I recently read this quote from Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh on hiring:
“We’ve actually passed on smart, talented people who could have had an immediate impact on our bottom line because they don’t fit in with the company culture.”
Most of my post-high school life I argued against the benefits of a college education. In my early twenties, I was excelling in my career, moving up the corporate ladder much faster than my peers and enjoying the journey. I often found myself higher on the ladder than those who had a college education and I did not understand the value of pursuing a degree.
My thinking shifted when I changed industries and began working with individuals who were very well-educated—most with a Masters or PhD. I admired the natural (not assumed by a title) leadership, professionalism, pride, confidence and respect (self and for others) that these individuals possessed—qualities that I often found lacking in individuals without a degree—and traits that I wanted to grow in myself.
I was born with a good business sense—an entrepreneurial spirit. I come from a family of successful business men and women—entrepreneurs that have always inspired me to be in business for myself. My grandfather co-founded Mobile Home Industries—with two of his college roommates at University of Florida, he invented mobile homes. His story is inspiring and I believe he was a great business man. Unfortunately, his great fortune combined with a poor foundation, led him to a lifestyle (gambling, affairs, poor financial decisions) that ultimately led to him losing everything. His story was possibly the biggest motivating factor for me to return to school to complete my degree. To this day, I am the only person in my immediate family to have earned a college education, which leads me to my next motivating factor.
I have a strong desire to leave a legacy for my children. I completed my degree three months after the birth of my second son. It was not easy juggling the demands of a full-time career with two children under 5 and full-time school work (not to mention trying to be a good wife). I had to dig down deep to find the strength and perseverance to complete my goal. The dedication paid off—not always in terms of a monetary reward—but in added confidence, a greater sense of pride, and a foundation of which I hope to build a successful business one day. I will never forget holding my degree in my hand and my four-year old son, Jack, saying “Mommy, I am so proud of you.” Earning my degree took more than personal sacrifice. As a family, we made sacrifices together. It was late nights writing papers. It was grilled cheese sandwiches instead of steak dinners. It was a team effort. I hope that the experience will instill in my children a greater understanding of the value of an education.
I like this quote from Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, “The value of a college education— to you, to employers— is that you’ve spent four years in a place where you were forced to consider new ideas, to meet new people, to ask new questions, and to learn to think, to socialize, to imagine. If you graduate, you will get a degree, but if you are not a very different person from who you are today, then college failed.” If you want to read more from his article, The Real Value of a College Education, go here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-d-fitzgerald/the-real-value-of-a-colle_b_1297297.html
Naomi Schaefer Riley writes this of college, “It was time that was supposed to be (at least in part) spent in pure intellectual pursuits, time to read the books that you probably wouldn’t get to when you had a family to support. Time to think about big ideas and talk about them with friends in the middle of the night. And even, clichéd though it may sound, time to search for meaning in life.”