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Author: whafa Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 455275  
Subject: Re: Valuable, cheap college education Date: 2/1/2013 3:09 PM
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Whafa, are you saying that any joe could accomplish what you have? It's kind of coming across that way.

Well, it wasn't 20 years ago, but about 16 years ago after I dropped out, I took a job for a self-employed technologist, doing his grunt work like fixing broken printers, installing graphics cards and crimping network cables (none of which they taught in my comp-sci classes). Terrible, dull work.

After I couldn't take it any more I got a temp contract position for a large company working in a room with no windows doing ad-hoc data processing work. The contracting company was skimming (easily) 50% of my contracted rate off the top, which didn't seem fair, but the experience was enough to get me a technical interview at a small software company, which I promptly failed because I had no idea what I was doing.

So I went home and spent the weekend re-writing the answer to their test as a web form that I sent it back to them. They "admired my tenacity" and brought me in for another interview, and I got the job. I am skipping a thing or two here but these are the important points.

This was in 2000, and when the bottom dropped out for the dot-coms we got our business from and they had to lay off 50% of the workforce, well, they laid off the network guy and kept me because I could crimp network cables and install video cards, in addition to programming.

That company went under but I was there to close the doors and I kicked around CA for a few more years until I moved to NYC and took a crappy job at a cafe downtown serving coffee to famous people and getting further and further in debt, and working on my feet all day. Finally I got around to posting my resume and it turned out that crappy data processing job (from P2) was interesting to someone, another contractor, who got me a foot in the door of the legal industry.

I made friends with all the strangers there and when enough of them moved to a competitor, I went with them. I didn't need to interview at that point because they knew what I could do. I met a bright guy there who jumped ship when things went sour. I hung around way too long but eventually he called me and offered me the job I took 3 months ago.

Have I been very lucky? Yes! But these things snowball. *None* of the above happened for any reason other than the experience I had on my resume, and maintaining relationships with people (which is the single most important skill to develop today; see Goofy's 5th wave post). Everybody wants to start working at Google. There are plenty of small business owners in every industry that will give a kid a chance right out of high school.

So to turn the question back to you, does the above sound like anything extraordinary? Is that the story of a genious? Moreover, if any joe *can't* do that, what will he gain from a college education and thousands of dollars in debt?
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