The Value of Hard Work

It’s been a very long/quick (don’t ask) month since the last entry. I’ve worked way too many hours and yet made so many good connections and accomplishments along the way. It’s really a good summer for Amerivet Services, and yet there’s so much more that can be done.

Over the last few weeks, my mom and I have been talking about hard work vs. a college education, and we seem to agree that eventually hard work will bring a bigger paycheck than education. Here’s why:

Over the last 10 years or so, I’ve seen studies that show that an MBA doesn’t make enough money right out of college to cover the value of the education they’ve received. Matter of fact, in quite a few cases a Master’s Degree just makes you overqualified for a regular job and you’ve got a fairly good chance of ending up homeless if you depend on that degree for a job. Really it’s a lot like the stock market, where you’re taking a higher risk, playing a better education along with a more iffy chance at making a bigger salary. If you win, you’re good, and if you’re not….well…uh….borrow a shovel from your neighbor and get to work.

I’ve seen predictions that say you’ll need an Associate Degree to make minimum wage, and I’d say that time is now. My daughter experienced it personally just last year, and kept moving toward something better.

Of course, entrepreneurship is another option. I don’t know that I’ve seen any reliable information about whether people with MBA’s make better entrepreneurs, and I’m not going to make any theories of my own. However, I will cite the Prevailing Wage chart and let you decide whether maybe working toward a skilled position might make the difference:

A journeyman Boilermaker spends four years learning the trade, and gets paid $25 an hour or more over the course of four years learning it. As said Boilermaker crosses the line to a journeyman, he/she makes in excess of $55 an hour plus benefits. So, realistically close to $75 an hour is put back into this person’s livelihood. Master Boilermakers aren’t on the prevailing wage chart, but I imagine they can name their own price within reason.

Now, your average college attendee SPENDS close to $20 an hour (based on a 40 hour week) on tuition/books/etc., puts his or herself in debt until they’re 50-60 years old, and how much can they expect to make when they graduate from four years of college? Well, probably nowhere close to $55 an hour.

Now, there are always exceptions to the rule, and Boilermakers have to maintain several certifications in order to maintain their pay rate, but so does a college graduate who hopes to keep up with their chosen profession. The difference here is nothing short of hard work. Boilermakers work their butts off under harsh conditions, and have to use their brains constantly in order to beat those conditions. It’s all about hard work, and don’t forget Boilermakers get time and a half or double time on weekends and holidays, whereas that poor college graduate on salary gets pretty much nothing extra in their paycheck for several years.

So here’s where I’m going with this: The entire world is running short of skilled people who are willing to work. Quite honestly, if you have a college education and are willing to work, I imagine you’re going somewhere in life. However, if you’re willing to work and learn a trade, you can go somewhere regardless, and make money while learning that trade.

This is coming from a guy who’s been to college, jumped through the hoops, been successful in the post-college world, and has gone back to his trade to find a satisfying niche as an entrepreneur. In my opinion, it’s important to find the right path and learn all you can about it your entire life, whether it involves a college or not. Learning never stops, whether you’ve got a diploma in your hand or not.