I didn’t want to get stuck in a job I hated.
I didn’t want to be mistreated by employer after employer.
I was a computer science major. I was planning on becoming a programmer. Then I read this:
Now let’s talk about death marches, mandatory uncompensated overtime, the beeper on the belt, and having no life. Men accept these conditions because they’re easily hooked into a monomaniacal, warrior-ethic way of thinking in which achievement of the mission is everything. Women, not so much. Much sooner than a man would, a woman will ask: “Why, exactly, am I putting up with this?”
Eric S. Raymond, Women in computing: first, get the problem right
For those who are unfamiliar with ESR, he is sort of the godfather of the open-source software movement, and a master programmer. He knows what he’s talking about.
I wanted to be able to be a family man. That blog post didn’t give me a lot of confidence I’d be able to do that, or much else I wanted to do.
My enthusiasm about school had already started to cool. I had to take classes I wasn’t interested in. A lot of the work seemed like busy work.
I talked to my wife about the doubts I was having. She left me know she would be very unhappy if I quit. So I tried to soldier on.
I didn’t do a good job of it. I wouldn’t do assignments. If I did them it would be hurriedly, at the last minute. A lot of times I skipped class altogether.
This went on for a few years. Then when the university told me I had to switch majors it ended.
I was disappointed, but also relieved.
A few months before the end of my last semester of college, I discovered James Altucher. Glenn Beck had him on his show to discuss an article he’d written, called 10 Reasons Why You Have to Quit Your Job This Year.
I started reading through his blog and listening to his podcast. Among other things, he says he regrets going to college:
When I was 19, I won some money in a chess tournament. So instead of using that money for my college tuition I decided to drop out of college and buy a car.
I bought a used 1982 Honda Accord. I drove it around for a few hours since they let me drive it right out of the lot.
But when I saw my girlfriend and everyone else taking their classes I got a little jealous. I returned the car and cancelled the check and entered my sophomore year of college. But I regret it now.
James Altucher, 8 Alternatives to College
James was a college graduate. A computer science major, like me. He graduated college and did programming work for them for a few years. When he got a programming job in the real world, and he couldn’t even program.
I was more conflicted that ever. I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish school. I wasn’t sure I wanted a programming job anymore. I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to get a programming job if I finished school.
But I didn’t want to upset my wife.
That summer the university gave me a reprieve.