2014 Career Paths: Prison, Military or College

My gun-loving Democratic friend, Laurie Ruettimann, sent me an article last week about the plight of Americans from the Washington Times basically saying 4 out of 5 Americans are at or near Poverty. I sent a message back ‘joking’ that it was another attempt by her to convert me to Democrat.

She replied with “No, it’s my attempt to get help. It’s employers like ‘you’ who can help this, not government, not Democrats, not Republicans…”

Here’s segment of that article:

“Here’s a snippet of what the American dream has become in the past few years: Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., said the economic trend is only going to get worse.

“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said, AP reported. The youth have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”

The American Dream is a nightmare for the majority of Americans. Our government can’t help. Let’s face it: the brightest people in our society aren’t in government; they are in private industry because that’s where the money is. Our government is mostly filled with narcissists who like to think they are really important while doing nothing but spending our tax dollars on band-aid programs and trying to stop the bleeding of a broken system. That’s just reality. 

No one, on either side of the political fence, has the brainpower to stop what’s going on.  They just jump on the bull and hang on with no control over where the beast wants to go.

I use humor in most situations. It’s my defense mechanism. When you grow up in the inner city — white, short and red headed — you either get your ass kicked or become funny. I didn’t like getting my ass kicked, so I got funny. Over the past year I’ve come up with what I think the career path is for my own three sons in today’s world. It’s what our government and public education system now provide to every American child.

What Career Path Will You Choose?

There are three concrete paths:

1. College

2. The Military

3. Prison

Realistically, those are the only three career paths a middle-class American child has today.

If you are a smart white kid with some money in your family, you have options. You can go to college. You can go to Europe. If you are a smart minority kid, the government will pay for you to go to college.

But most kids from the “lower-middle” or “lower classes” will either go to military or prison, regardless of race. A few will make it through the Community College ranks. 

(One caveat, super smart kids can go to college on scholarship no matter what race.)

But the broader point is this: if you are of average-to-lower intelligence, your career path narrows. College isn’t an option. Let’s face it — if High School kicked your ass, college probably isn’t a good bet. So you are left with the Military, which is actually a great option for many young people today who are lost.

Or you have prison.

This is what our society is showing our young people. College is the only way to move up. And if you don’t go to college, you have to go to the military or you’ll end up in prison.

We no longer have skilled trade programs. Service jobs don’t pay enough for you to actually live. Any decent hourly wage job will eventually be sent overseas or technology will be invented to make it obsolete.

Our President wants to start a Community College program that will allow most Americans to attend. I actually like this idea — but it’s really just taking the old programs that high schools use to provide and moving them into ‘High School II’ — aka community colleges. I think high schools could do most of these ‘non-professional’ programs better and cheaper than community colleges — but at least it’s a start.

Corporations, ultimately, will have the final say with all of this. If American companies want and need a trained workforce, they will make it happen regardless of what our government does. If they don’t, the career paths I’ve laid out will remain.

I am not trying to be pessimistic. If anything, I am being pragmatic in my views of our current situation.  Four out of five Americans are within reach, or in, poverty. That’s real. 

What is your company doing to help out this situation?


3 thoughts on “2014 Career Paths: Prison, Military or College

  1. I disagree with the article. First error, not all minorities receive government funding for college. This article shows the symptom not the problem. The problem is the economy and the fact our country does not manufacture enough. You left out a whole category of workers – skilled labor. Skilled labor are electricians, plumbers, truck drivers, machinists, etc. Skilled labor are people required to work new manufacturing techniques like computer chips. Where is the incentive for any business person to place a factory in this country. Our government needs to be a catalyst to help start,grow, and sustain business.

  2. I work in the commercial construction industry and I’ve noticed that filling our skilled trades needs is getting harder and harder. As you said, it’s either college or the military because most of the guys I know would prefer their kids not take the path they did. They do back breaking, manual labor that will limit their “retirement” years. The definite downside is when they do retire, who will step up and fill their shoes? The unions have traditionally trained the next generation and with all the “right to work” legislation, how they can continue to do so will be “interesting” to watch. If there is a shortage now, the future prospects are definitely bleaker.

    Unfortunately even the military options are now being limited as the powers that be are looking to reduce our standing forces as a way to decrease budgets.

    We are entering the unknown with a leadership who appear to be blind to the coming future of the skilled trades.


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