Friday, August 6, 2010

Bringing home the bacon bits (by bicycle)

I was just putzing around the interweb when I stumbled upon this article on CNN's website titled:  "College Degrees That Don't Pay".  This headline reminded me of a conversation that we had with a man that hosted us in Rapid City, SD.  We bumped into him at the library that day.  When he saw our bikes, he told us that he had done some long distance riding himself.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity, we asked to stay in his yard and he quickly agreed.  After loading our bikes (and ourselves) in the back of his pickup truck, we bounced across town to his house.

The man bought us pizza for dinner.  While we were eating, we learned that he had once been a career counselor.  He, was of course, disappointed to hear what each of our majors were.  Myself: Peacebuilding/Development & Biblical Studies,  Nate: Peacebuilding/Development & Photography, and Joe: Math (with little interest in math education).  He went on to explain how he had talked countless kids out of similar majors because they were not marketable.  He said that anyone with a any college degree can get the jobs that we want (I thought this comment was a little naive).

So anyway, I clicked on the negatively-spun CNN headline expecting to find an article that confirmed this gentleman's predictions.  I don't know why I needed to read CNN's  take on the matter.  I am well aware of the fact that I will be more likely to bring home bacon bits than bacon when I "grow up".  CNN of course confirmed the low salaries of a select 9 jobs, but also included a quote from a person in each career and each person expressed how satisfied they were with their career choice (leave it to CNN to title their article: "College Degrees That Don't Pay" instead of "College Degrees That Lead To Happy Satisfying Lives").

Nicole Ropp and I had a conversation earlier today about how we (and many of our friends) are interested in making choices like this.  We aren't exactly interested in prestigous "marketable" college degrees.  Many of us aren't fooled by the idea that "with money comes happiness".  We know that money is helpful, but we also know that many other things are more important.  Many choices we make might not make sense economically, but are beneficial in so many other ways.  These choices include: baking bread instead of buying it from the store,  patching clothes instead of buying new ones, raising chickens instead of buying eggs from the store, spending time with family and friends instead of working, and riding a bike or walking to work instead of driving.  The main reason these choices might not be sound economically is because they take time (time that could be spent working of course).  We make these choices for a whole variety of reasons: because we get to be creative, we get to ressurect,  we get to experience nature,  we get to excersice, we get to care for things, we get to be in relationship, we get to breathe, we get to be happy.


  1. Ben - I read the same article. Couldn't agree with you more. Prayers as you continue on your way. Tina

  2. Ben, you 3 are wise beyond your years. Are far as possible, don't let anyone talk you out of a satisfying career.

  3. "Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am." Parker Palmer

    There is no doubt that the three of you will change the world in significant ways...just by being who you are.

  4. yard-pizza guy!

    P.S. very well said, sir

  5. I'm wondering how your discussion went at First Menno last night. Looking forward to seeing you in 8 days and hoping somebody comes to our discussion in West Liberty! Some people are on vacation.

  6. Hello Guys Glad all is well and that your goal is in sight, keep going, what you are all doing is really something. We hope you find that happyness your seeking. Love and prayers Pep and Mem