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Don’t hate your job, get a degree and a better job

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Carl Ferdoko

If you’ve ever hated your job, this article is for you. Stop sacrificing your dignity in order to meet someone else’s bullshit definition of “work ethic.” Is there a point to working when neither the responsibilities nor salary are motivating? Hell no. Those who dauntlessly show up for their 40 hour per week beating silently consent to continued mistreatment. The solution is to stop showing up for the beating.

We all know somebody who is quick to openly hate their job and criticize those unemployed. They’ll tell you the only reason they don’t quit is because the prospects of new employment are low, but what about the prospect of new employment after an education?

According to Jason Delisle, a New York Times “Economix” Blogger, the federal government spent 112 billion dollars on student loans in fiscal year 2012. This number excludes Pell grants for college students. It’s obvious the government is willing to invest in your future.

Why don’t more people leave jobs they hate so they can educate themselves and qualify for more lucrative or more satisfying employment? I’m not advocating for an irresponsible citizenry here. If you have a family that depends on your continued financial support, obviously you have to provide for them. But don’t you want to provide the best life possible for your loved ones?

If you hate your station in life and do nothing to affect some positive changes to your employment, you are teaching your family that surviving is satisfactory. You’re teaching them “just getting by is good enough.”

An August 2011 article by Tiffany Hsu appearing in the Los Angeles Times says “College graduates earn 84% more than those with only a high-school education, up from 75% in 1999.” And since education is a crucial aspect of determining upward mobility, you will be growing the potential successes of your offspring.

Choosing to stay uneducated and at a job you hate is not only detrimental to your own well-being, it can also work to the detriment of your family for generations. Happiness is strongly correlated with workplace success according to an article from the 2008 Journal of Career Assessment by Boehm and Lyubomirsky. The article states that happy people earn more money, display superior performance, and perform more helpful acts than their less happy peers. Stop making excuses and pursue a line of work you’ll enjoy!

If you were born between the tenure of President Reagan and President Clinton, your childhood was probably polluted with idealistic lies like “You can do anything you put your mind to,” and, “Do your job as best you can, and eventually you’ll move up.” But the reality of the modern world vastly differs from the world your hippie parents envisioned. Their antiquated success strategies do little more than salt the socio-economic wounds our generation is destined to suffer.

Our generation has to balance the ever-rising cost of education with working enough hours to pay for it, not to mention making time for sleep, schoolwork and some semblance of a social life to keep us sane. Regardless, college is still the best option.

Do you like irony? I do. Here is a shining example of life’s beautiful irony: I enlisted in the Marine Corps when I was 17. Much of why I enlisted stemmed from teenage hubris that kept telling me that I was too good for “some shitty community college,” while every four-year institution I was willing to grace with my presence told me I wasn’t good enough for them; but, I digress…

I still can’t tell you exactly what I want from the rest of my life. I can tell you that I’m doing something I love and working exponentially harder to better myself than is possible working a soul-crushing, low-income job. Despite the ever-present threat of insurmountable debt, I dream of a pedigree from a prestigious four-year-college. If you’re like me, you came to Mercer knowing it was the best option for you, even if it lacks prestige.

Confidently answering questions like “how do you want to define your life” is really difficult because people who have quick answers to those questions often fit into one or more of the following categories: A) Overachievers with overbearing parents, B) People who have no desire to really taste life and fear new things C) People who think they have a calling. They say things like “I love calculus/geology/astrophysics! I feel like the numbers/rocks/stars have always spoken to me,” D) Sociopaths.

I weighed my options of staying on the path I was on but feeling like part of me died every day, against the chance to apply education to my existing interests and goals. I tried to be as cynical as possible but the drawing power of enjoying my working or feeling proud to tell people what I do was immense.

Maybe it’s arrogant, or even worse, naïve, but I know I’m not alone in feeling the squeeze that comes with working your ass off for too little pay. Independence stings when it smacks you with another one of forty-eight monthly car payments, or the way your guts feel cold and hollow when you’re again denied a raise you deserved a year ago. I hate what my life will be if I don’t earn and utilize this education thing we all keep paying for.

We are a mass with the will to be more than we are. We are the personification of the road less traveled, second-chances and lessons learned the hard way. Forget the sick, the tired, the huddled masses; we are the Angry, Young and Poor.

Maybe you can relate.


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