Reddit, what are you afraid of? Other redditors, why shouldn't they be afraid of it?

Well then gather around and I'll tell you the tale of how I started making 6 figures at a 9 to 5. Be forewarned though, there isn't any mathematical formula as to how I got to where I am.

In high school (around 17) I began to wonder what the hell I was going to do. I hated school. High school was ok but I was a firm believer in the "C's get degrees" mentality. Then the thought of doing four more years of schooling in college??? Fuck that noise. I didn't want any of that. Although full disclosure, I wish I had gone to a JC for two years then finished up at a reputable state school, but I digress.

I went to school part time dragging my feet as I went. At 18 I wanted to be a cop. Looked fun, interesting work, ok pay (not 6 figures though), get a badge, gun, and hey - don't need a college degree. Signed up, passed the police academy a year later, then the job market tanked (this is late 2008). Took all the jobs with it. I was back where I started when I graduated high school, expect now with a few college units under my belt.


Anyway, while going to college part time I worked part time as well. Desktop support mainly as a student intern. Paid above minimum wage, but only working part time was brutal. I was fortunate enough to live at home so a car payment was my main bill. I did a little bit of traveling, but other than maybe finishing up an AA degree or a Bachelors, I had no direction. One day I got the bright idea that (deposits the fact I had maybe 5~ of experience in a technical field and no degree) I could hack it in the Silicon Valley. Hunted for months, applying everywhere, even for jobs that required a degree. After 3 months of applications I landed some interviews. My hopes weren't high landing a decent job nor had I an illusions about what my pay could/would be.

I got a low paying job at a startup, made friends at my new job, made connections by just being a chill and laid back guy. I never burned a bridge with anyone, even if I thought there's nothing they could offer me. After 3 months of working there (which I was loving) making about the same as I did when I was a student, I got a call from a very well known university. I had interviewed with them before, but was turned down in favor for someone with a degree (no surprise there). Turns out that guy didn't work out so well for them. So they called me, offered me 70k + benefits. I was FLOORED. I thought I had made it. Beyond my wildest dreams as someone with no degree.

I remember going to this interview (around the same time I had gone for the interview at my startup job) knowing I'd never get it in a million years, even though I knew and they knew I could do the job just as well as the next guy. Because I had been a laid back and friendly person, they remembered me and wanted to call me first before interviewing new people. I could go into detail about the debate my boss had with those who also interviewed me, stating degrees don't matter and that I could do the job, but that's another story for another day.

Anyway, I'm working at the university (dumb and happy as can be) and six months go by. I get a call from someone I worked with at the startup. Said they were recruiting for a well known tech company. She loved that I was a gung-ho, friendly person who knew his way around computers, and she wanted me to fill a six figure position. I dam near shat my pants. I took the job (a career) and never looked back.

So in conclusion: go to school, do what you love, be good to EVERYONE. I don't mean be a pushover and don't suck up, I mean be friendly and approachable/memorable. It's more about who you know than what you know. Making great impressions on people lasts a lot longer than you'd think. Traveling when I did helped me develops who I am as a person as well. You might think I'm just a lucky one or that I'm the exception not the rule. The way I see it is I worked with what I had and with a little luck, made something out of nothing.

Be a good person and be smart about the choices you make. You'll make mistakes, but fuck 'em, that's how you learn. Also don't worry about college and what you'll major in (unless you're looking to do some insane highly specialized job like a doctor) too much. 9 out of 10 people I meet who have degrees don't use them for their job. Not even close. Hope this helps. Sorry for the essay.

/r/AskReddit Thread