’s What to do if College Didn’t Work Out (My Honest Advice)
What do I do if college didn’t work out?
It’s probably within the top 5 questions I get from all of you.
But the thing that’s surprising is that it’s not just people that have gone to college and can’t find a job. I also get DM’s and emails, quite regularly, from people who’ve went great lengths to graduate from top tiered universities but are feeling miserable and burnt out from their 9-5 grind and feeling like they’re stuck in a never-ending rat race. With no end in sight. It’s depressing for me even just to think about and hear this on a regular basis.
And I feel for people like this, I really do, because I’ve been there and done that myself.
Most of you know that I’ve been in the corporate grind as well
I started in the warehouse after going to college and getting a business degree. I had a bachelors of science in Business Administration (emphasis in Management) and I was working in a warehouse! Talk about humbling. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking down on jobs like this. It’s just that usually, you expect to get a higher paying job if you went to a 4-year university with a fairly solid degree. Not end up with a job that doesn’t require any schooling, making $12 an hour (this is a really low wage living in Southern California).
This was right around the time when we had the 2008 great recession and so all the companies were doing a hiring freeze. I had a job at Samsung lined up over at their Irvine, CA office but that fell through due to the financial crisis. It sucked big time. And it also took me 6 months to get this warehouse job. It doesn’t help that I was getting depressed so I was playing World of Warcraft 10 hours a day or more to drown out my sorrows and pains of having to face real life.
But once I got the job, I found my drive again and grinded hard. I worked my way up to become a VP around age 28. My official title was Vice President, Procurement. And I think I was 28 at the time I reached the top levels of this company. I was thankful and I felt blessed. But I couldn’t get over the feeling that it just all felt wrong and I was getting severely burnt out.
Like many of you, I was getting tired of the 9-5 grind because it seemed endless
Not only did I wake up at 5am and leave the office sometimes around 6-7 pm. I was working on the side as a personal trainer as well in the evenings and on the weekends so I was regularly working 80+ hour weeks.
At a certain point, I realized what I’ve been thinking all along. It’s not just about making good money, it’s about earning while also making sure you make enough free time to enjoy it. If you don’t, then what’s the point? Work yourself into an early grave? I was feeling depressed, anxious, and stressed. And I felt like this every single day! I didn’t have any time to unwind or play with my son or spend time with my wife.
An issue of Consumer Reports: “I kind of ruined my life by going to college”
I ran across this issue of Consumers Report magazine, with this quote on the cover (see above, main photo of this blog post). We have 42 million people with $1.3 trillion in student debt. Wow. This isn’t just a common problem. It’s a pandemic here in the United States.
Doesn’t this give you pause? It really makes you wonder doesn’t it? Why go into all that debt just to end up exactly where you were before you went into all that debt, and wasting many years in the prime of your life. You end up exactly where you were: with no guarantee of a brighter future. It sounds almost comical if it wasn’t so depressing.
Here is my advice to you if you’re in this boat: first, stop getting additional schooling
It’s staggering the amount of people I come across that think that more schooling is the answer. Look, I get it. You feel like you need to have more of an advanced education to level the playing field in the job market. But here’s the fact: everyone else is thinking the same thing!
What does that mean then? It means you’re not unique and special for having that advanced degree. You’re back to being like everyone else. And the only thing common that you’ll get out of it, is just more debt. Plain and simple.
Second, find your passion (yeah that sounds romanticized and all but hear me out)
Here’s another one that blows my mind. There are so many people (the far majority I think) that are in their twenties and thirties that haven’t yet found their passion and their still grinding away at their 9-5 jobs. I understand this situation as well because it took me until I was age 30 to find my passion in blogging.
Look, I’m telling you now so don’t look back on this and regret everything when you’re 100 years old lying on your death bed with nothing to show for it. Why do anything if you don’t enjoy it? What’s the point? Do you want to be a zombie and just drudge through your life just to be able to pay the bills and then die? It’s so wrong. And so broken.
Lastly, leverage social media and the internet to monetize your passion
I 100% believe that this is the best time in human history.
Let’s not go into politics or the scare of nuclear missiles or anything like that. I’m talking strictly about where we are from a technological standpoint. The past 5 years has been the first time ever in human history where a person could finally make money doing what they truly enjoy, thanks to the rise in social media.
We will have 3 billion people on the internet through the year 2020. This means we don’t even have half the people online yet. That’s crazy! If you can just reach 0.001% of this, doing whatever you like, you can make a living! Blogging is not saturated!
Conclusion and Take-Aways
- I know it’s depressing, but you’re not alone. Because 42 million people owe $1.3 trillion in college debt. Not only that, the people who have graduated and working at decent jobs are feeling burnt out and tired of the 9-5 grind. It’s in the top 5 questions and concerns I get on my DM’s on Instagram. You’re not alone in this so don’t beat yourself up.
- I’ve been in the same boat so I can relate. I immigrated here to the United States in 2004 with only $500 in my pocket; worked in the warehouse after college and worked my way up to Senior Management but worked 80+ hours a week working multiple jobs. I did this for 9 years. The 9-5 hellish grind. I hated getting up to go to work, I literally dragged myself out of bed most days just dreading heading into the office and looked forward to the weekends. What a wrong way to live. That’s a broken existence.
- Advice #1: stop it with thinking that more schooling is the answer because it isn’t. This is madness! You don’t have to take my word for it if you don’t want to because it’ll eventually bonk you on the head you if you disregard this advice. It might take 10-20 years, but you’ll eventually find out that it was all in vain. You could’ve saved so much time and effort only if you’ve listened sooner! You could’ve made enough money doing what you love! That’s life I guess. You live and you learn. But sometimes it’s just too late.
- Advice #2: find your passion. Don’t be in your twenties or thirties without knowing what your passion is (don’t be like me, slaving away working multiple jobs and finally finding out my passion at age 30). Life isn’t worth living if you’re living just to pay the bills. That’s a severely broken life. Why live like that? If you’re not sure how to find your passion, stay tuned in to my blog, because I’ll talk about how to find your passion in a later blog post if I get enough interest. Let me know in the comments below if you want something like this.
- Advice #3: leverage social media and an online presence (i.e. blog or vlog) to monetize your passion. Seriously, I’m telling you that it’s the first time in human history where the term “starving musician” is no longer relevant. I recently came across a YouTube channel where some kid has 1.5 million subscribers and all he does is talk about his ant farm. Yeah, really. I don’t know a single person that’s into ants. And yet, this guy has 1.5 million subscribers and he’s making a living talking about his ants. And it’s not only video blogging that is a way to make a living. There are still a ton of people that enjoy reading! Don’t believe the pessimism and the unfounded belief that only video and podcasts are doing well. There’s too much opportunity right now, and pent up demand online for content surrounding all types of subjects and topics. Keep in mind a lot of people can read articles at their cubicle desks at work, but not be able to watch videos or listen to podcasts with earphones on. Trust me, I see this all the time.
- Lastly, and this is super important: if you’re not going to start now and give yourself a ton of excuses, that’s your choice to make. But there’s no good reason for you to not try. Because you have no valid reason to keep living as you are without trying something different. Your life will remain the same. And most likely, you’re underestimating the sheer number of people online. You need just reach 0.001% of them to make a good living via online income streams doing what you enjoy. And to add to this is the truth that blogs and vlogs are not saturated. Because according to research done by Google, less than half the world population has internet through the year 2020. There’s so much demand for content in all aspects of life and all types of hobbies (like worm farming for example, lol), and too few people creating the content.
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