Why not? I did.
I dropped out in ninth grade; I never even got a GED. I have no formal education in what I do and everything I now know I taught myself through reading, practice, and experience. School has always simply had this image of being proper and superior. That of course, is only perception. The truth is, it’s merely one form of learning. It also has a very specific and often narrow curriculum, many times, even influenced by politics.
The bottom line is that it does not matter what, how, or where you learn, only that you do.
College degrees and credentials are very important and mandatory for certain jobs, but more often than not, only have psychological significance without practical importance. Many people with degrees often never even end up with a career in that industry, or forget most of what they learned because they didn’t really have a passion for it.
Those with degrees, that do use them, are often only as a credential, in which was part of a filtering process to get their foot in the door. I’ve heard plenty of times that someone’s education had no actual application to the literal job they would do. They simply had to learn how to do their job as anyone would, doing something new.
These points are made within reason. To become a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, etc., not only is the education mandatory, it’s quite literally necessary for them to be able to do the work. Without a degree, I could definitely never get a corporate job, say with MTV or Disney. If I wanted that (which I do not), I would have no chance without a “proper” education.
I wrap quotations around proper because the reality is, it’s a made up social mindset like most things and has almost no real relevance. Not having this “proper” education has a very damning negative connotation applied to it in our society. This thing that was ingrained in most of us growing up, all these statistics, and scare tactics. “If you don’t graduate, you’re a failure [OR] it’ll be too late.” are often the most used forms of pro-college propaganda.
We know now that it’s all BS. It’s a system in which most people cannot escape. Education is a business like hospitals and police departments are as well. I think many people felt lied to when they graduated with straight As. They always believed that they would receive a scholarship to college and it just doesn’t always turn out that way.
We were also told if we messed up in high school that was the end of the line. We now know you can go to college anytime, at any age, that is, if you can afford to. Most people can grab a GED and manage to get into community college. I love watching documentaries about anything. I just got done watching Inside Job (which inspired this article). I’m not going to pretend that I understood all of it, but it touched briefly on a subject I’ve felt strongly about for a long time.
Computers are the future; it’s now or never. This is where all the remaining, surviving jobs in which you can still excel at are going to be. The main point that they touched on was that manual-labor jobs are essentially almost completely dead. Outsourcing will continue to take US jobs away (this isn’t news to most people). That many are now only left with the option of looking to a computer, but without being able to afford a traditional education, are completely lost.
There are still many parts of the world so impoverished that they have no internet whatsoever. Unfortunately, they do not have the privilege. But, if you do have the privilege, if you do have internet, or if a friend has internet, or if you can make time to stop by the library, you have the key to the future at your fingertips.
Again, to recap: everything I know about my career, I taught myself, without any school, teacher, or even a computer of my own when I was first starting out. The information on anything is readily available. You can technically learn almost anything. But, the only way you will learn is if you want to learn and enjoy what you’re learning.
I spend hours upon hours a day learning. It’s possible only because I enjoy what I’m learning. I went from job to job and I hated all of it. I’ve done everything from digging ditches and working as a carnie.
If you’re thinking right now “I can barely even use email.“, the fact that you have access to email at all is a privilege and your access to the world. I never had anyone hold my hand, from the first time I turned on a computer to designing websites. I only had myself to rely on.
You Can Do It
But, only if you find something you want to do. It’s not all geeky, tech jobs either. Ask yourself if you like to do any of the following:
- Review Things
- Answer Questions
- Give Advice
- Help People with Troubleshooting
Well, those are all things you can get paid for online and there are endless others. Nowadays, almost anything that could be done at the office, can be done at home and many companies have taken this approach with their employees. It’s cheaper for them (less overhead and office space to lease). It’s cheaper for you (no commuting, so less on gas, no office attire or supplies to buy). It’s better for the environment (less commuting, less pollution, wear on the roads). The benefits go on.
How to Get Started
These steps are all free.
Separate the new work you from the personal you. Create a Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn account just for the work you. Don’t add family or friends to these accounts. Again, keep separate social media accounts for your personal life and work life. Try and network with people all around the world that have the same professional interests as you.
Whether you like it or not, writing is very very important. You’ll naturally hone in your skills to read, research, and write about what you know and attract readers and others that have similar interests along the way. Start blogging either at: WordPress or Blogger completely free.
Learning is never ending. You can only depend on yourself to learn the right kind of information for success. Good luck and I’m always here for advice.