Hipsters on Food Stamps

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I found this article about PhD’s who are too proud to work:

“Why does her PhD make her more deserving than a welfare queen? Because, to “The Chronicle of Higher Education” the PhD has value. It doesn’t. I’m not saying she isn’t smart. I’m saying the PhD in no way communicates to me that she knows medieval history better than any Dungeons & Dragons player. She may know more. But how do I know? I don’t even find “MD” particularly valid, but at least you can sue a doctor.”

That’s “Hipsters on Food Stamps” from The Last Psychiatrist dot com. A biting, sarcastic demolition of the Big Education Lie.

I didn’t agree with it all, but I nodded, laughed and shook my head sadly through most.

Then I murmured a prayer of thanksgiving that I don’t live in that world:

* I’m thankful I don’t live in a world where people think a piece of paper from an institution defines your worth. I’ve got one of those too, and mine’s more employable than medieval history. But had I not produced some things other humans would actually pay for, it would only be a fancy bit of parchment.

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* Thankful I’m not surrounded by co-workers who have bought in what “The Matrix” teaches you – that society owes you something just because you swallowed the “Big Education” pill. (It doesn’t. Get crackin’.)

* That my colleagues don’t drip words like “producerism” and “consumerism” to mask their contempt for jobs that are “beneath” them. (Is your rent paid? No? Take what you can get ’til it is.)

* I’m glad I, and most fine folks in Planet Perry, somehow escaped the “get a degree…get a job…live happily ever after” pink koolaid.

I’m proud that Planet Perry people understand that it takes hard WORK (gasp!) and willingness to provide something the market is willing to pay extra for, to make it in the REAL world.

The school of hard knocks is underrated, because what they don’t tell you is how big the rewards are when you get an “A.”

My friend, you are getting the REAL education. You are putting your energy, creativity and money behind your products and your ideas and you are boldly asking the world to give you money. No ivory towers here.

No hipster PhD’s on Food Stamps either.

Perry Marshall



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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

7 Comments on “Hipsters on Food Stamps”

  1. Perry,

    It’s not just those with degrees. The union people think the same thing because they have “seniority”. Both of these groups of people think that an accomplishment in the past should grant them status in the future.

    Unfortunately, to some degree, both to these groups have some basis in fact to believe this. I see many people who get paid far more than they’re worth due to seniority or degrees.

    They haven’t been forced to deal with the new reality that things change quickly and unless you keep up, you’re falling behind.

    My brother had a full ride scholarship in accounting to Denver University. And 30 years later, he hasn’t cracked a book since. Now he drives a truck at night.

    “In times of change, learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer, American social writer

  2. As with many things, what may have been true in the past isn’t so much anymore. That yellowing sheepskin in a dusty picture frame, hanging crookedly on someone’s wall somewhere, is quickly becoming a relic of days past when possession of said ornament implied a certain degree (cough) of elitism upon those who crave that sort of self-validation.

    Today, if ivy isn’t your thing, you’re in luck. Me? I don’t need no stinkin’ badges. Unless you’re some local tribesperson in an uncharted area of the New Guinean rain forests with a weak wi-fi signal, billions of us have the opportunity instead to peer into a picture frame-shaped, hi-res computer monitor or smartphone display and gulp from the torrent of digital content that gushes forth so freely, so equitably…information rivaling – if not eclipsing – the value of what was, and still is, being delivered monotonously to drowsy students in cavernous lecture halls.

    All hail, the computer and the Internet! Those great equalizers of knowledge, those ubiquitous engines of personal transformation and unlimited professional opportunity, have arrived!

    Ahh, it’s a good time to be alive!

  3. Gee Perry,
    Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel!!

    Well said though!
    I deal everyday with college and conservatory degree carrying musicians who think they should make more money for their work just because they have a piece of paper on the wall. In my world it’s always about how well you play and whether you show up on time ready to make and/or teach music.

  4. Dear Perry-

    I think it is very strange. I can’t seem to wrap my head around the constant drumbeat of people who say that they are un/underemployed or unemployable versus the overwhelming opportunities I am identifying almost every single day, in every single market. I find it odd that we as a country have gone from “hire ourselves” to “wait around for someone else to hire us” so quickly.

    I find it strange that after the launch of the internet and all the new inventions that appear almost daily, people are still not managing to translate their skills, the new technologies and the internet into a viable, economically fruitful career. It isn’t a question for me of whether or not someone needs to go back to school or get more training, but of whether or not they have the necessary flexibility to CREATE a job in their chosen field using the skills they have already acquired.

    I think the national discussion about school and previously obtained education and all the rest is a vast waste of time. Continually looking backward and hoping for some other reality won’t change the here and now…only direct action through application of those skills can do that. And if you aren’t making any more money today than you were yesterday then you are losing ground and have to make up twice as much. Waiting for another degree or another rejection seems absolutely ridiculous to me. And the worst part about it is that this is happening as whole industries are contracting and countries are literally dying on the vine.

    In my humble opinion, and very broadly, it’s a self-esteem issue, not an education issue. If you believe that you can do it, then you can and if you don’t then you cannot. In addition to self-opinion, the basic fiction that someone owes you something versus the fact that you have to create a valuable item/service that people are willing to pay you for has gotten incredibly short shrift in this country over the past 50 years or so.

    Perhaps the time has come for everyone to look at this from another angle.


    Quantella Owens

  5. I am the proud owner of the initials JD, having earned the privilege to use them by graduating from law school. I chose not to work as a lawyer, and I work hard everyday at whatever I need to do to earn a living as a writer and blogger. I second your blog post here, and encourage others to place their votes now, especially other JDs who have managed to avoid welfare largesse.

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