Today at work, one of the VPs I haven’t seen in a long while stopped by to look out my window. Atlanta had some really bad storms move through and at the time she stopped, the glass building was being hammered with sideways rain. I work in a corner of the glass building, so I could see the rain coming straight at me from one side and to the other side, rain streaking past me. Kinda cool. It makes me really glad I got over my fear of storms.
So – back to the VP. We haven’t talked in quite a while and she was wondering if I was still in college. I had been going part time while I worked for her and she wanted to know if I had finished yet. I told her I made it a year and a half in before I quit. When she mentioned that was unfortunate, I said “besides, school bored the crap out of me!”
She laughed and mentioned that she never knew what was going to come out of my mouth. This is true – lots of people say that. The thing is, I never know what’s going to come out of my mouth either. But that’s another rabbit trail.
Honestly, I think school is a good idea, but I would have had to been in a much more advanced school than I was attending. In high school, I was the proverbial curve-buster. Until Calculus, I never even studied. It’s just that photographic memory thing and the OCD thing that make me really good at details as long as memorizing numbers or dates isn’t involved. If it’s literary, I’m going to remember it. That’s why I own every book I read – if I didn’t, the details would haunt me and I’d go nuts trying to find it so I could reread it.
Sometimes I think about going back to school – somewhere like Oglethorpe or GA Tech. My mom really wanted me to go to Brenau, but tuition there costs more than her house and I honestly have no desire to learn how to drink tea with snobs. I thought about going to the Art Institute of Atlanta, but when I told them my SAT scores, the guy just dropped his mouth open and stared at me. Obviously, they don’t have very brainy standards… my SAT scores are only on the higher side of average.
I don’t know… I did the math last week, and in the 6 years I’ve been with this company (since I was 19) and the increases in pay I’ve seen, I’ve actually profitted by not going to school. Here’s how I figure:
Student loans – I have none and none are accruing interest while I work my tail off to pay them.
I’m a home owner – I’ve owned my own home for 7 years, and the value has appreciated over $60,000. This would not have been possible had I not been working full time and when I finally got to the point of getting a job, I’d have too high of a debt to income ratio to get a good interest rate and the increase in values would have put most homes out of my price range.
Promotions and pay increases: Every year, I’ve seen a pay raise and I’ve been promoted twice since I’ve worked here. I make about the same thing my husband does, and he has a piece of paper saying he knows what he’s doing.
Taking all that into consideration, I’m pretty sure I’m coming out ahead. Also, my brain is not rotting from lack of use because I continually educate myself with books, problem-solving, and training. Just because I don’t have a formal education doesn’t mean that I’m not educated. Besides, I know how to best teach myself – I’ve been doing it for a long time. I just need to know what to learn next. Right now, I’m learning software integration with VBA. Next, who knows.
I told the person who interviewed me to come into the company “I can learn anything you can teach me” and it’s entirely true. I don’t know why they decided to take such a huge risk on a 19 year old with no corporate experience, but I think I’ve done good things while I’ve been here.
College. It would have probably bored me to a point of non-thinking and conformity before giving me a piece of paper and a job listing guide and shoving me into the real world unprepared for real world situations. There are things in corporate life that cannot be taught by schools – they are things that our parents were supposed to teach us and if we haven’t learned it by the time we graduate, we probably aren’t going to learn it in four years at school.
I’m not planning on conforming. I’ll do quite well without my piece of paper.