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Old 2013-08-29, 20:55   Link #1
Yu Ominae
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Working without a college/university degree (Either partially or not done at all)

Just something that I want to share. Not sure if it affects others, but I'm sure it's there...

Currently, my situation is that I've studied a community college degree under "General Studies" in Vancouver, Canada after moving there from the Philippines due to some bad times. Now I've studied Political Science 'cause I like the subject and it interests me a lot. Thing is I f-cked up pretty badly in the last year of my stay in university, due to the need of taking up a quantitative course, which requires some math in my degree. Naturally, the course I took (with some advice from family that it could be "easy") ended up making things worse since I have a warning from the administration that my GPA wasn't doing so well and I had to go back to CC to make up for the GPA needed so that I can go back and finish so that my GPA can be pulled up in order to graduate. It didn't help that I have a huge hate for advanced math stuff.

----

Fast forward to today. My father is very sure that I don't go back and start working as soon as I can. My mom agrees with him and they tell me stories of businessmen (at least from the Asian perspective since I studied in the Philippines for the first 13+ years of my life there) who didn't finish college/didn't bother to do college for economic/personal reasons and yet, they're millionaires in the region.

I don't know. Honestly, I was told before in my younger years that having a university-based degree can help get a job. But I know that it's not the case anymore since you need to know people with related work experience. I'm utterly depressed that I can't finish up the degree that I have a passion for and I don't know if I can complete it in the near future since both of them don't mind me pursuing it at a later time after I have worked for a certain time.

----

True that. I just want to say these businessman (one of them I had the unfortunate relationship with due to his "real" wife being my mom's older sister) worked their way from the bottom to the top with little or no business contacts after the end of the Second Pacific War.

That's what my dad wants me to do. Gain business contacts and work experience while I'm in Asia, but I feel that I want to finish the mistake that I made in Canada so that I can close that chapter in my life. Not to leave it hanging without the possibility of not finishing it at all.

I just don't have the knack of running a business since I will admit that I'm bad with numbers for the most part, but I'm getting a feeling that I can't say no and just move back for half a year overseas to finish up whatever in the community college and use that to help me move back to uni and get that "degree" aside from the one in community college.

----

I'm so confused by this. But really, I'm at a loss. As of now, I have not asked the college/university I was previously in before if I can pursue distance education in order to get the degree since I'm living in the Philippines and I'm not in Canada for the said reason. Truth be told, I probably will have to be in Canada so that I can avail of it and ask the relevant department for this.
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Old 2013-08-29, 21:07   Link #2
speedyexpress48
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Let's be honest here...parents are often idealistic and think that if one person was able to do it, everyone must be able to do it. Truth is, a lot of those millionaires were lucky enough to take advantage of random boom periods in the Asian economy which uh...kinda ceased existing like, 10 years ago. And hell, the global economy is in a hole. Even China is in decline after long years of fast growth.

To put it simply; I won't say that "Gain business contacts and work experience while I'm in Asia" won't work, but your chances are very close to impossible. Especially without a university degree. Your parents are delusional if they think you can easily "gain business contacts and work experience", because I'm gonna tell you that there's a 99.99999% chance that won't result into much of anything.

Finish your degree first, because most likely you that you'll be better off in the long run. Working now might score you a somewhat decent paying job (for yourself, at least; don't ever have a family, really,) but if you finish your university degree...well, it doesn't exactly guarantee you anything, but you'll be in a lot better position in the market.
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Old 2013-08-29, 21:13   Link #3
Yu Ominae
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Natch there...

Closest I got is a degree I got in General Studies from a community college I went to in Vancouver, Canada. And ironically considering that they don't look positively at it and yet, they want to use that to shut my case down since they say that I don't have to do the other degree (university level) and I can learn stuff from it on my own.

Yeah...
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Old 2013-08-29, 21:16   Link #4
Fireminer
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Well, in all developed countries, Graduated have better salary in general (compare to non-Graduated). In Vietnam, while the gap is quite thin, it's still exist.
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Old 2013-08-29, 21:40   Link #5
ChainLegacy
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You don't necessarily need a degree, but you need some kind of skill. A tradesman's skill, a professional license of some kind (real estate, mortgage broker, etc don't require degrees in the US, not sure about in the Philippines), etc. If you have no specialization to speak of, you can only work very low paying jobs, unless you are lucky enough to get a grunt level position at a company and are a genius-level networker and somehow build your way up.

Even without a skill, if you worked as a telemarketer or some job like that where you can make at least a decent wage, you could always live very frugally and save your money, then reinvest it into creating your own business, buying rental property, etc, and once you have your foot in the door like that it's very possible to be successful.

My father came to America illegally from Ireland originally (he's legal now, but was undocumented for years). He worked as a painter and got paid in cash under the table. He saved his money in a shoebox in his apartment for something like 2-3 years. He just worked hard and lived cheaply and eventually started his own company around the time I was born. Nowadays, he is very successful and one of the premier builders of condominiums in the Boston area. So, I can point to that example from my own life to say it's definitely possible, but of course it's hard and you have to persevere, have vision, take risks, be frugal, etc to succeed.
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Old 2013-08-29, 21:58   Link #6
TooPurePureBoy
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Ya dude, get your degree.

I dropped out of college to go back to a labor job because it seemed more lucrative than becoming a history teacher at the time.

Now that the business I work for has lost some of its major contracts, that lucrative part isn't really there any more. Also as I start getting closer to 35 than 30 my knees, wrists, back and shoulders are starting to go on me.

Combine that with defaulting on my student loans a couple times (my own stupidity, I know) I couldn't even go back to school if I wanted to.

Sprinkle in a nice social awkwardness that pretty much bars me from any sales job and you got a pretty nice hole to be stuck in.

Anyway it could be worse I suppose...

The upside is that desperation is a great motivator. I'm finally trying to write some of those books I've been planning all these years, so maybe I can pull myself out of this mess with that.

Anyway, my major point is that, yes dropping out and getting a real job and making money can be nice at first but it's just too unpredictable in this current world. Not saying you can't do it, but my suggestion is get your degree my friend, it's a much safer bet.
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Old 2013-08-29, 22:04   Link #7
Yu Ominae
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Thanks for those thoughts, guys.

My dad's expanding his business and he wants me to help him run it since he sees great business opportunities in the Philippines. That's his gameplan and he plans to meet a business partner he knows from Malaysia.

And yeah, they think that I want to go back to finish up in Canada 'cause I'm trying to be "independent" to go whatever I want. It may be true in the past before, but I've learned to correct my mistake after one sermon too many.

Not sure if my General Studies degree from community college can cut it, but my dad wants to teach me on running a business in the Philippines at least.
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Old 2013-08-29, 23:05   Link #8
kuroishinigami
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I think you all misunderstood TC's problem. TC's parent isn't asking TC to look for work under someone else, but continuing his father business/starting his own business. From my own experience with several of my friend who start their own business, the degree itself is not as important as the contact and knowledge you gain during your college year. College degree however, could act as a "Plan B" just in the case the business you start/take over isn't going well.

If you're very close to graduating, try to convince your parents to give you one more chance to finish your college and do your best to finish it because although it might not be useful in your business, there is also no downside in getting your degree.
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Old 2013-08-30, 00:34   Link #9
Yu Ominae
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuroishinigami View Post
I think you all misunderstood TC's problem. TC's parent isn't asking TC to look for work under someone else, but continuing his father business/starting his own business. From my own experience with several of my friend who start their own business, the degree itself is not as important as the contact and knowledge you gain during your college year. College degree however, could act as a "Plan B" just in the case the business you start/take over isn't going well.

If you're very close to graduating, try to convince your parents to give you one more chance to finish your college and do your best to finish it because although it might not be useful in your business, there is also no downside in getting your degree.
Basically this in a nutshell. My father's a firm believer of this, despite having a BA and a Masters when he was in his 20s.

Although I've tried my best to convince him based on what he said on the second paragraph, my dad thinks having a degree in Political Science (aside from my General Studies degree at community college) can't help me get a decent job.
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Old 2013-08-30, 02:29   Link #10
Irenicus
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I'm obviously not familiar with the market in the Philippines, but the situation here in the US -- and most likely in Canada as well -- is that while having a degree won't *help* you, not having one will close many doors to you.

It's kind of strange to think of it like that, but many employers are often thinking of a BA as the new high school sort of thing, where they raise questions if you don't have the paper. :/

Illogical, I know, given that many of these same employers are complaining about the lack of skills with college grads and sing paeans in praise of experience. They're lying. They look at the absence of a degree and they either write you off or mark you down to start with and you've got to really prove it to them with your skills and experience. Certain technical/professional fields won't care, admittedly, but those have their own certifications. Even programmers, previously a world which looked down on CompSci graduates over "real" programmers, are starting to feel the effects of the corporate HR regime.

Of course, entrepreneurs don't need it, nor would you need it if you work in a family business. But your father may have avoided many pitfalls and tricky difficulties because of his credentials. The skills taught in college probably weren't very useful to him, understandably, but that's not the problem. If and when you want to change your career direction, work independent of your family business, whatever, you will feel the limitation of not having the BA. The PolSci won't be sending you to Ottawa, but the BA itself is going to keep off difficult and unnecessary questions (which sometimes never get asked). Given that you're already on your way and "learned your lesson" with college, you might as well finish the thing.
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Old 2013-08-30, 03:10   Link #11
Fireminer
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On a side question: How many people have ever try to bought a fake degree? In Vietnam, at least 1 on 5 people with university degree does that.
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Old 2013-08-30, 03:26   Link #12
Yu Ominae
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@Fireminer

- Here in the Philippines, there's a place in Manila known to locals/expats as "Recto" where you can forge a uni/college degree if you got the money and time for it. Although the police are trying to get rid of it, it's still there.

@Irenicus

- Yeah, I know that feeling. My father made his contacts during the Cold War when he started working in the banking industry all the way to stockbrokers and meeting up with foreign businessman (At least in Malaysia) to be partners since he's in charge of handling Papa John's and that he wants to bring home another food franchise for me to work with him... Doesn't help that in his case, my grandfather arrived in Manila to escape from the Chinese Civil War.

Just so you know, I'm expected by my parents to operate as a part of this network. I doubt that I'll be able to break out of it anytime soon.

Anyhow, they think sending me back to rectify my mistake in uni (Which I should just dropped the damn course that's needed for quantitative when I noticed that I wasn't doing so well) is a waste of time.
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Old 2013-08-30, 07:04   Link #13
SaintessHeart
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Question : WHERE do you want to work? I suspect some FTs here I know of having fake degrees, but flooding a market makes enforcement difficult enough for you to slip through in certain places.

And another thing is conscience; can you eat and sleep well with it?
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Old 2013-08-30, 07:58   Link #14
Fireminer
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Well, it is kind of a normal situation. Everyone uses fake degree (but mind you, a lot of them were goverment employee, even on high-ranking position. They bough it for self-promotional purpose). And sometime the word "guilty" and "regret" doesn't exist in our vocabulary. Heck, even "REAL" degree could be bought!
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Old 2013-08-30, 08:38   Link #15
Yu Ominae
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@Fireminer

- I know a couple of ROK officers who got busted for having fake uni degrees made in Recto, so that kinda threw that area in the international limelight.

@SH

- I can't anything pol sci related 'cause my folks won't let me take masters and that I'm needed to help run the business. I'm probably going to toil working there later on.

----

The only reason I'm pissed here is that my father and I had a gentleman's agreement that if I can't make supposedly by this Fall and get the proper remaining GPA points needed for another transfer back to university from community college, then I come home and work even with a community college degree. I don't have a problem with this.

Thing is my father sort of went against it and said that a.) he's getting old and that he's worried that no one is around to help me get into the business, b.) he wants me to be close to him and my mom so that they don't get worried since I'm in another country and not home and c.) my big bro's stuck in America and my parents are pissed that he's not showing signs of coming back to work with the business related to his civil engineering degree and that he got his American citizenship without permission. Didn't help that the 2008 economic crisis in America further convinced my dad that he should come home.

Also my mom's confused to why I took pol sci, since I have a passion for it and I can't stand business-related courses that have a huge amount of math in it. I have to admit that I suck in it really bad when I got to advanced math stuff in school.

If anyone's wondering if I'm bitter, then yea. I have a grudge against this decision. But I can't say it out loud due to angering them even more since my father pays off most of my post-secondary tuition and all.
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Old 2013-08-30, 09:09   Link #16
Fireminer
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Well, as I see it, your father is quite a strict family man. It's quite understandable for a father to worry about his child, but you need to show him the right path for you! Sit down, grab a paper, writing all the advantage and disavantage of your choice, then show it to your father. Believe me, my sister did this when her planned university that she were going to enrolled is different from my father's though.
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Old 2013-08-30, 09:37   Link #17
Endless Soul
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I knew a man who, in his late 30s, was a millionaire, and ran a successful self made electrical construction company. You would never know that by talking with him he never finished high school, that's how smart he was. People like that are few and far between. The question is, are you that kind of person? Most of us would like to think so, but the reality is that most of us need school.

Another thing I'd like to say from personal experience is that I deeply, deeply regret not getting my degree when I was younger. I dropped out of college to work, and didn't finish getting my degree until many years later. Who knows where I would be now if I had stuck to the plan and earned my degree while I was young. I'm positive my situation would be better than what it is now.

Stay in school, get that degree.

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Old 2013-08-30, 12:56   Link #18
SummeryDreams
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3 words. 'Make your dreams". Your parents are just your guides in your journey to life, it's always you who would gonna decide. So ask them of what you want, if they don't support you about that, make a way for yourself and prove them wrong. In the end, they will still praise you if you make it right. Why? Parents deep inside won't make a damn about what you do for as long as they can be PROUD of you, always been like this. So no matter what you do, just make them proud and prove to them that what you want to do is something that they should be proud of.
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Old 2013-08-30, 20:22   Link #19
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I have to ask, what do you intend to do with a political science degree?

If you intend to become an academic, there will be no getting away from the need to learn higher mathematics. At the very least, you'll need to understand statistics. You'll need to how to prepare, collate and interpret surveys and polls. You'll need to crunch numbers sooner or later, and there's no getting away from that if you want to be taken seriously in this field.

After all, it's not called political science for nothing. If it were all qualitative, it would have been part of the humanities, like Oxford University's famous Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree.

I ask because, unlike the other posters here, I feel that you'll need to be realistic. It's not what degree you graduate with, but what you learnt that matters.

So, in that sense, your father is right to be concerned about the "usefulness" of your studies. It's a tough job market right now, regardless of where you are in the world, and you'll soon find out that, as far as employers are concerned, degrees aren't created equal.

Which wouldn't matter as much if you already have a clear idea of what you intend to do. If you already have career plans you wish to pursue, then you'd be motivated to do what it takes to turn hopes into reality.

If you don't, then I'll have to be upfront and say, why not give the family business a try? It would seem that you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

It seems that the real problem is that you don't like the family business and want to run away from it, like your older brother did. That's something else altogether. None of us here knows your family, nor the strength of your relationship with your father. So, while it's easy to advise you to talk things over with him, in reality, it could be very hard.

But still, talk you must. You must be able to convince your father that you already have definite plans for your future. You wouldn't be able to persuade him otherwise.
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Old 2013-08-30, 23:21   Link #20
Yu Ominae
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@TRF

- Thanks for your thoughts. You're channeling my old man's thoughts there.

Though if one were to ask me the hesitation, it's because I have a community college degree and I'm ashamed to tell people that I've only finished it as a post-secondary degree in "General Studies". The other one is that my older brothers have university-level degrees (and one of them has a Masters).

The worse I have is a community college degree and I have never completed a BA degree among us three siblings. And frankly, I don't know if I can finish up my attempt to complete my BA in Canada in a few years from now due to problems that the eligibility to transfer them again to university as transfer credits and get another admission due to many years of absence if I have to work with my dad. Since they do expire, I'm worried that I have to do more coursework again.
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