Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Have a Stupid Question

And this would apply equally to men as it does women if they decided to stay home and have children:

Um....if you KNOW you're going to stop working when you turn 30, why go to college or start a career in the first place?  I mean, if I do the math right, you go to college until you're 23 to get your undergrad (yes, I'm adding an extra year because that's reality).  And since the only thing better than education is MORE education (especially the liberal arts), you're in school till you're 25.

So you went to college for 7 years to work, what, 5?  Heck, even if you worked till you were 35, that's nearly spending as many years in presumed training as it is working.

Then poof, you're done?

Why did you spend your time and money on that?  Heck, why did the taxpayers subsidize you? 

Sorry, sorry, I know, people's little dream worlds and fantasies are more important than my mean, evil economist questions of efficiency and productivity.  I'm sorry, horses and pretty ponies for every one.


DC Al Fine said...

You're not including all of the returns on the investment. Right now your return just includes the money made after college

But really, the woman is trying to find a man to pay for her to stay at home. If she lands an engineer who subsidizes her lifestyle to the tune of $50k+ a year for the rest of her life, the $50-$100k investment in college is well worth it...

Well obviously not to the taxpayers, but it makes sense to the SAHM.

Anonymous said...

I'll take a go at it -- maybe it's Zahavi's handicap principle in action?

Perhaps the entire ordeal is so you get bragging rights, so you can have status among the other people who were presumably lucky to check out of Club Cubicle so early?

It could amount to an expensive show of status -- up-selling offal as prime veal? Warming a seat in pursuit of "credits", and maybe "transfers" ...

No, that'd sound too much like a John Mayer song, and we mustn't have that. :-)

Apollo said...

University and the workplace are the modern womans dating pool. They essentially do it to meet a husband with good career potential.

The fact that their dilettante careerism takes a student slot that might be used by a man who would actually make proper use of it is irrelevant to them. As is the fact that it costs society in terms of the subsidized funding for the education and in an inability to fill essential roles like those in the medical profession when the women retire early.

Unknown said...

Maybe people are just going to college because of the athletics that the universities have to offer. Whenever I hear about SEC schools, all I ever hear about them is the college football and parties they have to offer and very little about the academics and education in itself. Just my two cents on the matter.

People also take really stupid classes in college whether to fulfill a requirement or so they have more room to go out, party, have sex, and get drunk. There's even a "perspectives" class at one of the colleges here in Georgia. It's proof any moron with half a brain can go to college now and get a random degree. There's no point unless you're going to get an actual skill from going to college.

Anonymous said...

Besides the already mentioned fact that college is a popular place to look for men there is also the fact that some women view their degree as a backup plan. Even if a woman gets married and plans to stay home with children there is no guarantee that her husband will be a constant provider. Even the best of men can get sick, injured, laid off, outsourced or end up dead. And if that happens it's nice to have a degree and a little experience to help you find new work.

For instance, unpredictable circumstances once forced my mother back into the workforce. Thanks to a degree in accounting and a few years of experience she was able to get a decent job in almost no time. Obviously it didn't pay as much as she would have earned had she spent her entire life building a career in accounting, but it was still significantly better than having to do entry level clerical work for minimum wage.

Sparky said...

When I was in university, most of the girls were there to get their M.R.S. degree. Couple this with a statistical bias for women to "marry up", universities and colleges were a great place to invest their time to find a husband who would later pay their way.

The conditions that made the above possible might no longer apply. However, due to social inertia and laziness I can see the belief in that those conditions still exist can continue this behaviour long past their demise.

Anonymous said...

At Apollo. They aren't taking away anyone's slot. Colleges today have the room for everyone who has the means to pay. Government grants and student loans ensure that even those without the means to pay can swell up the rolls. All those stupid classes were created for the sole purpose of absorbing all that student loan money.

Anonymous said...

Haven't you heard of the "Mrs Degree" - that is why they go to college. Where else can they find some sucker too young to know better?

Anonymous said...

Since the Government said that corporations couldnt test employees to see if they were worth hiring, they use college as a sort of stand in for that.

So if you want a job more Complicated that pumping gas ( or more cushy, as it were) then off to college you go, irregardless of its value as an education. Its value comes from being able to choose to work for 5-10 years inside in a cushy office while you hunt for a man to support you, or outside/in the back/in less that comfortable conditions, while still hunting for a man to support you.

Scotty said...

I've posed this questions about a million times in the past 3 years and no woman I've asked has given me a good answer (surprise surprise) . Personally money would be better spent on some sort of charm school or home ec school.

August said...

This is short term gain versus long term planning, much like a pretty girl staying single longer to maximize the number of men she can extract stuff from and/or to score a wealthy man. In this case, though, we've got people saying you can change the world with a sociology degree. Women also know marriage and children are real responsibilities, so it is nice to hide the shirking of such responsibility behind the thin veneer of liberal respectability, so they buy the lie and pretend their office work will, in fact change the world.

You know, I just felt the need to actually click on the link. Penelope Trunk is psychotic. She has destroyed her own marriage and put the guy she ran off with through some serious shit as well- not to mention her own children. The reason she gave this advice is because she gets all her ideas from Satan, and wants to maximize everyone's unhappiness.

Business Administration said...

Did you read or skim the article? This jumped out at me:

"Here’s something about stay-at-home moms: they all want full-time nannies. It’s indulgent, yes. But it’s nice. Really nice."

2.2 kids, with all the modern household convenience, sending kids off to school, and still need a nanny? My god.

Captain Capitalism said...

Well I'm not about to chalk Penelope's views due to "Satan" and I would like some backup on her leaving her husband or running off with some guy.

All that being said, I do actaully agree with some of the items on the list. But whatever veracity those items had are shot once I hear "I want a nanny" or recommending you take that stupid personality test.

I sadly have to throw this in the heap "of stupid American girl crap that has somehow been passed off as sincere and legitimate journalism and thought which it is no more intelligent than Cosmo."

Ras Al Ghul said...


Everything comes down to that.

As for taxpayer subsides, the real subsides are going to all the professors and universities which are buggering their students with crushing debt.

50 years a go, a person could work the summer, and work during the school year part time and pay for tuition, books, room and board.

Now you can't.

And while I admire the social stability aspect of keeping your trouble makers indentured to the system, they messed up when the debt got to the point it couldn't reasonably be paid back

daniel_ream said...

@August, @CappyCap: Trunk's mask fell off long ago. She built quite a reputation as a life/career coach for women, but when she starting blogging about her marital troubles and the horrible state of her relationship with The Farmer, the full crazy came out.

One commenter who claims to be a psychologist said that she appears to have a full-on case of Borderline/Unstable Personality Disorder, which sounds about right.

Captain Capitalism said...

So she did run off with some guy, or at least isn't the pretty little perfect woman that has any right to be dispensing advice, correct?

Anonymous said...

@Captain Capitalism:

Penelope Trunk is full on insane. And I mean "insane", not as a general insult for being a generally terrible and irrational person. (Although she's a terrible person, and an awful mother.)

I mean it as in she needs to be sectioned. I think Daniel is talking about The Last Psychiatrist's much deserved evisceration of her:

Anonymous said...

Firstly, if you're a SAHM, you don't get a nanny. Any SAHM who says that, and doesn't live in sub-Saharan Africa or something, is a moron.

Secondly, I'm not sure why they do it, but I'm sometimes amused at the reactions to my questions.

If I question why they went to college when they had no plans on using it, the hackles go up and the screeching starts. They usually take my question waaaaay further than I intended and act like I want to automatically deny women, say, secondary level education.

Leaving aside the fact that it's not what I'm arguing at all, it does raise questions I suspect they don't want to answer. I usually (if I can be bothered) refuse to be intimidated with the Taliban intimations and ask them, since they brought it up, to justify second level education for women who won't use it.

And do you know, I have yet to get a response other than spluttering.

August said...

Yes, I think you can find most of it written by her on the internet because she is too narcissistic to realize how horrid she is. She actually has enough writing talent to be one of the few good female bloggers, but she's using it all for evil.

The nanny thing is another blanket statement that only reflects her own inclinations. Some women actually have maternal instincts- they might like to have more help, but they want their baby around.

Anonymous said...

How long after school did it take ya'll to "wake" up?
What I mean is when you are in school you have this "haze" about you. You really don't have to face reality, you aren't really responsible for bills, you usually have parents that sheild you from the grit of life. You walk about the world in a bubble of unreality.
Once you get out of school it takes awhile before you realize that work is just that "work". Its not fun, its not life enhancing, its not self exploring. Its mostly scratching, clawing, and fighting for your weekends.
I think the girls/women that go to school for a degree then toss it aside....are really avoiding the reality of life. I think they are substituting playing house for school!


Anonymous said...

I cut Trunk a little bit of slack because at least she is kinda red pill. Evil red pill, mind you, but red pill all the same. What other female career coach advises women to prioritize having kids over their careers in their 20s and admits that the reason women don't get into the upper echelons of corporate management is because they don't want to be there? Psychotic b*tch, to be sure, but at least she speaks a bit of truth.

Pulp Herb said...

I can think of one reason to go to college even if you plan on quiting work at 35, but one I'm not sure is valid right now.

If I could magically go back to 18 and tell myself, "Get that math degree now, in three years (which you can do if you max out course load and go in the summer) and then spend the next 10-15 years with the high end job you can get but still living more or less like a college student: no big house, no fancy car, use the library, eschew TV, etc. Then at 35 you'll have enough in the bank to live off the interest and do what you want."

Of course, I'd be talking at a 1985 18 year old not a 2012 18 year old. I couldn't in all honesty recommend that today, at least not in the US, because those investments aren't going to pay for life. In fact, even if I'd done that I suspect I'd be back to work at 46 out of fear my college lifestyle supporting savings were going to be inflated into nothing.

However, I can conceive of a reason to do this in a rational society. I just can't think of one in the society we have.

Pulp Herb said...

@DC Al Fine

The phrase you're looking for is "I'm earning my MRS degree."

Hes said...

I went to local, state schools, lived at home, had my undergrad in math and masters in accounting by age 24. I put in 8 years with a big 4 firm. Met husband early in college, married 5 years ago.

Now expecting our first baby, I have my CPA license and work part time doing technical accounting. I hope to continue to do so, maybe 6 months or so after baby arrives. I figure I can keep child care at a max of 3 hours per day, 3 or 4 days a week, make plenty of money and still raise the child myself, at least in contrast to my former "sisters" at big 4, who dropped their kids into 40+ hours per week of daycare starting at 4 months.

Husband is an engineer and makes plenty of money too. I would like to have at least 2 children and may look into in-home care if it means I can keep working and come out ahead financially.

I value my career and although I want to be a devoted mother, I have seen women who stay at home and about the time the kids get through elementary the "real housewives" syndrome starts to kick in, and these women go nuts. By that time they have no marketable skills and often, any salary or hourly wage would be a rounding error on their husband's tax return, so they don't even really have the option of going back to work, thanks in part to our awesome tax code. I don't want to end up like that.

Apollo said...

@Professor Hale

There are hard limits in certain educational fields, such as in Medical Schools, so yes, in some cases women are taking spots that could be used more productively by men.

Mrs. Bob said...

My mother didn't go to college and had me her first at 23. At the age of 30 after many years of doing daycare at home because my father wouldn't make enough, he decided he no longer wanted to work and my mom took a minimum wage job outside the home so that we wouldn't be homeless. My mother quickly realized that we couldn't live on her minimum wage salary forever so went back to school at night part time. She did this for 15 years and finally got her bachelors in accounting. My mom was never home, never went to a concert or anything that I was involved in. I vowed that wouldn't be me so I got my engineering degree. Now I have two kids and stay at home, but I am now looking for another engineering job because we can't make ends meet even though my husband is working extremely hard. Is it his fault I need to go back to work? No. Do I have a responsibility to my children to "man up" and go back to work and use my degree so they don't starve? Hell yes. I got a degree so I wouldn't be my mom. You never know where you will end up and it is far better to have a back up plan.

Mom who wasted $ on college said...

Speaking from experience, I simply did not understand the realities of having children. So I went to college because it was what you were "supposed to do".

When my husband and I met we both worked. I likely would not have met my husband without my job and I wouldn't have had my job without a college degree. Women know that in order to meet men, they have to work. In order to work where the quality men are they need a college degree.

Additionally, if women skip college they will not be paid enough to live in a safe neighborhood (increasing their chances of being raped) and they will be limited to working in female dominated professions or alongside undesirable men (prison convictions, drug problems, children from previous relationships, diseases, etc.)

Of course there are exceptions but generally men consider women in low paying jobs "not classy" or not marriage material. For instance men don't want to marry a 21 year old waitress in college (they just want to sleep with her), but they do want to marry her two years later at 23 when she is an assistant facilities manager (requires a degree). In summary society has limited all good jobs to those with a college degree, and men don't want to marry waitresses.

My husband always told me that when we had children I would stay home and take care of them. I very much wanted to marry him so I had agreed to stay home when we had children. I made a very good salary and enjoyed my job but I wanted to marry him more than I wanted to work! *laugh*

When I had my child, I finally understood why it was so important to stay home. No one in the world can feel what my child needed the way I did. As just one example, at night my milk would let down about 20 seconds before the baby would start to fuss. It was the exact amount of time required to slip out of bed and over to the baby so she didn't wake my husband 4 times a night.

It saved us both a lot of stress from a lack of sleep. My husband didn't have to get up and make a bottle and I could "sleep when the baby sleeps" because I didn't have to go to work the next day. If the baby woke up every two hours, I just cat napped all morning with her until I caught up on my sleep then did housework when she napped later in the day.

Also, in our area daycare is crappy and expensive. I wouldn't leave my dog at the "good" childcare centers around here. We save more money by having me cook (meals from scratch are very inexpensive), clean, do laundry, and (my favorite) play with my child all day - er, um I mean "take care of my child". *devious wink*

Many young women simply do not understand how strongly they will want to stay home and raise children, or how much nicer it is to follow a natural schedule and run a house than work all day. I didn't "get it" until I was a Mom and had a new baby.

Unfortunately, the majority of married people find out too late that in order to afford "nice" (status consumption) things they both have to work. It is the middle class version of living in the hood and being on food stamps then buying your kids Nike shoes. The middle class wants disney vacations, ipads, designer clothing, and such so they sacrifice long term benefits for consumer goods. Or the women are just lazy and don't want to do the unglamorous jobs at home so they sit in an office all day and pay someone else to scrub the toilet. As an unintended consequence they don't get to see their children. I have met very few families content to be working class and see their children. Instead they abandon their children to the dysfunctional women who work in daycare and wonder why their children end up with no connection to them or their values.