1. For the past 9 months I have been spending a great amount of time trying to find a new job. My previous job with a mortgage company went down the drain when the housing crisis started to show its face. I saw it coming and knew it was just a matter of time before I was going to be shown the door. It was not because of a lack of effort. I had been promoted faster than anybody on my team and was a consistent closer. It was mainly because I could not talk clients into refinancing their already great 30 year fixed rate mortgage into a new loan just because it saved them $70 a month on their bills. I knew it did not make sense to spend another $4k in closing costs so I would tell them that. I would tell them to not go out every weekend or to start riding their bike to work. Those two things alone would save them over $70 a month. Leadership at the company does not like when you talk people out of a sale.
2. Unfortunately the economy is not doing so hot right now. There are very few companies that are hiring anybody right now. The same reasons why nobody will hire me from 9 months ago are still true. Determined to find a way to get back to work I continue to send out resumes. Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com must be amazed by how many resumes I send out. The whole networking thing is not going so well either. My friends and family for the most part all work in or for the automotive industry. As most of us know the auto industry is tanking right now. Friends of mine would love to help me out but many are concerned about their own jobs.
3. The same question keeps on popping into my head. Should I keep grinding out the job search to hopefully find something that I am qualified in or start looking else where. Well, the jobs I am qualified for are going bye-bye. The finance sector will go back to (hopefully) what it was prior 2001. The only jobs I see posted are for insurance companies and if I want to take another stab at being a mortgage banker. No thanks to either of those. Not a fan of insurance and why would I want to go back to writing mortgages? I can not think of one reason why I would want to.
4. So I had this bright idea of going back to college. Going to college is always a smart play, right? I mean, we are all told that going to college is what every body should do. A college degree opens up the doors to you that much more. Well, it doesn’t. At least in a cost-benefit analysis. I am not going to knock the years I spent at Central Michigan University. I learned a great deal about life and furthered my education. Luckily for me I am part of the 1/3rd of the 1/4th of Americans that go to college that graduate with no student loans. Thanks mom and dad. Its amazing what putting $125 a month away in a mutual fund over 18 years can do for your kid. This fresh start into life has made it easier for me to do things because I am not weighed down by student loans.
5. Keeping up with the times it seems very clear that the jobs of the future are going to be skill related. The first new career I looked into was being a pilot. Something about flying a jet really intrigued me. Doing some research I read that Senior Pilots at Northwest can make up to $193k a year after 12 years. It sounded like the right choice. My parents were in the Air National Guard for over 20 years and I have always been fascinated by airplanes. So then I started finding out what I needed to do to get my pilots license and ratings. Needless to say that I was shocked. One flight school was charging $60k (including housing) for 90 days of training. This was a low ball estimate as you do not get all of your training. I went and met with a recruiter from the flight school near me and was told that it would be around $80k. I started doing the math in my head and was looking at 20 year payments on student loans to be around $800 a month with interest. Not bad if I am making over $100k a year. Not so fast. More research went to show me that most pilots would get hired by a regional airline and start out making $20k a year and after 10 years hopefully be making $60k. How would I be able to pay back the student loan, pay rent, buy food, gas, etc. The answer is that I wouldn’t be able to. Plus with the airline industry not doing so hot because of rising fuel prices there are so many current pilots that are furloughed. I read one article from 2004 talking about a Captain who was making $190k a year and had to take a pay cut to $128k a year. The reason is because if he and other pilots did not the company would go bankrupt. He also said that some 7,000 applicants applied for 15 positions. All were qualified but they could only hire 15. This tells me that if this was 4 years ago and things have gotten worse that being a Pilot is not a good career choice. Too many people in front of me that need to pay down their student loans in an industry that is shrinking.
6. Continuing on with the research the Information Technology field came up. A ton of jobs came up for various types of career fields. Some I have heard about like “Computer Programming, Web Site Development, Database Administrator, and MySql.” The requirements for all of these fields state that you need to have a Computer Science Degree and experience. Again, I start looking for programs where I can learn these skills. Since I already have a Bachelors Degree I would be considered a “post baccalaureate student.” The nice thing about this is that the colleges would get to charge me Master Degree (MBA) prices. What a crock of shit! Looking over the courses needed it would take me about 2 years to finish every thing and be about $20-$30k in debt with another bachelors degree. Now I would be 30 and starting over again but this time with a huge college bill, but hopefully with a career field that is not going anywhere.
7. One industry that has really popped up on my radar is the alternative energy field. With gas and oil prices going up this field is one that is going to be in all of our lives. Heading back to the internet to find more alternative energy jobs I come across a couple companies that look very interesting. I applied at Vestas and other wind turbine companies hoping to hear something back. It really interest me in what they do because I care about the environment. After sending out some 50 or more resumes to alternative energy companies I feel that I am not getting any call backs because I do not have an engineering degree or am specialized in a alternative energy field. Heading back to some colleges course offerings, I find very interesting classes in the fields of solar, wind, fuels, and alternative energy technologies. Seeing it would take another 2 years to finish and hope that I would have a job waiting for me are the risks.
8. What to do now? I really like not being in debt. Its awesome. Something about spending $30k on a piece of paper makes me cringe. Deep down inside I try to believe that the paper means something. Isn’t that why parents tell kids to go to college. Isn’t this why the U.S Government gives so much in aide to schools? But where is the breaking point? One of my friends recently graduated from law school and told me that if he knew now how expensive it was going to be that he would never be a lawyer. I asked him how much in student loan debt he was in. Let’s just say it was north of $190k. I could not believe it. To go on top of that, starting salaries for lawyers are in the $50k range. How the hell are you going to be able to live and pay that loan down on that salary. His next line really put the whole college thing into perspective. He said “The business of being a lawyer is not as good as the business of running a law school.”
9. Instead of keeping people at schools and running kids way into debt to learn something, wouldn’t it be better to take these kids into a company and just train them. More than likely the stuff they learn at college is going to be out dated by the time they start working. I know that not all fields are like this but its safe to say that over 80% of the jobs out there really do not need a college degree. They need people eager to learn and ready to work.
10. With mounting costs to go to college I really do not see how going back to school is going to help me. Tack $30k in student loans onto my credit report that I will be paying off for the next 20 years. I would rather apply at a company and make a deal with them. Teach me everything I need to learn and during the first year all you have to do is pay me minimum wage. This of course would have to be for a position that has degree requirements or something I have no experience in. This way I do not have $30k in loans. I get the experience and on the job training (MOST IMPORTANT) that I need which no class room at a college can ever replicate. My resume shows that I was working. After the first year is up then pay me the deserved salary. If more companies would do things this way they would have more dedicated employees because they know that they are getting a free education, making some money, and have a job waiting for them after the first year. To me, doing the job is not as hard as getting the job. There are just too many barriers put up for people that are trainable and ready to work. In my scenario, the company and the employee both win. If anybody reads this who works at a alternative energy or technology company would like to put me up to the test please write a comment below. I am ready for a challenge.