The best way to become attractive to women is to become an attractive man. Durr. However, this little detail gets swept under the rug daily. The primary focus, then, should be on continuous self improvement. However, just like wealth generation is largely a product of minimizing expenses, becoming alpha is largely a product of minimizing
poor life choices wastes of time and money.
One such choice that’s becoming more prevalent is the professional student. Women are guilty of this a lot more, but they have an excuse: they’re searching for hubby. Most women don’t really care to work. They want a man to pay their way, maybe have some fun BS job on the side, possibly raise kids, and generally live a life of leisure. In fact, most women I’ve met who ‘accidentally’ got knocked up admitted to changing their mind about a professional career. You just can’t fuck with biology.
Increasingly however, men are spending more time in school or going back for further education. How many grad students does the world really need? Not many. While certain professions require extensive degrees (surgeons for example), most don’t. I spent 6 years (1 year too many, but I had fun) in college getting a degree in a solid field, but one that I don’t care for after a few years on the job. In retrospect, every successful financial endeavor I’ve undertaken has required minimal schooling. Maybe I’m an autodidact, or maybe there’s such a wealth of knowledge out there that with a little brain and a lot of hustle you don’t need it in the first place. Some of the most in-demand fields – like software development – value experience and skill well above a piece of paper.
The entire education system is a giant scam, but that’s not what this post is about. Whether you’re thinking about university, getting a higher degree, or going back, consider the following:
- Majority of students move back home. Schools are cash cows and grossly overpopulated. Demand for jobs is much lower than the yearly supply of pointless degrees. Few students get internships, fewer still get paid internships, and even less have offers lined up by graduation. As a result, most come home after years of marginally useful ‘training’ to find themselves no better off than high school. Except there’s that piece of paper that’s supposed to magically make you dreams come true.
- Majority of students have huge loans that take years (decades?) to pay off. The dirty little secret schools don’t tell you about those 6 figure professions is the high 6 figure loan you’re likely to inherit before walking down the aisle. High income is pointless when coupled with high expenses. Colleges don’t give a shit about you earning money and getting your piece of the pie. They’ll dangle the carrot as long as you keep chasing it with credit. Most loans exceed the final cost of a house.
- Majority of students don’t have a career in their field of study. To really pour salt on the wound, upon graduation most students don’t even like what they went to school for in the first place. With a near total lack of real life experience in the field, it can be a huge shock to find out how much you despise something you spent years learning about. So now you’ve wasted half a decade, possibly a lifetime of savings, and you don’t even enjoy what you applied for.
- People go back to school out of fear of the real world. Often, once the supersaturated graduating class sees the complete lack of employment opportunities, they believe that more schooling is the solution. A few more years and suffixes after your name must be what employers are looking for. But really it’s just hiding from fear of the real world. By late 20′s those in school still have no idea how to make it ‘out there’, practically. By the time they finally get a job, people throughout most of human history would have already died.
- Less time to explore, try, and figure out your passion. Unfortunately, there’s no catch-all to find your calling. You have to experiment and be unafraid to let go and try something new, but it’s a young man’s game and the clock is ticking. Much like discovering your demeanor, finding what you like is often a process of elimination. In other words, you arrive at your passion by trying a bunch of stuff you hate first. Of course, some are lucky enough to know exactly what they want early on, but the rest of us mortals have soul searching ahead.
- Less time to earn money and build wealth. Compound interest, compound interest, compound interest. A decade or two of not putting away money regularly – even if it’s just $100 a paycheck – is the difference between early retirement and working at Walmart. Hindsight’s a bitch; if I had known I’d want nothing to do with my degree and simply chose to work in a few lucrative, low entry cost fields instead (which I have since), I’d be sitting on a mid 6 figure nest egg. But I was younger and dumber.
- Sometimes it is too late. One of the most delusional sayings is ‘it’s never too late’, often uttered by those in the opposite predicament. ‘Better now than later’ is more fitting. ‘Better never, you missed the train’ is the most fitting. If you spend over a decade in higher education for anything less than a high income profession, or choose to abandon said profession, statistically – unless you have an exceptional windfall of sorts – a cozy existence marked by financial freedom is not in the books for you. At best, you have a lot of catching up to do.
Where Do You Fit In?
I urge you to think long and hard about your trajectory depending on where you fit in:
If you’re in school and like what you do, finish up your degree as quickly as possible and get the hell out. Start applying for work today. If you don’t like your degree, take a month or two and do nothing but think about what you want. Mindlessly going through the motions is a terrible fate.
If you’re not yet in school, a couple months (or more) of introspection will do you good. Those loans are carefully hidden until it’s time to pay the piper. If you don’t have a clear idea of your vocation, don’t go until you do. Take the time and explore the possibilities.
If you’re thinking about going back to school, you better have a stellar reason. If your job wants to promote you and will pay for your MBA at night, that’s good enough. But if you’re going back because you couldn’t land a gig right away, you’re just screwing yourself harder.
Ultimately, the path to success is littered with mistakes, but if you make too many big ones, it could just be impossible to get what you truly want. Think before you act.