PHDinMeBlog- Money Monday/Plumber VS.College

pic and article from

Happy Monday Scholars!

As a mother of more than 1, I found this article to be quite interesting.  In my day, a college degree was the KEY to a successful life.  I am so thankful I went and wouldn’t change it for the world, but the truth is, my generation had a hard time securing employment after college and many are STILL paying loans back from undergrad not to mention grad school!  That said, this article is timely and worth considering in my opinion.  What do you think?  Light and Love, 



Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg has some advice for high school seniors: forget college, become a plumber instead.

“Today if your kid wants to go to college or become a plumber, you’ve got to think long and hard,” said Bloomberg Monday at the annual meeting of Wall Street trade group SIFMA.

“If he’s not going to go to a great school and he’s not super smart academically, but is smart in terms of dealing with people and that sort of thing, being a plumber is a great job because you have pricing power, you have an enormous skill set,” he said.

The founder of financial data and news services company Bloomberg L.P. even went as far as to say that students considering Harvard should do the math.
You could pay $50,000 to $60,000 a year to Harvard or you could make that much as an apprentice plumber, he explained.

Is college worth it? Bloomberg — who attended Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School — knows what it takes to build a business, and he sees a lot of opportunity for middle class Americans entering the service trades.He mentioned the plumber father of one of his employees to help make the case.
“He’s got six plumbers working for him, he’s a scratch golfer, he goes around playing golf courses I only dream about,” quipped Bloomberg, drawing chuckles from the audience. “He’s built a business, he’s had a chance to do that. He never went to college.”

The former mayor claimed that such careers are more important now than ever as technology has made it so middle class professions don’t pay like they used to. He believes that’s why the latest labor statistics show that wages remain stagnant even as employment has gone up. “In law firms now you hit a button and get research. It used to be law clerks looking through books,” said Bloomberg.

Is the American dream still alive? His remarks were echoed at the SIFMA event by David Rubenstein, co-founder and CEO of private equity behemoth The Carlyle Group. He pointed out that neither of his parents graduated from high school and his father worked at the post office making $7,000 a year. Still, he was a big believer in the American dream.

“Today many people in our society do not believe any longer that if you work hard, you go to school, you get a scholarship and you can get to the top,” Rubeinstein said. “The idea that social mobility is gone, that is a big problem and a residue of the great recession.”


5 thoughts on “PHDinMeBlog- Money Monday/Plumber VS.College

  1. In my opinion, one of the weaknesses in this article is the belief that college produces two outcomes:
    1. Debt
    2. Career Potential
    College is also a place of development. You learn social and academic skills. You learn how to rely on your own brain in the absence of family and high school friends. It places you in a different environment and cultivates new skills on a new level.
    It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation. There is a bigger choice than Harvard or Trade School. Community colleges can provide a smoother less costly transition for the graduating high school student. If can give them a chance to discover themselves at a significantly reduced cost. Choosing a major to complete the 3rd and 4th year of college can be influenced as a result of lower debt. Gradual transitions seem to be easier on most children as well.
    Everyone does not need to attend college. The choice, however, is more complicated than just debt and trade opportunities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Social skills should be learned way before college and is a life long concept. Socialization starts in the early years and doesn’t stop until the end of life (unless there’s medical issues). So I must certainly would not want to pay that much money [for college] for socialization purposes. There has to be some sort of pay off to that kind of investment otherwise what’s the point?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There has to be some sort of pay off to that kind of investment otherwise what’s the point? — I think this is the question that prospective students and there parents are wrestling with today and many are looking for alternatives to the traditional model. Thanks for your comment Tasha and Welcome to the PHDinMeBlog community! I am THRILLED you are here! Light and Love, Shona


    2. Well stated Dr. Jonathan. American education in general and higher education specifically continues to be a work in progress. The hope is that we are actually progressing and the oversimplification of complexities may not be the best route in which to advance. Light and Love, Shona

      Liked by 1 person

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