The Biggest Rat Is Still a Rat
Got a great reader question I think is worth answering:
“I know you’re not a fan of higher education or corporate jobs in general. But what do you think about these opportunities at the top?
So you’re an engineer who was living in California. If you had the opportunity to go to Stanford and do a graduate degree in computer science, would you have taken that (opportunity cost, student loans, and all things considered)? Would you have founded an SV start-up or taken a job at Google as means to the former if you thought you saw a real opportunity to do it and do it well?
Similarly, what if I offered you an entry to mid level job at Goldman Sachs/McKinsey or some hedge fund instead of your current business?
Would you take any of these? Or do you think you’d stick with your current path even if you were presented with one or more of these opportunities?
I can see good reasons on both sides. I really like how you think, and I’d love your perspective on this. (You seem different from a lot of similar bloggers including because you don’t seem like you’re in this just to support a particular lifestyle in the short term )”
First off, I love what I do and I honestly don’t think I’d pick anything else.
Other than being a race car driver. I’d delete my blog in a heartbeat for a Formula 1 ride.
But that ain’t happening, so I’m “stuck” with this current gig 😉
So, what do I think of the real opportunities at the top? First off, keep in mind that “at the top”, you’re still in the rat race.
You’re just…the biggest rat.
A European friend taught me that phrase this weekend (he’s reading this, so thanks dude – see how easy it is to take real-life convos and make a cool email out of it?)
This is no joke.
You’re still going to have a corporate overlord, you’re still going to have to work with idiots (except now instead of ignoring them you have to motivate them). I think having a boss plus having to manage people is hell.
If you manage to own the company you can hire and fire at will and at least keep your sanity.
So that’s Strike #1.
Regarding Stanford, I would never go get a masters. I was actually talking to that same friend this weekend about how I’d love to teach a once-a-week University course, and asked how I’d start. His answer?
Get a Masters.
Yeah, no thanks. I never liked school.
The reason why is simple:
Just seemed like a farce to me. Like my “Entrepreneurship” professor that had never run his own biz. What could he possibly teach me (now)?
Honestly, someone could offer me a full ride to any school in the country and I’d probably turn it down.
A startup intrigues me. But again, not if I’d had to go to 3 more years of school to meet the right people to make it happen. And it wasn’t going to happen at the University + town that I went to school in.
As far as working at Google, maybe it would have been marginally better than my other tech gigs (hey, free food and shit) – but over time there is little doubt in my mind I would have gotten sick of it like I did every other office job.
I might have sold out for finance because I always, always wanted to live in New York. I hunted for a job there on-and-off for several years. The real irony is that I could actually now afford to live there with my current business income, which really only took me about 1.5 years of working non-stop on it to achieve.
But I woulda probably gotten sick of that, too.
And one more thing, it’s important.
I wanted the opportunity to travel. I wanted to explore the world. I wanted to see with my own eyes if girls in foreign lands were superior to the ones back home (hint: yes).
Once I touched down in Poland for the first time in 2014, I was a goner. My hopes of ever living in America while working a corporate job (and being happy) were D-O-N-E. Hell, up ’til that point I WAS happy with my IT job.
And it turned out those girls WERE better. But if not for the skills I’d cultivated in America, I don’t know how I would have done with them.
I teach all of said skills in my course, which is available here or at the link below:
Anyways, we’ll stick with one question today because this answer is already way too long.