Well first of all I have to start with the marvelous meal we had tonight.  It is Friday so we decided on a Bouillabaisse.  And it was delicious.

We used part of the leftover sauce from the steamed mussels we had last week and added a garage sale of seafood.  Cod, Halibut, shrimps, mussels, scallops, and calamari with some chopped Chorizo sausage.  A spicy tomato sauce and thin slices of French baguette.  Wonderful meal, but that is not the subject of tonight’s lesson.

I was reading my latest issue of Popular Mechanics magazine and there is an article by Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs guy from TV)  He was describing how his high school counsellor advised him that the way to riches was to go to University.  He tried it and eventually dropped out to pursue a career in the trades.  (now lets face it he is 6′ 4, good looking and with a good voice and made his riches from TV  So not a typical example) but it does lead me to the point of this blog.

When I was a young man, the trades (electrician, plumber, farmer, carpenter etc) were paid diddley squat.  Go to University was the cry by our advisors and so we went.  I thought I was the first of my family to graduate from University but my older cousin Wylie graduated from Engineering before I did, but still I was at the leading edge of the trend.

I graduated and immediately had a job that paid more than my father was making.  In those days you could go to university and take weird things like sociology or political science and be guaranteed a well paid job.  You could take the history of basket weaving and get a job.

So an entire generation went off to university to get ahead in life while the kids without the marks went into trades.

Along came our kids and the same advice.  Must go to university to make more than minimum wages.

We now had so many graduates of sociology and fine arts but no one to take care of the infrastructure of our society.  The scarcity of trades meant that wages went up.  Now plumbers, welders, electricians and mechanics make more money than teachers. Certainly more money than political science graduates (thank goodness).

Of my personal friends, the wealthiest, is a guy that dropped out of university to take on a market farm and is now much richer than I am.  (granted he has the intelligence and drive that would have made him wealthy even with a degree)

The Mike Rowe article was about this idea where why should we need to import people with trade skills from abroad to meet the demand while university graduates are unemployed.

I am now giving this advice to my grandchildren.  University is great if you want to pursue a specific career but do not assume you will make more money.  What they should look at is an education that will make them money and fulfill their interest in life.

On the other hand, Pat and I both have university degrees and as a result have a great retirement life where we can enjoy a wonderful bouillabaisse on a Friday night.