“What do you need to be successful in today’s work world?”
If I was asked this question as a high school student, my immediate response would be “college.”
We live in a society, in which the expectation is to obtain a “bachelor’s degree” in order to obtain
professional success. Growing up, I was constantly told that I needed to attend college to gain a job and
earn a decent salary.
However, my perspective has drastically shifted since obtaining a bachelor’s degree and
completing graduate coursework. I have plenty of friends and peers who have also pursued the
“traditional” college pathway as a means to obtain a job. However, this journey often does not translate
into employment and financial stability.
Many of us, who attended college in the last couple of decades, have accumulated a large amount of
loan debt and struggle to find jobs, which pay enough to meet loan payments
and live an adequate quality of life. The amount of debt, incurred from earning some bachelor’s degrees
and even master’s degrees, often outweighs the earnings that people receive upon entering their
Most people who pursue higher education, especially high school students, are not informed that many
bachelor and master degree programs do not lead to well-paying salaries. However, prior knowledge on
the return on investment in certain programs would save them money and prevent them from taking
out unnecessary student loans.
This issue is further complicated in that many individuals decide to attend a four-year college in hopes of figuring out a potential career for themselves. Many high schools do not provide students with guidance about choosing majors or careers as preparation for college. I wished that someone would have advised me on my interests, talents, and skills so that I could have a made a well-informed decision prior to pursuing higher education.
Higher education is not solely limited to a bachelor’s degree although it can be advantageous in certain
career fields. However, in our current work world, there are a myriad of opportunities that lead to
career success, which may only require certifications, associate degrees, or other alternative training
opportunities. Furthermore, beyond education, having working experience is especially important.
People need to work for companies and take on internships and apprenticeships to showcase their skills
beyond education in the current job market.
These aforementioned requirements were also not told to me throughout my own life. I had to come to
these realization from experience and research. Thus, I have created CareerDriven as an organization to
support the career development of both youth and adults who were not exposed to the full array of
educational and professional pathways that currently exist.
If asked the initial question in this blog about what it takes to be successful in today’s work world, my
response would be that “It depends.” However, it is important to note that a bachelor’s degree is not
the sole pathway to success. It may take research, reflection, and guidance to learn about yourself and
your career aspirations. People should be mindful of all of their educational options and choose the
most lucrative journey to attaining their professional goals.