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talljasperman's avatar

Do you ever regret leaving a minimum wage job to go to university?

Asked by talljasperman (18002 points ) September 12th, 2013

I failed out of my second year of philosophy in university, and I am wondering if I should have stayed at my minimum wage job a A&W and waited until I became assistant manager and taken online classes on the side. I don’t know have any Flutherites have been in a similar situation? I am finding it difficult to get my old job back seeing I’ve moved to a new town and my old references have moved on or have passed on. I am on government assistance and It will last until I am 67, but I liked working at A&W and having super cool free fountain pop and being able to make my own burgers like a work of art.

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8 Answers

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Wow, I am actually wondering if I should do this rather than go to college straightaway.
Will be stalking this.

Thank you Talljasperman for asking this question

dxs's avatar

I’ve been wondering this myself: Can I do something first before finishing school and can I support myself on my own even at my age? I might ask a question like this later on at a more personal level but I hope it isn’t redundant with this one.

zenvelo's avatar

I spent a couple of summers in college working as a pipe-fitter’s assistant, way above minimum wage. And the second year on my last day before I went back to school, one guy asked me, “why are you going to school when you are making good money right here?”

I replied, “if you had to ask that you won’t understand completely, but I don’t want to be 42 lying on my back in a ditch in the rainy season grinding down a weld.”

Working through school is noble and good and teaches you a lot, Choosing a basic job that a high school kid can do over a chance at education is a misplacement of priorities.

@talljasperman There may not be a lot of job openings where you live, and that may hinder you, but you are qualified for an entry level job, and any talent and experience will help you move up rapidly.

DWW25921's avatar

Yes. I was a waiter and a darn good one. The General Manager was getting promoted and asked me if I wanted to begin manager training because he said I had potential. I told him no thanks because I was going to college… Never did finish… DOH!!!

josie's avatar

No. There is a difference between having a technical job skill and being educated.
Plenty of jobbers can make plenty of money.
And plenty of educated people don’t make money.
(That is their own fault, by the way. Making money is pretty easy in the US if you know how markets work)
That is not the point.
Having said that, lots of animals have a brain. Only humans have a mind. Education develops the mind. Sort of like an athlete developing their body. Everybody has a body, but only motivated people go to some trouble to develop theirs to a high level of performance.

It is a moral question. If one does not develop one’s mind, one might as well just be a dog, which also has a brain.

Having said it, there are all sorts of ways to develop the mind without going to college. But college at least provides a structure that some people might not pursue on their own. Just like some people will exercise if they go to a class, but won’t if they are left on their own.

hearkat's avatar

No. I dropped out of college and worked clerical jobs for a couple years and realized I could not support myself or find career fulfillment that way.

I went back to community college and got a liberal arts associates, then transferred to a 4-year school and it was there that I discovered my vocation. I then continued to earn my bachelor’s and master’s degree and that was over 20 years ago.

Haleth's avatar

It really depends on what you do. My dad dropped out of college but had enough technical skills to get a job working with computers (back in the late 80s.) Now he does systems engineering work for the government, and it seems like he’s happy and comfortable. One of my buddies dropped out of school and ended up as a programmer, and he’s really good at it. I dropped out and worked random minimum-wage jobs for a while before getting into wine, and now in my mid-20s I’m managing a cute little wine shop. The hours are long, but I really care about wine education, and the work is engaging and fulfilling. There’s always more to learn and teach. After a few years, I’ll probably find a job with a wholesaler, importer, or winery.

The common thread here is that these are industries where your skills and work experience still matter more than a college degree. If you find an industry like that, there’s a good chance of building a fulfilling career. But your job skills and work ethic have to be rock solid, and you have to make your own opportunities. And later, you still might want to complete your education, but it will take much longer.

@talljasperman As far as the A&W you were talking about, I’ve managed places like that, too. It’s a lot harder if you don’t really care about the work and have a personal reason for doing all the long hours. Retail/restaurant managers usually work a standard 50-hour schedule with more as needed. It’s never just 50— some jobs are hellishly stressful and exhausting. The pay at a small chain/quick-service place runs about 30–45k a year. That sounds pretty good if you’re unemployed and thinking about minimum-wage jobs, but after a while it starts to feel like you’re giving up a huge chunk of your life and getting so little in return.

talljasperman's avatar

@all Thanks for the answers.

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