About the Book

SCREW COLLEGE by Jeff Striegel: A guide to finding success, and a rewarding and fulfilling career without college

Screw College: A Guide to Finishing Success and a Rewarding and Fulfilling Career without College Book Cover

Introduction

Most American citizens have been convinced that if college isn’t a part of their children’s path after high school, then they are, by default heading for a minimum wage job slot and very low chances to “make it”. That somehow, without a formal college education, life will somehow be incomplete, and the future is bleak.

This starts at an early age as I recall, my own father began grooming me with this philosophy sometime in elementary school. He always felt blue-collar, non-college-oriented work was a second-class status. Unfortunately, his comments also were entwined with his feelings of inadequacy as he would also say, “You don’t want to end up like me, we didn’t have the college option when we were young. You have to go to college to make it today.”

In retrospect, my father, who worked as a mail carrier for the US Postal Service, was happily married, raised three children, and owned his home outright by age 50. He was able to have a family vacation every year, provided healthcare, food, & clothing, and automobiles for both him and my mother, and was able to help each of the three children get started. We always seemed to have what we needed.

This attitude that has been created over the past 50 years, that college is an essential critical part of success in life and that we can’t get ahead without it, has created something far worse in its undertones. That if an individual doesn’t go to college that they, in fact, can’t really be successful, so why even try to get ahead for minimum or low wages? When did it become, go to college or else its working for minimum low-paying menial meaningless jobs for life? The problem with this thought process is that it’s bogus. It’s simply not true.

The entire education system is designed to self-perpetuate itself in every aspect. And the same people, the teaching community, have inter-mingled this thought process throughout the journey to the coveted high school diploma. They will go as far as to drug millions of children with Ritalin to build Stepford kids that conform to the process. The real tragedy is that they have such a receptive audience in the American adult community that has bought into the myth.

We are losing tremendous amounts of productivity by allowing this myth to perpetuate itself that, somehow, a college education is the benchmark of success in life for today’s young people. We have the wrong answers to the multiple-choice question we are asking…It isn’t college or else, but rather skilled vs. non-skilled.

I hope this material helps set the stage to build the success you want and desire.

Our Education System: "For a fair selection everybody has to take the same exam: please climb that tree." - A bird, monkey, penguin, elephant, fish, seal and dog are lined up. "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

Let’s start by getting one thing clear out of the gate. I am not against college, but I strongly oppose the widely held belief that there is no chance at a meaningful, successful life without college. Let’s be honest, college is simply vocational training of a different type. The real issue isn’t college or else, but whether an individual learns and acquires a skill or they don’t.

Today, the concept that its college or else permeates throughout the country, and it potentially creates many problems. The real risk is one of the diminished ambitions, aspirations, and hopes of many who opt not to go on to college. This is a very dangerous idea or thought to supplant in kids that don’t attend college.

In truth, there are many reasons to attend college, mainly if the field of career choice requires it. On the other hand, not everyone is cut out for college for what could be any number of reasons. This alone does not define the individual’s destiny or make them a bad person, but what happens from this point will. It may not be critical to go to college, but if you don’t, it is essential to acquire some skillset.

The Real Career Options

College Based – any profession where college serves as a prerequisite for participation. Wide range from 2-years Associates’ degree, 4-year Bachelor’s degree, and onto Masters or even a Doctorate degree.

Skilled – any profession where training is required towards specialization in a given field. This can range from school to on-job training or vocational-based formats such as trades, healthcare, technicians, hair stylist, dog groomer, and personal services. Most programs or apprenticeships will run for one to two years.

Non-Skilled – any profession where necessary training can be provided in a matter of hours or days. This would, of course, be low-paying repetitive work such as cashier, teller, manual labor, fast food, etc… These are the types of jobs that virtually anyone can be trained to perform in a matter of hours and/or days.

Of course, you will see study after study showing the disparity of lifetime income comparing college graduates vs. high school graduates. This is one big lie they keep repeating repeatedly, as the accurate comparison needs to compare college not to non-college but rather to the two classifications.

First, compare college to non-college non-skilled jobs, such as a cashier, retail clerk, or fast-food worker. Second compare college to non-college skilled jobs such as carpenters, plumbers, masseuses, hair stylists, etc. The reality is you will find that most of the skill-based jobs have earnings that are on par with college graduates, or in many cases higher, and have much higher job satisfaction. In actuality, many more of these individuals will go on to start their own businesses than those attending college.

The real problem with our education system is that it tests memorization skills, not learning or intelligence.

In fact, a college degree is now available in so many crazy fields that nearly 50% of the various degrees actually pay well below skilled professions that require no college. In reality, many of these worthless degree holders will not even be able to find a job in their major, and unemployment is a stark reality for many.

There is no end to the supposed advantages of going to college, and equally, quite a long list of what happens if you don’t attend college. The interesting facts they leave out are that 40% of those that start college will drop out before graduating, and another 40% of those that graduate will enter a field that has nothing to do with their degree. So, in the end, only 36% of those who go to college will graduate and use their degrees.

This pressure has become so compelling that it has created a perception that an individual is doomed if they don’t attend college. This sense of inadequacy was one of the core reasons this book was written. The belief that college is so vital has, in fact, pushed so many students to the college that probably shouldn’t have gone in the first place, and almost half never actually graduate. In reality, most probably went for the wrong reasons and never should have gone in the first place.

Maybe it was the parents’ pressure who felt they wanted more for their kids, which is only possible with a college education. Perhaps it was the mindset of the brainwashing over the years of being told that success isn’t possible without college. Maybe it’s just because kids now think you are supposed to.

In the meantime, I know dozens of very successful people with zero college earning six-figure incomes working in various jobs or, in many cases owning their own businesses. There are two close friends that own martial arts schools, another, along with his girlfriend, owns a dog walking and house sitting business, several very successful hair stylists, and even a couple of masseuses.

None of these individuals went to college, nor was college necessary for them to be successful.

  • The company that opens & closes my pond is owned by a fellow that barely made it through high school, but working for a company learned about ponds, fountains, and aquariums and went on to open his own very successful and busy business.
  • The landscaper living in my neighborhood that started cutting lawns in high school built his company into a sizable operation and today operates five crews.
  • The electrician that worked on my house when I was building it served as an apprentice, worked for the company for a few more years, and then started his own business.
  • One of my sons worked as a helper refinishing hardwood floors, and after three years, decided he could do his own thing, buy a van, and open for business. He now has a family with three children, owns a very nice house, makes his own hours, and is super happy being his own boss, and has been very successful.
"I see you did well in school, but what real-world skills do you have?" "Tests. I can take tests."

It’s not a question if college is valuable, but rather is it applicable based on the individual’s career decision? Unfortunately, by minimizing perceived opportunities for those that do not attend college, it has created a large oversight or void in the real considerations.

We’ll walk through the path of the logic of how we got here to understand better the brainwashing that has occurred and what you can do to rise above it. I’ll share my own story and life lessons learned along the way. Then finally, we’ll discuss what you can and need to do to find your path to success without feeling college needs to be a part of it.

Prelude

My main objective in writing this book is to help teenagers decide about going to college and not to do it solely because it’s the only path to a successful career. That somehow, if you don’t go to college, you are destined for a menial job and will make far less money while doing it. Well, this is flat-out wrong, they’ve been lying to us! If you are indeed entering a career path that requires college, such as being a lawyer, doctor, CPA, teacher, or engineer, then enjoy your college road ahead. If not, then please read on.

We will shatter a couple of the big myths, such as school somehow prepares you for life ahead or that college is the only way to have a successful career. It has nothing to do with college vs. non-college. It is based solely on either developing a skill or specialization in some field of endeavor or not and wondering aimlessly never developing any real skill. If a person can be trained to do a job in a few hours or a couple of days, it is considered non-skilled. Then this non-skilled individual will be used as an example of what happens when you don’t go to college. This is the key, it isn’t a matter of college or not, but skilled or unskilled that will define your success.

I, along with thousands of others, are living proof that you don’t need to go to college to be successful. However, it takes years of hard work to develop the skills to succeed. Today, I am a multi-millionaire with a beautiful wife, three kids, and four grandchildren. I own a custom-built lovely large home with an inground pool, a brand-new Corvette, and Mercedes in the garage. I have every amenity one could desire, and it’s all paid off in full with financial independence to retire comfortably. I have everything anyone could want from life, but many would never have thought it possible based on my teenage years thru my mid-20s.

Let me share a little background that genuinely reflects that if I can do it without college, anyone can, and of course, many have.

  • I was an oddball kid with a weird haircut, severe acne until my early 20s and clothes that were anything but in style
  • Raised in a blue-collar family… father was a mailman, and my mother was a waitress/ food truck driver
  • I hated school, and my teachers weren’t too fond of me either
  • Switch schools in 6th grade, which made me a bit of an outsider in the new school
  • I started smoking pot & cigarettes in 8th grade and stayed high most of the time for the next 15 years
  • I joined a work-study program in 9th grade that got me out of school by noon to work the rest of the day… which was great because, as I mentioned, I hated school
  • In 10th grade, I stole my parent’s car and ran away to New York until I crashed the car, and as a minor, the hospital had to contact my parents so they could treat my sliced open head
  • My parents didn’t have money to help with the car and were pretty upset about me stealing their car and wrecking it… so the first car I could afford was a 1963 Comet that cost $275 and broke down on the way home from buying it
  • I continued work-study in 10th-12th grade and stayed high whenever possible during the day… worked out well as I hated school and never really felt like I fit in the High School anymore.
  • I wasn’t into sports as I wasn’t particularly good at them either, and my friends were all pretty much druggies.
  • In 11th grade started dating and moved in with the 26-year barmaid in the restaurant where I worked
  • In 12th grade, we were living together, got married right after graduating, and had our son the following year
  • By the time I was 20, we were divorced, and I had custody of my son, and like many, had to move back home for childcare
  • From 20-27 years old, went through every drug phase possible, along with a lot of drinking regularly…. But did keep the same job through it all
  • The one thing I learned in my early 20’s, was that it wasn’t that I didn’t like sports. I just didn’t like team sports. I started in Karate at 20 years old and continued training for the next 40 years, earning a 2nd-degree black belt in Taekwondo, then 3rd-degree black in Aikido, and onto 4th-degree black in Kenpo. Additionally, I took up golf at 40. After a decade of playing, I got my handicap down to 9, which is pretty decent, as only 1% of golfers ever achieved a single-digit handicap.

Now, with all of this as the foundation and not attending college, how exactly did I become successful? Well, the one thing I did excel at was work, which I actually loved doing, and I learned many valuable lessons through the more mundane jobs that led to the more meaningful ones. The other benefit of this was that working hard, long hours served as a controlling force to limit the number of hours I had available to party. So, while I would party hard on days off, I was always home in bed at a reasonable hour on work nights.

It is critically important to understand the first few jobs are not about how much money you will make but more about understanding the workplace, learning how to work, and learning life lessons. My first few jobs paid a minimum wage of $1.90 per hour in the early 70s, but the actual value of life lessons learned during that time was invaluable. Think of those first jobs as the elementary school of life where your mistakes won’t matter, and in your first year, you will learn more about life than in the entire 12 years of school on the path to graduation.

I sincerely hope this book helps provide meaningful insight to those individuals questioning what options are available if not attending college and that success is not defined by rather you go to college or not but by whether you are skilled or not.

What’s inside

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Shattering myths behind school and college

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How to have a successful career without college

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The importance of getting a job as a teen

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Famous, successful people who didn't go to college

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Jobs you don't need a college degree for

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What you can do right now to build your skills

You have power over your mind-- not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

-Marcus Aurelius

“When did it become, ‘go to college or else it’s working minimum-wage meaningless jobs for life’? The problem with this thought process is that it’s bogus. It’s simply not true.”

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Screw College is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

Screw College: A Guide to Finishing Success and a Rewarding and Fulfilling Career without College Book Cover