The idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Feeling squeezed by a sagging job market and mounting student debt, a groundswell of university-age heretics are pledging allegiance to new groups like UnCollege, dedicated to “hacking” higher education. Inspired by billionaire role models, and empowered by online college courses, they consider themselves a D.I.Y. vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick.
Risky? Perhaps. But it worked for the founders of Twitter, Tumblr and a little company known as Apple.
We need more dog walkers and fewer managers.
“College is training for managerial work, and the economy doesn’t need that many managers,” said Michael Ellsberg, the author of “The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won’t Learn In College About How to Be Successful.”
Mr. Ellsberg, 35, graduated from Brown University and spent years trying to translate his expertise in post-colonial critical theory into a paying career. So his book tries to impart real-world skills, like salesmanship and networking, which he argues are crucial as white-collar jobs are being downsized or shipped to Bangalore. The future, he added, belongs to job creators, even if the only job they create is their own.
“I’m not saying you have to be Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs,” Mr. Ellsberg said. “I know people with dog-walking businesses who make six figures.”
A teenage character from “The Mindy Project” sitcom explains why he’s skipping college.
“Why should I load up on debt just to binge drink for four years when I could just create an app that nets me all the money I’ll ever need?” Such tales play well in the eyes of millennials, a generation hailed for their entrepreneurial acumen and financial pragmatism. Why pay money if you can make money?
Good luck with that. No really, good luck. Good luck to all young adults, because today “40% of all federal spending is borrowed, so that our children will have to pay for it“.