Should I get a Job in College or take a College Loan?

I would definitely suggest getting a job. College is just not that hard, academically speaking. It is a long series of doldrums punctuated with periods of post-procrastination cram sessions. If you are reasonably intelligent, college is only going to push you so far. Activities you do outside of class during your college years are those that will shape you as a person. Even more so, the way you spend that time, regardless of what you are doing in college, will either set you up for a good next ten years or send you spirally back into your pajamas wrapped in a blanket burrito of sadness in your mama’s basement eating Cheetos with the smelly cat. The classes, honestly speaking, just point you in a direction of interest as well as give you a minimum foundation with which to build upon later in your private and professional studies. Truly speaking, it is everything else that happens during college, besides the classes, that matters.

That said, it makes no sense to take a loan when you are going to be spending most of college just hanging out in the dorms. On the best of nights, you might attend a fantastic party where you build relationships and memories and blah, blah, blah. On a normal night( like 95%), you will probably be playing Call of Duty, talking about how inspiring some pretentious and uninteresting indie recording artist is, or not studying. The safe bet is that you will be not studying. On the worst of nights, you’re back at the party making decisions you’ll regret and that will haunt the furthest corners of your consciousness forever and ever and ever. All that to say, yeah, it may have been fun for a little while, but you aren’t going to get anywhere from these activities, at least, not as far as if you had made better decisions.

The time you are wasting could be invaluable later on. Consider this. Towards the end of college, you’re going to be faced with a slew of counsellors telling you things that, all of a sudden, you translate to, “Hiring managers, right now, aren’t hiring because students today don’t have the skills they are looking for.” In that moment, you realize, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” I am just about to graduate college and I can’t get a job because my college has failed at its only purpose.

I know, right? #sad, #FML, #Firstworldproblems,  #First_world_problems_that_are_actual_problems

Don’t feel bad, there are hundreds of thousands feeling the burn from this last decade. What you can do to mitigate this feeling of agony mixed with the onset of a slow and painful doom, is to acquire those skills which matter to hiring managers. What are they? It depends on what you want to do. Video games don’t teach them. A job, any job, will teach some. One thing that many people will tell you is that it is far easier to get hired once you already have a job. Neat huh?

What that means is that a hiring manager looks at you with the stereotype that you are a failure because you don’t already have a job. You basically have to disprove his theory that there must be something wrong with you. He has this belief, mostly because he landed his first job back in the 90’s when the economy was bursting at the seams and thinks that everyone who isn’t as lucky as he was isn’t worth his used air. His name is Old Economy Steve. Look him up when you feel like being angry at the system. It won’t do much, but it will make you feel a bit better.

Old Economy Steve sucks for you, but it doesn’t really change anything. The fact of the matter is that no one owes you a job and there are, realistically, thousands of people more qualified than you looking for work. So Old Economy Steve matters. He is still the guy (read: jackass) who hires people. For him you need to prove:

1) You have useful skills he won’t have to pay to train someone for.
2) You are employable.

The single best way to do that is to already have a college job. There is little else to add to that statement.

The second major point is how ridiculously expensive college is. I know people have seen the numbers, let’s say you go to a school that charges a “moderate” amount. Are we talking about Harvard or Stanford here? No. I said “moderate”. You’re moderate school may still run you $80,000 over the next four years. Don’t cry about it. You’re the one who wants to go college, and even though managers say you won’t have the skills they are looking for when you graduate, none will hire you without a degree. I know, you’re screwed. Get over it.

What happens next? Let’s say you take the loan. The moment you graduate, you are expected to repay that loan, or at least start. The way that loans work, you are going to be paying that back amortized over the course of 10 years. There are other models where you start paying a little immediately, but let’s stick with the simple model. Let’s assuming an interest rate of 5%, which is good compared to many lending services. Here’s the fun part, immediately after you start working you are now obligated to pay it back, at $845 a month (actually after you graduate… they will charge you either way, whether you get a job or not. No one loves you. No one cares about your problems.) That’s right, on top of home expenses, living expenses, car, life, ext, day one of your actual adult life you get a bill close to 1 Grand. You will also get it another 119 more times. That, by the way, is before any taxes or fees your lending institution straps on. By the time it is all over, 10 years from now, that $80,000 is now $102,000 that you have paid out. That’s a freaking house in some parts of the country.

The other route looks like this. You work a lot. Not all the time, but a lot more than some of your friends. You’re smart, you take the loan anyway. You want to save money, but you don’t want to risk not finishing college. So you take the loan and you still get a job, but you pocket all your extra coin. You stay disciplined because life at the other end of college rightfully terrifies you and you keep saving your money throughout all of college. You spend the next four years going from one job to another, to another. Each time you are gaining valuable skills and some valuable friends. Note I didn’t say loveable friends, I said valuable friends. Eventually, you will find a job you like. You might stick with that company for a while. You might get in good with your boss. At the end of your time, you are faced with a choice, you could either stay at your job, perhaps take a promotion, since they know you already and you are now “qualified” (nothing magic happened. You just got a stinking piece of paper.) Maybe you decide you want more. Either way, you have shown an ability to work and stay employable with a good work history. Your employment adventures have also presented you with a strong base of connections (remember those “valuable” contacts?) From there you might go back to some other company. You might have an in with a friend you’ve met to get an interview, or you might decide to take everything you’ve done and try for a job of your dreams while still keeping your other job, just in case. Whatever way you choose, you have still saved up a lot of change. You’re going to use that to pay off your loan in as much as you possibly can at the beginning, before it starts accruing interest. Maybe you still have some left, but it is way easier to pay down $20K, $40K, or even $60K than $80,000. You’ll have work so paying down that loan will be much easier than that other guy who looks like this.

I’ll be honest, twenty years down the road, you’re going to run the risk of a mid-life crisis where you complain to your wife in your beautiful home about how you never lived or did anything fun, wild, or stupid. That said, you need to choose what you want your mid-life crisis to look like. Do you want it to be that middle aged dude, balding with a Corvette to relive the youth he never had, or that middle aged dude, balding with his hand over shaking over the phone and the suicide prevention hotline reliving Chris Farley’s “Van Down By the River” sketch. You’re probably sad now. Welcome to adulthood. Here’s a video to help.

Thanks for reading!

Everything I write is completely independent research. I am supported completely by fan and follower assistance. If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like it, follow my Quora blog Jon’s Deep Thoughts. You can also show your support by visiting my support page here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories and Essays in Military, Science Fiction and Life. Once again, thanks for reading and supporting independent writers.

How can a civilian understand military organization and why is it such a mess?

A question was asked on the website Quora about why the military makes no sense by a person who has never  been in the military. Interesting.

For instance, I am always wondering about things like:

- why do helicopters belong to army, but not to air force?
– why marines are a department of navy, even though they are kind of infantry?
– etc

I thought that the question itself wasn’t bad. It isn’t very intuitive why the military does makes some of the budget allocations it does. Why not just make one fly, one drive tanks, and one drive boats. For that matter, why do we even need the Marines? That said, I wanted to share a bit for those who have ever wondered why the Nave has infantry, the Army has helicopters, and why the Marines (another word for ocean) are in the desert.

Civilians would need to understand the tactics and strategies of the military as well as the different roles of each branch and how different technologies play to each branch’s strengths.

The reason that the Navy has infantry and the Air Force does have helicopters, but only a few, is because they aren’t the best choice for them to complete their mission. You shouldn’t classify that the guys with guns should be in the Army, and the stuff that flies should be in the Air Force. To do so would be a logistical nightmare and wash away all tactical advantages of these units training together and being part of the same command structure with specific specialities.

The Amphibious Warrior

Since my specialty is the Marines, I will explain why the Navy needs them. The Marines currently exist to provide a foothold into any territory. The Army can do this by land, but the Marines are specialized to do this by sea. Wars like Iraq and Afghanistan hide this, since they are sort of either desert or landlocked mountain countries, but the specialty of the Marines, as one of their motos state, is to be the “First to the Fight”. If you want an example, look at the history of World War II. The Army owned Europe, but the Island hopping campaigns of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, to name a few, were the historic battles of Marine Corps legend. While Army was specialized to control a territory as large as Europe, the Marines are specialized to control a span as large as the Pacific. Marines are the smaller, lighter, faster infantry while the Army travels heavy. The Marines aren’t able to do what the Army did the way they did it, but the Army couldn’t take the beaches in the same way, either. Now that we do understand that there are soldiers who specialized in amphibious warfare, you have to put them under the branch that would use them most efficiently… the one who carted them to fight, which is the Navy.

How Exactly Does One Get Behind Enemy Lines?

So why does the Army need helicopters, but the Air Force doesn’t? Because the Air Force doesn’t need them and the Army does, along with the Marines. What does a helicopter really do? It is great for getting troops and supplies behind enemy lines, into extreme conditions, and are generally very versatile platforms for infantry. They can get anyone where they need to be and get them out quickly. Infantry, like Marines and Army need these abilities. Their drawbacks are that they are slow, relative to a plane,  and have short range. The Air Force, however, has no actual infantry. They also specialize in a completely different form of warfare. The Air Force focuses on long range fighting with missiles, jets, bombers and satellites. Yes, they do have helicopters for some purposes, but in general, they most famous for their fixed wing assets and missile capabilities. They want to go far and strike from a distance. Where do helicopters fit into that? So you see, someone actually did think this one through. Infantry needs quick support, drop off, and recovery. The Air Force isn’t made to do that.

F-35: Specialized for Your Destructive Pleasure.

For another example, let’s look at something else. Let’s take a look at how the different branches must be specialized in manners that don’t lend themselves immediately to common sense. This is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It may not be clear how a comparison of the F-35 explains why the Navy has an entire branch dedicated to land warfare, but as you said, you’re a civilian and don’t know better. So let’s look a bit closer.

See how there are three of them? That is because it is a single plane that has three different variants. It is intended to be able to be only slightly modified to replace three separate planes each performing three different, but similar roles.

The F-35A will be going to the Air Force. This variant is intended to fly farther while moving faster and maintaining its maneuverability. It will be a great fighter aircraft and will likely be the sword in any defensive fight we have in the foreseeable future.

The F-35B Focuses more on speed and power. It sacrifices range and top speed for the ability to land and take off virtually anywhere. The plane is equipped with short takeoff and vertical landing which means that it can land and take off from many more places across the world and extends the reach of Marines on the ground with fighter and strike capabilities. The Marines plan to be launching the aircraft from “unimproved surfaces at austere bases”. I used to be in the Marines and that is better read as “field in the middle of nowhere.”

The F-35C focuses on providing a craft suited to land on a ship. This variant will be good for combat at sea. Where the Air Force’s variant will no longer be able to reach, the C will be able to launch strikes and fighter missions from anywhere within reach of the water.

Why did we need to create all these different versions of the same plane? Because we need one plane to do the job of many, but the different branches of the military each have very different needs. There is no true cookie cutter solutions because we need specialization. Each branch needs their own version so that they can fit into their capabilities and tactics, and it works. To people who don’t really understand the intricate ways that the military fits together, though, it seems like they just spent a lot of money to make three planes into one, then back into three.

Summary: I Swear This Stuff Makes Sense

The reason that the Navy has infantry and the Air Force doesn’t need helicopters (they do by the way) because that isn’t the best choice for them to complete their mission. We specialize with the very well organized use of the right technology in the hands of the right people for full spectrum coverage. Call it force multipliers, or tactical deployments or whatever, but to organize them in the way that most people think makes sense would be inefficient. What one would consider common sense, another would consider, “uninformed”. Common sense, such as a world where all flying stuff was part of the Air Force and ground fighting would be done by the Army would, in reality, put the wrong people in the wrong type of fight and create unnecessary middlemen where simply giving the Marines the damned helicopter would make a lot more sense.



This has been an independent, publicly funded article brought to you by patrons via the social crowdsourcing platform

Thanks for reading! Everything I write is completely independent and made completely free through the generous support of fans and followers through tips and donations made available through Patreon. If you would like to show your support for independent writers like me you can find out more here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories in Military, Science Fiction and Life

What are the Advantages of Hiring a US Military Veteran? – Part IV

Intuition is a skill. It can be learned. The military teaches it.


What many people think is that leaders are born. Not in the military. Simply put, many times in the military people are presented with situations where they must make life and death decisions in the blink of an eye. How do you do that given that there are no pie charts to help you make the decision? No data scientists to way the variables an not spreadsheets, journals or time to decide. Intuition. How exactly do you trust that someone will make the right decision when you plan to throw them into that kind of situation? Faith in a system of training which focuses on immediate decision making in response to only the information available at the time, intuition. The Marines and the military train intuition into their culture. You might not even know what intuition really is. Well, here go.

Intuition is the ability to take massive amounts of information and quickly come to a decision from all possible options quickly and correctly. It is the precise execution of understanding gained through experience and study. You don’t do it with charts and graphs, you do it by absorbing all the knowledge available to you ahead of time and making it so readily available that the employee can access it at any given moment they wish. This sounds a lot like memory, but there is more than just recalling information. This means using that mental database to its fullest capacity. They are also able to sort through it and glean the right information without all the excessive over analysis that comes with having an abundance of information and options, often labeled “analysis paralysis” that can accompany a lot corporate level thinkers. This is one of the hardest things in the world to do and most people think you are either born with the ability you aren’t. This is a false assumption given to many by a society that worships heroes who magically just know what to do. Intuition, in truth, is a trainable skill and the vets have it already.

What they don’t have? They may not have the specific job essential abilities and skills you need. Provide them the training and let it add to their knowledge base. After that, let them use what they know, namely the ability to think, a skill often missing from many fresh college grads. You just have to provide the training and watch them succeed in implementing it.

Quora Q&A Optioned as Potential TV Series


One of my stories could be made into a new TV series! Read the Variety interview.

Originally posted on Variety:

In a world where Twitter feeds net book deals (“Tween Hobo,” “White Girl Problems”) and a Meme-generated feline (“Grumpy Cat”) inks a movie contract, it’s no surprise that Quora, the community-powered Q&A site, is the latest idea pool to attract the attention of Hollywood.

Hatched in 2009 by former Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo, Quora is where both the hoi polloi and high-profile users like President Obama and Ashton Kutcher gather to ask questions and get them answered. Users vote to determine the best answers, helping to curate an ever-expanding library of knowledge on over 500,000 topics.

And its where Emmy-winning producer Josh C. Kline, head of media & entertainment at Box, the Silicon Valley-based cloud content collaboration company, came across the following question: “If every state of the USA declared war against each other, which would win?”

The most popular response, a dystopian account of a second Civil War…

View original 364 more words

What are the Advantages of Hiring a US Military Veteran? – Part III

Vets Understand Responsibility

In most veterans you will see a strong vein of personal integrity. It isn’t that they are better people than anyone else, far to the point. Many are socially unacceptable misfits by most people’s terms. It is that integrity is driven to such a degree that it is presented as a matter of life or death. Ethics and standards of behavior are codified, their policed, and a part of life to the point that it is a standard which will follow an individual. In the civilian world, that doesn’t go away. It creates employees with a proven track record of trustworthiness that are often assets to the organizations they join after they leaving military service.

I don’t mean to imply that civilians have no integrity. To contrary, there are many who are the most reliable people I have ever met, but in my experience, it can be hit or miss. In one job I had, by the time I had worked there for no more than a month nearly the entire staff had called out sick at least once, people wouldn’t show up for work, complained incessantly, and generally, would do anything to avoid work. It wasn’t legitimate sickness. It was dishonesty and an inability to be relied upon. The worst part… corporate wouldn’t even let me fire them! I know that I said that the Marines and the military in general can’t be fired and that makes vets good leaders, but firing people is a tool and needs to be used when you have it. Let’s face it, because of lawyers and HR reps afraid of wrongful termination lawsuits, people can get away with murder without being let go far too often. This blows the minds of some vets.

In the military there are no sick days. I am not exaggerating. You absolutely must come to work and then must go to Sick Call before they will ever acknowledge that there might be something wrong with you. And if it is a PT day you will run three miles before you get to go.

When on deployment we also work every day. Every single day. There are no holidays, no weekends, no birthdays. It is the same thing every day. If you show up late, even by five minutes, or so, you will be running for miles or end up digging a massive fighting hole and 300 sandbags in an effort to make the base more secure. (It’s not really about making the base more secure.) So you learn how not to get punished. In the civilian world they don’t reward this behavior, but they also don’t punish the latter.

“Why should I reward them for doing their jobs?” some might say.
“Because you won’t punish them for not doing it.” I’d reply.

People like us show up early, stay late and if you ask them to do something they work hard to see that it is done. In the worst case scenario, they will be responsible enough to tell you when they need help.  There is a point I made in the last section that I would like to take the opportunity to repeat for emphasis.

By the time I was 22 I was a Sergeant in charge of a team of 13 other Marines. We were all occupying very technical jobs in the computer networking field and  responsible for overseeing the maintenance and distribution of over $3 million dollars of Marine Corps property.

Most organizations wouldn’t consider this type of thing a wise decision, but in the military it is common for very young people to be given a great deal of responsibility, relative to civilian counterparts. You wonder how. This might help. Image you give an 18-year-old a rifle and tell him that it is only thing that will protect his life for next seven months. Follow this up with a few months of proof and little else but living with the constant reminder of this fact and I promise you that rifle will not be lost, broken, damaged and will come back to you polished and good as new. I promise. Military people get responsibility because when they were very young, there were serious consequences to the decisions they made. Civilians don’t go through this kind of trial by fire and training and many of them don’t make good decisions because of it. The military has given young men and women real life and death responsibility and choices before a regular civilian would have graduated college.



This has been an independent, publicly funded article brought to you by patrons via the social crowdsourcing platform

Thanks for reading! Everything I write is completely independent and made completely free through the generous support of fans and followers through tips and donations made available through Patreon. If you would like to show your support for independent writers like me you can find out more here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories in Military, Science Fiction and Life

What are the Advantages of Hiring a US Military Veteran? – Part II

Leadership is Ingrained in Vets

What many people don’t know is that the United States Marine has an average age of only 19. What? Yes, that Marine is incredibly young, but it still needs to be led. Who do you think is doing this? 19 year olds. By the time most people are twenty in the Marines (this goes for the other services, as well) they are already an NCO. This stands for Non-Commissioned-Officer. Don’t let the “Non” throw you off. What an NCO means is, “The guy in charge who will make my life Hell if I screw up,” or just as often, “the guy whose job it is to make sure I stay alive.” By the age of 20 some kids have already become technical experts in a professional field, are teachers to younger service-members and have led small teams in everything from shop operations to combat deployments.

By the time I was 22 I was a Sergeant in charge of a team of 13 other Marines. We were all occupying very technical jobs in the computer networking field and  responsible for overseeing the maintenance and distribution of over $3 million dollars of Marine Corps property. You probably might think that that was a stupid investment on someone so young, but we pulled it off, with no fanfare I might add, and we did things like that all the time. It wasn’t until I received a degree in Business Management at 25, that the civilian world could trust me again with doing the same thing. I suppose, on the outside, people can’t be trusted with that kind of responsibility. Every day, though, vets do. The fact is that I could not have done this alone. I had those thirteen Marines who did the work and it was my job to coordinate. I had a very solid framework for leadership that include such gems as the Five Paragraph Order, Six Troop Leading steps, and the Thirteen Leadership Traits. These have become pivotal to my personal growth as a manager, teacher, and how I lead others. The military philosophies on the science of leading aren’t something that leave you. The military trains Service Members to lead by example. Skills like motivation and delegation are actually given time to be trained and implemented in the most hostile environments imaginable.

The military doesn’t just educate their members on the practical ways to manage behavior, such as the discipline and communication methods. Leadership is truly studied on the academic and theoretical level. More so than in other organization, this theoretical and practical leadership are put in practice as a matter of survival.

You want another note on leadership? In the military, no one can be fired, not at the bottom tiers at least. That means that you have to get the job done with the idiots God gave you. You are out there for seven to fourteen months with no replacements and just the same team along with all their problems. You have to train them, discipline them, correct them, counsel them and shape them, because you have no other choices. You didn’t even get to hire them. They were just assigned to you, more or less, at random. That is another reason why vets have such strong leadership skills. Could you honestly say that you could run a company the way the Marines do, with their success record, if you couldn’t even pick who gets hired and can’t even get rid of the ones who suck? You probably couldn’t, but the military does. Choosing team members and leaders who have proven they are able to do this means that you are choosing team members who are adaptable and know how to lead others.



This has been an independent, publicly funded article brought to you by patrons via the social crowdsourcing platform

Thanks for reading! Everything I write is completely independent and made completely free through the generous support of fans and followers through tips and donations made available through Patreon. If you would like to show your support for independent writers like me you can find out more here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories in Military, Science Fiction and Life

What are the Advantages of Hiring Someone who has Been in the US Military?

be different - business team

I am launching a new series based on my answer on Quora to “What are the advantages of hiring someone who has been in the US military?” which has also been published on

Over the next few weeks I will line out many of the advantages that military employment will add to your culture. I am going to speak as a Marine and a former hiring manager. I was once a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and have worked in the retail, real estate, the tech industry start-up and education sectors. I’ve hired more than enough people to know that it’s one of the hardest decisions you have to regularly make. I also know that almost all the decisions you make as a hiring manager happen as the sum result of the generalizations and stereotypes you have attached to the bullet points on their résumé. Don’t feel bad. It’s important to not follow that instinct that all individuals fundamentally good and fundamentally the same. That’s how you get robbed and your employees drive your company into the ground.

The facts are, you rely on those generalizations to give you the best guess of who is going to add to your company’s culture and who isn’t going to burn the place to the ground. So what happens when you see military experience show up in your inbox? The problem with many hiring managers is that they have no idea what it means when they see a veteran’s resume. What qualities should you expect? What flaws? What do they add? How are they different from someone else? I wrote this piece to help communicate what to expect. Hopefully after reading the posts you will be able to make an informed decision. You’ll be able to know better if this applicant is not only a good worker for you, but also someone who can grow and drive your company in the future, someone who can grow with you, and maybe even someone who can help you take your operations to the next level.

Make sure to follow JDT to receive updates and more. Everything I write is supported completely by fan and follower assistance. If you have enjoyed what you’ve seen here on JDT make sure to share. Also show your support directly by checking out my support page here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories and Articles in Military, Sci-Fi and Life.