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Looking back: The only friends of mine that are successful....went to grad school.

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Looking back: The only friends of mine that are successful....went to grad school.

Old 09-27-07, 10:23 PM
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Looking back: The only friends of mine that are successful....went to grad school.

So it's been 10 years since undergrad. And looking back at all my friends from undergrad and high school. The only people who are really doing well are the ones who have graduate degrees. The only exception are the engineers who are fortunate enough to get good paying jobs straight out of college and build up experience.

For the record, I'm defining success as financial stability or a well paying job......as I realize there many definitions to the word "success" (rewarding job, happy marriage, kids, timeoff to play Halo 3......I mean, spend time with family, etc.).

All my other friends (and there are lots of them), are basically scraping by.....and you can lump all the high school diplomas, BA's, and BS's into one pile. I have lots of friends who are college grads who are waiting tables, bartending, working at Nordstrom's, etc. I had lunch with 2 of them yesterday. Kind of sad. I wish I could help them.
Old 09-27-07, 10:39 PM
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My friend does investment banking...with a BA. I think he is the exception. I'd say 85% of my friends from college went to grad school. (I went to a school that has a ridiculously high % of people who go onto grad school....yay liberal arts!) Three of the most popular majors at my school: pre-med, psych, and education....all pretty much require advanced degrees to make any real money.

-p
Old 09-27-07, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by wabio
I have lots of friends who are college grads who are waiting tables, bartending, working at Nordstrom's, etc.
Ambitious people become successful, regardless of their degree or lack of one. Many people who go on for graduate degrees are ambitious, hence why many of my high school friends are now in the process of becoming very successful. I went to college with a decent number of numskulls - the embodiment of lazy - but they still graduated alongside of me. That was the day that I decided that my degree was really only good for one thing - making me an eligible candidate.

The type of degree and major/minor also matter obviously but the #1 thing is ambition.
Old 09-27-07, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by beesonosu
Ambitious people become successful, regardless of their degree or lack of one. Many people who go on for graduate degrees are ambitious, hence why many of my high school friends are now in the process of becoming very successful. I went to college with a decent number of numskulls - the embodiment of lazy - but they still graduated alongside of me. That was the day that I decided that my degree was really only good for one thing - making me an eligible candidate.

The type of degree and major/minor also matter obviously but the #1 thing is ambition.
Well said.
Old 09-27-07, 11:28 PM
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Grad school is funny though, there are lazy people there too, just in a different way.

My professor yesterday:

"(pedagogue).....you are very very smart, and LAZY as hell"

In the top few % in IQ, always successful, but my laziness is definitely an X-factor.

-p
Old 09-28-07, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by beesonosu
The type of degree and major/minor also matter obviously but the #1 thing is ambition.
Well, ambition and/or talent, luck, or divine grace. I have only a BA, am definitely the least ambitious person I know, but still have a great job making as much or more than many of the Master's and PH.D level folks in my field. I think I've been blessed to a huge degree in my life and somehow got to where I am despite my level of ambition, certainly not because of it.
Old 09-28-07, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by pedagogue
My professor yesterday:

"(pedagogue).....you are very very smart, and LAZY as hell"

-p



Wear this to class tomorrow!
Old 09-28-07, 06:36 AM
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Depends on your definition of successful. The person can be just as dysfunctional making $200,000 a year as $10,000 a year. Is having a stable marriage and children considered a success?

Is trading six years of school and tens of thousands of student loan expense worth making and extra $20,000 or so a year and having a piece of paper in a frame to show people? To some yes to me personally no.

Fortunately I entered the workforce when having a four year degree (or more) was not a requirement. I actually left school after two years to take the job.

Currently I make a about $70,000 a year in a very low stress IT position. I know others making over $100,000 slaving 60-70 hours a week (without overtime). To me it's just not worth it.
Old 09-28-07, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by JaxComet
Currently I make a about $70,000 a year in a very low stress IT position. I know others making over $100,000 slaving 60-70 hours a week (without overtime). To me it's just not worth it.
This is me. Have a BS - no graduate degree. Making about the same money, in a low-stress IT job that I love. In addition, it's a great company to work for (and that's saying something for a Fortune 20 company), and I work no more than 48 hours per week (usually less) alongside a great group of talented people. I think there should be 1 definition of success for everyone, and that is happiness. Now, if making more money/having more power than most people makes you happy, that's fine - it's just that many people only believe that's what will make them happy and it ends up having the opposite effect.
Old 09-28-07, 07:42 AM
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Almost none of my close friends from Auburn went to grad school and every single one of them is kicking major booty in their careers.
Old 09-28-07, 07:47 AM
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I think that for the purposes of this discussion the poster has defined success to be primarily financial and not the other stuff
Old 09-28-07, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by wabio

All my other friends (and there are lots of them), are basically scraping by.....and you can lump all the high school diplomas, BA's, and BS's into one pile. I have lots of friends who are college grads who are waiting tables, bartending, working at Nordstrom's, etc. I had lunch with 2 of them yesterday. Kind of sad. I wish I could help them.

do these people have degrees in underwater basket weaving, medieval or ancient literature, history or some other arcane subject that you have to get a phd in? or by chance did these people get a decent degree but refuse to move somewhere where this skill is in higher demand?
Old 09-28-07, 08:40 AM
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The Air Force has been kind enough to pay for four degrees for me! Two associate's, a bachelor's, and now I'm wrapping up my master's thesis. No debt here!

Plus, I'm a medic, so we are not often placed in great danger. Besides, I prefer to help!
Old 09-28-07, 08:57 AM
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I went to school with a guy, we were in honor classes together. This fellow was pretty nerdy and very very smart. I see him all the time now working in the local supermarket, pushing a cart of returns. No shame in that, but I've always wondered why he hasn't been more successful.
Old 09-28-07, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Charlie Goose
I went to school with a guy, we were in honor classes together. This fellow was pretty nerdy and very very smart. I see him all the time now working in the local supermarket, pushing a cart of returns. No shame in that, but I've always wondered why he hasn't been more successful.
I know a guy I used to work with 15 years ago who was a director at CNN. He was batsh*t insane in how stressed out he was which made everyone else totally on the edge. He moved on and I recently ran into him working as a waiter in a deli. He told me he needed to ramp down the pressure and seemed to be enjoying his job. It might be a little weird, but more power to someone doing something they enjoy.
Old 09-28-07, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by beesonosu
Ambitious people become successful, regardless of their degree or lack of one. Many people who go on for graduate degrees are ambitious, hence why many of my high school friends are now in the process of becoming very successful. I went to college with a decent number of numskulls - the embodiment of lazy - but they still graduated alongside of me. That was the day that I decided that my degree was really only good for one thing - making me an eligible candidate.

The type of degree and major/minor also matter obviously but the #1 thing is ambition.

Best post in this thread.


If you look at my group of friends I would say it is quite the opposite of the OPs theory. Not saying this is the norm but its a good sample.


I have a BA and I make 3 times as much as my wife who has an MA (2 actually). She is in education so that may not be a good example.

Most of my friends who make well over 100k never went to grad school. But they all had the desire to be successful. Many of my friends didn't go to grad school so they could start their careers.

I am 34, manage a team of 8 at a $45m company and have 3 reports who are older than I am. I am married and own a house worth just under $1m. No debt except positive debt.

Most of my friends fall into the same category.
Old 09-28-07, 10:44 AM
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Hmmmmm, one friend became a doctor and is obviously doing well. One went to grad school and is now a flight attendant, one dropped out of college and makes around $100,000 per year, one is an engineer and does well, I went to grad school (and was asked never to return) and do quite well.

So, it looks like in order to be successful, you need to avoid finishing grad school by pissing off the dept. chair, drop out of college, or become a doctor of engineer. Grad school will put you in a profession where your friends call you the Stewardess.
Old 09-28-07, 10:45 AM
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I have 2 buddies that got their MBA within the last 3 years. One is in the construction industry and got the MBA in order to open his own custom home building company. He is still in the same position he was in before the MBA. I know another that just joined the mgmt. team of a hedge fund and has the chance to make 7 figures in a couple of years if the thing takes off. With these 2 it is all ambition and their willingness to take chances. The first will never step out on his own. The second left a great job to take a chance on the hedge fund.
Old 09-28-07, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
So, it looks like in order to be successful, you need to avoid finishing grad school by pissing off the dept. chair, drop out of college,

Hey, that plan hasn't worked for me....yet.
Old 09-28-07, 10:56 AM
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I was successful with my BA, and decided to give it all up to go into debt and become a student for 7-8 years....I'm a glutton like that!

All I know is that wealth comes from OWNING and not just working for a business. With the exceptions of investment banking and related fields, the real money is in owning/managing. I know I'm not the smartest at everything, but I'm smart enough to hire others who are smarter than me at things I'm not good at.

Oh, and people will soon call me doctor, I dig that!

-p
Old 09-28-07, 11:09 AM
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90% of small business fail in the first 5 years and a lot of them the owner doesn't really make that much money. and the health insurance is a lot better being a wage slave.
Old 09-28-07, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
90% of small business fail in the first 5 years and a lot of them the owner doesn't really make that much money. and the health insurance is a lot better being a wage slave.

"Uh, reasons you don't try. Excuses you give. Why I should be happy with less....."

Last edited by kvrdave; 09-28-07 at 12:23 PM.
Old 09-28-07, 11:54 AM
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I'm in grad school now, and I'm dirt poor. All my non-grad school friends have houses and giant HDTVs. Of course, now they're starting to poop out kids, which should eat up all their disposable income and free time. I guess we're even once they start having kids.
Old 09-28-07, 12:03 PM
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Oh, good. The monthly Brag About How Awesome You Are thread.
Old 09-28-07, 12:17 PM
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The two people I know who became the most successful both dropped out of school. One from university and the other from Technical School, like ITT.

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