Free Money Company

Wednesday, July 15, 2020


When I was a kid, I was given a first person look at what a doctorate would get me in life. My father was a private sector lawyer, who ran a two-man practice with my grandfather in 1970’s New Orleans. I thought the place was nice. In fact, it impressed me to a certain degree. It seemed like they had lots of business since people were always coming in for appointments. I liked using the Macintoshes they had (the first ones ever in 1982), and I thought the four phone lines required for their two secretaries and themselves were fun to play around on. Hence, I started life with a positive view of a doctorate and considered one or two for myself. Then I got a little older.

I had a discussion or three with my dad’s younger brother who had a doctorate in business. He taught business at several New Orleans schools, and contributed to the creation of several textbooks on the subject. He seemed like a very learned gentleman, and quite the charismatic guy. His wife was beautiful and kind, and their parties were always fun. He had a nice house and his background was of course like my father’s, both valedictorians of their high school, a Catholic institution. So here were two examples for me to derive my early opinion from. Then I got to a place called college.

Every single person I knew who wanted to make a lot of money was declaring they were going to law school or med school. Neither of these opinions made sense to me. Why? Well, I thought you were supposed to enjoy your life. I thought the money side was not supposed to matter. I thought that if you wanted to surf your whole life, just move to Hawaii possibly and do that. I did not understand this chase for the buck. But there was just SUCH a crowd of students who were into this dream.

Now I must admit, as I moved through my teen years, I had picked up a penchant for computer games and a collectible card game called Magic. Both worlds had a kind of techno/business side to it. The Internet was just beginning to come into its own, and I even worked for an ISP, an Internet Service Provider, which were all over the place in the late 1990’s. So, I chose to study Management Information Systems, which was a combination of computers and business. However, I had no idea how intensely hard and how intensely expensive it would be.

As I got a bead on the best way to get through college and not be completely destitute as I left, assuming I graduated, I realized this whole MD or law school dream that most kids were forming in their heads either were insane or had been put there by their super rich parents. My parents were not super rich. My father was a public sector lawyer by then, and my two younger brothers were not proving to be any dynamos at life, so I chose a conservative path. I went to a state college down the street from my parents’ house and I wrote off the idea of a doctorate. Now here is the wisdom I gained twenty years post that decision.

It really did seem to be that while medical school was an impossible dream, even for the sharpest kids, the real money was in business. The kids that got doctorates, if they taught, they had gotten stuck there because that is what doctorates do, they tend to trap you in education. Now I do like to study, as silly as that may sound. Plus, I like writing and researching, another absurd idea. But, my sound plan of avoiding a doctorate at all costs, just so I would not be lost in the murky world of advanced education till my dying day…appears to have worked out.

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