I read your tweet the other day about going back to school to finish your English Literature degree. I also read some of the many, many replies that people send you. All of them very positive and encouraging, I haven’t seen one negative.
Let me be the negative one. I’ll be the only one and you won’t like what I have to say but it will probably be the first time in your (short 26 year) life that somebody actually gives you some real advice instead of all this mindless chatter that your so called friend send your way.
I’ll give you a real piece of advice. You probably hate me for it. But that should be immediately lesson nr 1: Don’t hate me for it, I’m just the messenger, not an evil do-er who wants to put you down. You should hate the message, not the messenger.
It’s time to grow up
From your tweet I understand that you haven’t finished your English bachelors yet. That’s not a negative but a positive thing. There is an old Dutch saying ‘Beter ten halve gekeerd dan ten hele gedraald’ (I am Dutch, it’s my mothertongue) which loosly translates to “It’s better to turn around halfway, than to get lost completely”. It’s better to correct ones mistakes than to persevere stubbornly. Because that’s what it is, a mistake.
The simple fact of the matter is that an English degree is useless. Even worse: you will pay for it (link in Dutch) the rest of your life. Let me explain.
Putting time in an English Bachelors is worse than a waste of time and money.
First ofcoarse there is the direct cost of doing this. Getting an English degree costs money. Books, tuition etc don’t come cheap. However, these costs are relatively minor compared to the much larger but invisible, indirect costs. You can’t work 40 hours a week when you are in class. That’s also a big cost. But even that’s not the biggie of them all. If you would get a job, you would gain experience, setting you up for a next job which pays better or has more career opportunities. The latter one is one that will cost you dearly. Very dearly.
You are still relatively young but you are no longer ‘very young’. You are already growing out of the window of opportunity, of being a ‘talent’ or a ‘promise’. A 26 year old is expected to carry her own weight. No employer is going to give you any slack anymore. If you want to get a real career, by this age you should be already on to your ‘next step’. You should no longer be at an ‘entry level’ but already a promotion or two on your way. There is a limit to when you can be unexperienced and you are growing out of this very quickly.
An English literature degree will not help you in any way to get a good paying job. No employer will hire you because you got an ‘A+’ in Poetry. They will hire you if you got an ‘A+’ in accounting or in ‘Tax Finance’. If you are capable of organising their warehouses, managing their production team or writing code for their new product. You have to add value to their bottom line. Poetry doesn’t add value. Even worse: it is a really strong signal to any employer that you really ‘don’t get it’. Poetry is a hobby, not a profession. Putting your founding years, the best years of your life in a hobby is a serious mistake.
What should you do?
There is a secure and solid way to the middle class especially if you are living in the richest country on earth, which you do. It goes broadly as follows:
1. Finish your eduction first and make sure it is actually usefull
2. Then get a job in the field of your education
3. Then marry someone who is also serious and
4. Then have 2 or 3 kids.
If you do these steps and in this order you will have a near certainty chance to get firmly into the middle class, no matter where you came from. It is the advice kids in the suburbs get from their parents. It is why soccermoms drive their kids to practice, why parents organise tutoring for their kids. Why the upper class don’t get pregnant before they are 30+, why inner city kids don’t mix with suburban kids. Why the upper class doesn’t mix with the rest. It is basically why kids who have parents who keep this firmly under control will succeed and kids who are equally talented but don’t have parents that manage this will fail. Like you are failing. You probably have no clue what I am talking about. Obviously nobody told you about this.
You clearly didn’t follow this path. You already have 3 kids, did not finish your education and are (probably) not married. You are up shit creek. The only reason you are still positive about your life is plainly because you just don’t know any better. You are still relatively young but that won’t stay that way. How about when you are 35 and still make minimum wage? You will still live in the same shitty rented appartment with teenage kids who need a father and not an overworked single mom who has no prospects in life anymore. You are in for a hard time.
So here is my advice.
Find out which jobs in your nick of the woods are actually in demand. Find a vocation that you like to do and for which there are many vacancies. Don’t aim for the sky. You are clearly not super smart and you are about ten (!) years behind schedule: keep it realistic.
Find a vocational school or a technical school where you can get a 1 year degree. But once again: make sure it is in a field for which there are many opportunities and keep it realistic. Immediately get yourself a parttime job in a small/midsize company in your chosen field where you can get some experience. No matter what it is, no matter how little it pays.Work for free if necessary but discuss with your employer that you are following this training and what he can do for you. Don’t get a job as a barrista or flipping hamburgers. Start building a resume.
Stop dating. Stop dating immediately. Loose 10 or 20 lbs. No serious guy will look at you if you are an overweight, single mom with 3 kids who has been around. Stop drinking alcohol. Girls who drink are not marriage material. Besides, you need every minute of every day. Remember you are 10 years behind schedule. I don’t know if you do drugs or smoke but stop that too. Especially that.
Delete your blog, delete your twitter account, delete your instagram account, snapchat and whatelse. You have no time for that shit. It’s for kids anyway, not for grownups. Get yourself a gmail adress ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘. Delete your old one.
Stop reading poetry.
This is my birthday present to you. Happy birthday.