Thursday, March 11, 2004

Commentary
By Salvador Gabor


"Book Smarts"

How much is book smarts really worth nowadays? Just to take a piece from Reggie's article yesterday..........to realize the value of an education, dont ask the girl who got a 4-year degree and is now a receptionist. It's weird how the cards fall. You go to college. You get good grades while you are in college. You are recruited by major corporations because of your performance while in college. A company hires you and gives you a signing bonus. ALL of this only to let you go 6 months later with a severance package because some lying accountant in the company took money and the value of the whole company plummets, leaving you in the cold. Its crazy when you get a degree in something like Sociology and you get out in the world and for some reason websites like Monster.com and USAJobs.com are looking for sociologists??? Go figure. But what leads people to disasters like this?

The biggest misconception is that "this field pays big money"! First off let me say that NO amount of money can make you happy. I couldnt be a mortician or a caretaker of a dead body. Its just not in me. Money pays bills but if you dont want to wake up and go to that job, the money will soon lose its value. But beyond the money aspect, picking a field because that field is considered to be good is a major misconception. 9 times out of 10, the major fields will be flooded with people JUST like you or better than you at what it is you have learned in that field. If everyone has a degree dealing with Computers, its gonna be much harder for you to get a job dealing with computers. Go with what you really enjoy. Even if its basketweaving, SO WHAT! If you love basketweaving, you will work to become the BEST basketweaver because you enjoy doing it. Yeah every basketweaver doesnt become a millionaire but if you like it THAT much you can be the next Martha Stewart............well........ you wouldnt wanna be exactly like her.

Your life as an adult starts much earlier than you think. Most of us get dropped off at college at the age of 18 and your parent say "I'll be back to pick you up in about 4 years". We go and unpack our bags and we register. We pick any ole major because thats just how we felt on the day of registration. In my own example, I was stuck between Marketing and Accounting. I ended up picking Accounting because I felt that with Marketing, sometimes you had to "lie" to consumers and I wasn't down with that. Me not knowing any better, I felt I was doing the "right" thing. Almost 7 years later now I know that with Marketing/Advertising you dont have to lie. Actually the creativity that we display on this site can be accredited to our keen sense of Marketing and knowing what drives people. What makes them tick. What stands out to a person. And most importantly, what they want and how they feel. Im not saying that Accounting aint for me at all. If I have to have an "office job", this is what I want to do. But there is a creative side of me that wants to make commercials, do a movie or turn this site into a magazine. Its a shame we have to choose our lives at 18. Who knows what would have happened had I not scratched out Marketing on my registration card?????

Is college really the promise land? Sometimes I challenge that theory. You know about 10 years ago, I began to hear alot of the old folks say "Son go to college and get an education, without that degree you cant get no job!". 10 years later many of us have these degrees and dont have jobs or we have under-paying jobs???? What's funny is that when that old-timer tells you that, for some strange reason I believe you werent the ONLY person he told that too. Someone else heard that speech as well and they definitely hopped on that word of advice. Now EVERYONE is in or has went to college. And what does this mean for our world? College is like a machine. We are the product. It's an assembly line process. Every year Hundreds of Thousands of Kids get degrees and they all are going for the same job. SO I wonder, will there be a point where there are just NOT enough "office jobs"? The point has already come where your Bachelor's Degree has lost valued. Now you need a Ph.D to get a regular "office job". But really, for those of you not making alot of money at your job after going to college, ask yourself a question. What if you just worked from 18-22? Lets say as an electrician? You saved your doe and invested it right? Buy the time you are 23-25, you could be well on your way to having your own electrical company. Although it may be small, its YOURS. Its an accomplishment. At 25 you could be established, whereas now at 25 most of us college grads are still lost. Its just a thought. I've seen many people make it without degrees. You can make $75K- $100K cutting hair for a living. Its POSSIBLE. College is for people who either dont know what they want to do or need a 4-year certification in order to complete the requirements for their field. If you really want to be an electrician, take the 6 month course and get it in. You save 3 and 1/2 years and about $55,000 in the process. Many of us go to college because we want to impress others. I had a female once tell me........."I want a man who has a 'professional' job. So when we go to Black Tie Affairs, he's not saying 'I cut hair for a living' or 'I pick up trash for a living' ". What's so crazy is that she was adamant about that!! But i'd rather smell like boneless fish from picking up trash all day with $100,000 in my bank account than have some tie and tight slacks on with no ink to spare. All I'm saying is know your options.


Life is about exposure. Just to take you guys back to an example of my own. I loved Accounting. I loved it when I was young because I was good with numbers. I remember having a project in the 6th grade and my teacher gave us like $3,000 to work with in order to get on our feet as adults. She gave us newspapers and magazines to order furniture, computer equipment or whatever we felt we needed from the beginning. Me being the "nigga" that I am, I spent my whole 3 G's on suits. In my mind I was like "This is how I need to start off!". But seriously, my mindset was that way because when I saw Accountants, I saw nice suits. I saw a person that people trust their money with. I saw a person who controls the lives of many people. I wanted to be that person. I took Accounting classes in High School and aced them. It just got to a point in my grade school career that Business oriented classes were all that I was exposed to. I wonder sometimes, "What if I knew what engineers did back then?". "I never knew you could do this or that with Architecture?". The point being, if you are a parent, what is your child being exposed to? Most kids wanna be police officers, athletes and doctors because growing up leads you to see those occupations the most. Dont ask your kid what he or she wants to be, take them out to different places and let them SEE what it is they want to be. If you pay attention to your child (as you should be), what they are best at will come out. What they like and tend to do better in will come out. Writing and humor has been in my blood since I was young. I always wrote and I always like to laugh and joke. I just never had someone tell me that I could make a living from it. Dont let your kid grow up saying "If I had known?" And more importantly, dont let your kid grow up to say "Welcome to Days Inn" after you spent $60,000 on a Business Management degree.