A College Educated Hairdresser

Yesterday a student came in following her spring break. “Nick,” she told me, “can I go into HR with my Criminal Justice major?” My response, as it is with so many students, is that she could do anything she wants with her Bachelor’s degree, just find something you enjoy and do it. My philosophy is that folks should never have to work in their lives, just get paid to do what they love to do. This being her fourth or fifth employment target in the year, I asked her what she really wants to do. “What skills and abilities do you have that you would love to be paid for?” I asked.

After a few moments of thought, she mentioned that she really enjoys working with people, being active, and being around kids. Then she took the conversation on a hairpin curve. “I have always enjoyed doing people’s hair and have often thought of cosmetology school. Whenever I think about my future, I always come back to that.” Okay! “So what is stopping you?”

I asked if she had discussed the idea with her family. Her mom is supportive, but another family member had made a derogatory comment about another hair dresser raising four kids from multiple fathers that had stuck with her. “Can you be too educated to be a hair dresser?” she asked. I assured her that one can never be too educated. It is all in how you use your education. “I was thinking that I could work in salon catering to professional women and I would be able to have deeper conversations with them than people usually think they would get at a salon.”

Bingo! Here is a student on top of it. The education is not what will get you a job. It is all in how you use the education you have! I asked her if she feels that if she pursues cosmetology she will have wasted the last four years and close to $75,000 for her bachelor’s degree. She did not feel that way.

What about you? Do you view college education in pure economical advancement terms or is there a place for earning a college education but not entering a field that requires it?

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