It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Shattered dreams

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 21, 2010

It is obvious: invest in yourself.

I am lucky.  I have got an IQ that is above average.  There are two important things that are worth noting about being clever.  First, intelligence has no strong correlation to money.  Second, intelligence says nothing about you, it is what you make of it that matters.

I went to grammar school.  That was due to a long series of lucky events.  Consequently there was always a good chance that I would go to university.  When I went my dad said that he would make my grant up to the maximum amount.  My grant for the year came out to £270-ish and my dad made it up to £360.  It was much the same for all 3 years.  I lived in Nottingham and got a job with Boots each summer holiday.  I finished the term on the Wednesday and started work on the Monday, finishing on a Friday 12 weeks later and starting term on the following Wednesday.  I ran a motorbike and then a car and had a big stereo (instrumental in attracting my wife) and finished university with more money than I started it with.

One of my friends at junior school did not make it to grammar school and left at 16.  He became an electrician, starting as an apprentice and eventually running his own business.  He’s a lot richer than me and possibly a lot more content.

There were other peers that I knew who didn’t take the university route.  Some took jobs, some took the HND/OND route.

There was a clear set of routes that these people took and found their slots.  The system was not perfect and that is attested to by at least two of my friends getting degrees later in life.

Today, unless you are living in a hole in the ground, you don’t get a grant to get to university and you will pay £3,000 in fees, about £3,000 to rent somewhere and then a variable amount that you live on, buy books, heat your room, get to university and generally stay alive.  Maybe that will be another £3,000.  At the end when you get your degree you will have £27,000 of debt.

But that is OK.  You will get a better job and earn more money so it is reasonable that you pay.  But hang on a minute.  If you earn more then aren’t you going to pay a lot more in taxes?  Iniquitous.

When I got my degree there was only 5% of the population got degrees.  Having a degree carried kudos.  If you are a good thinker does that make you better than a good ‘doer’.  I think (sic) not, but what you get paid is not based on how good you are, it is based on what you can negotiate, and the relative rarity of those skills strengthens your negotiating hand.  I was (am) lucky.

Now, something like 50% of those finishing school go to university and get a degree.  So the value of a degree is reduced.  Everybody who is anybody has got a degree.  So why bother running up £27,000 of debt to get a degree that is just barely worth the paper it is printed on?  The answer is simple.  If you are not in the club then you are not invited to any of the events.  If a job is advertised and there are 300 applicants, then it is an easy matter to eliminate the 150 who don’t have a degree.  There is still little chance you will get the job.

So university has become 3 years of national service and a £27,000 fee to enter the club called ‘at least being in with a shout of getting a job’.

The fact that there are no jobs is neither here no there.

It is obvious: invest in yourself but develop some interesting hobbies to pass the long days.

One Response to “Shattered dreams”

  1. Malcolm Consterdine said

    Couldn’t agree more,Chris with your bit about University graduates.When this Labour government introduced University tuition fees,they tried to justify it by saying that historically,graduates earn more and therefore they will be able to pay more.It was completely obvious at the time that graduates earnt more due to their rarity value since only 5% of the population were graduates.
    If this crazy target of 50% of the population going to University is met,it is obvious that there is no rarity value with graduates and they won’t earn any more than average.
    It was always muddled thinking and anyway we need non graduates(eg Plumbers,Electricians,Carpenters etc) as much as we need graduates.

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