John Steinbeck, author of such American literary treasures as “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden” once famously said that “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
Steinbeck had a very good point, because he remarked upon what is otherwise the most authentic of American ideals: anybody can succeed who has the will to do so. He was commenting on the uncompromising nature of the American identity. We want to be free to live our lives the way we want, yet we subject ourselves to a societal construct based on the expectation that the overwhelming majority of people will toil for the benefit of the relatively few titans of industry. The two things just don’t add up in the end, no matter how hard we want them to.
The American road to success is free for all to drive on, yet the competition toward the finish line is fierce. That’s an understatement. It’s fiercely fierce. The overwhelming majority of the U.S. citizenry underestimates the obstacles and believes their chances of success are based entirely on their own wits. That would be true if only they had the wits to think harder in the first place and know they need more than just that to achieve.
If there’s one article of achievement in life that trumps all others when regarding future accomplishments, it’s education.
The statistics don’t lie. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ published unemployment rate pegs those with an undergraduate degree or higher as more than twice as likely to find work as those with just a high school diploma. Earnings increase the higher the level of education you receive, which makes sense when you consider that advanced degrees tend to lead to more specialized job openings which pay more. So, depending on your situation in life, online MBA programs might be worth looking into.
While an advanced degree looks like the best bet at making millions, not everyone has a college degree that would allow them to jump right into a graduate program. You can’t give up though. You have to start somewhere and even an online college can net you a degree that will multiply your chances of not only getting work, but of getting work that pays well and prepares you for bigger and better things.
It’ll take a whole lot more than a college education to become a billionaire or even a millionaire. But daydreams of being wealthy that occur inside the brains of those who aren’t college educated are often pure pipe dreams. If you don’t get a degree, you risk being a permanent member of the proletariat, or perhaps worse, a permanently embarrassed millionaire.
This is a guest post by Jessica Wagner, a freelancer writer from San Diego, CA.