Jimmy be Pimpin

In the classes I teach we always (yes, always) discuss the evolution of language. The evolution of words fascinates me. One word I find particularly intriguing is the word “pimp.”

What once meant a misogynistic and sadistic man involved in prostitution management, has evolved into many definitions, though a common one is “the art of selling something effectively.”

Thus today, I pimp education. And fully pimped you shall be.

Many years ago I used to believe that a college education was pretty much bullshit; a racket just to get society to pay for something that we could get for free simply by reading some books. While theoretically this may be true –we all have the capacity to be self taught (autodidact) -very few possess the needed characteristics to do so. In this sense, education is somewhat like masturbation, you can get the job done alone, though it is a much deeper and satisfying experience when engaged with another person.

I have 3 good reasons to get a higher education, regardless of your age.

1. Relationships: Yes, relationships. Think about the skills and characteristics that are needed in order to successfully complete college: Problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, dedication, perseverance, sacrifice, patience…all the same character qualities needed to sustain successful relationship. Don’t believe me? I will support this though it is worthy to be contained within the blog. “The figures are quite striking: College-educated Americans have seen their divorce rates drop by about 30% since the early 1980s, whereas Americans without college degrees have seen their divorce rates increase by about 6%. Just under a quarter of college-educated couples who married in the early 1970s divorced in their first ten years of marriage, compared to 34% of their less-educated peers. Twenty years later, only 17% of college-­educated couples who married in the early 1990s divorced in their first ten years of marriage; 36% of less-educated couples who married in the early 1990s, however, divorced sometime in their first decade of marriage.” Want to be in successful relationship? Get educated.

2. Personal Achievement: I constantly tell my students that the value of many college degrees is not so much the results of the information learned, rather, the real power of a college degree is about what this degree says about you and your character. In other words, it is not WHAT you learned but a statement of WHO you are. Imagine having to submit to my stubborn ass for an entire semester and demanding things be done MY WAY? God bless you. Yes, you will learn a thing or two about public speaking and critical thinking, although to succeed it says that – you know how to show up, finish what you start, and accomplish something the majority of Americans have not. It separates the talkers from the doers. A degree just feels good, really good. It’s pimp.

3. Financial: “Well I have a friend who has her degree and she is still waiting tables.” Maybe true, though the implication of a degree not helping one financially or occupationally is just flat out bullshit.  My favorite Freakonomics guy, Steven Leavitt, an accomplished economist, has this to say (BTW, I highly recommend this podcast): “Of all the topics that economists have studied, I would say one we are most certain about are the returns to education. And the numbers that people have come up with over and over are that every extra year of education that you get will translate into an 8 percent increase in earnings over your lifetime. So someone who graduated from college will earn about 30 percent more on average than someone who only graduated from high school. And if anything, the returns to education have gotten larger over time. They’re as big as they have ever been.”

I am a huge believer in the “never too late theory.” Whether 18, 28 or 68, a solid education is always (yes, always) a good thing at any stage of life. Perhaps this is why I love the Community College system -as the same class can have a retired medical doctor going back for a new degree along with a recent high school grad whose family never went to college…with EVERYTHING in between. A recent lecturer came to our school and asked our faculty if we were capable of teaching a class at USC. Not only could we, in some ways it would be a fantasy to teach pampered and prepared students – we could reach for the intellectual top shelf in every class. Then he observed that he guaranteed a USC professor would be ill-equipped to teach at a Community College. So pimp.

Not sure what degree to get? That is an easy one if you’re not sure: A Communication Studies degree. This study suggests that a degree in Communication is one of the most loved by employers, falling second only to Health Care Administration. Not to mention that we Communication College Professors are the fifth most satisfied profession in the country….and I get paid for doiiiing thiiiiiiis.

I may be no Huggy Bear though you most certainly have been pimped. How was it for you?



  1. Relationships, personal achievements and financial…let me ask Ron Jeremy if he has a degree. Hanging with him, The Sin City Sinners and a bunch of porn stars at the Hard Rock! It’s the Adult Expo this weekend. Who needs higher education when you have a bimbo on each arm and his scary talents?

  2. Oh, Ron said he’s from the school of ‘hard knocks….get it?’ This was followed by a smarmy smirk. mmmm, the man is funny AND handsome!

  3. I agree with a person having the capability of teaching him/herself by taking advantage of books and now the internet, that being said if you don’t have a degree issued by a recognized institute of higher learning then all your self-taught knowledge isn’t worth shit when looking for a job. I also believe that its “never to late” to go back to school (besides its fun!)

    • I totally agree it is fun and by far the preferred way to go. I know a handful of people who are not formally educated though fairly thoroughly self-educated and do very well for themselves (and by “very well” I do not mean financially, rather talking about the whole person..relationally, happiness, contentment). I find out your comment about “never too late” interesting because I believe the older and returning students typically get far more out of the course than their younger classmates as they have a wide range of experiences to apply learned concepts.

  4. The part you mentioned about education improving relationships in particular interested me. When I was in the Army, I had many friends that had gone through a divorce. Now that I think about it, almost all of them joined the Army right after high school and got married. I suppose it could also be said that they were all too young and immature to get married but going to college would have changed that for sure.

    • Well that is the other part about getting educated first… in addition to attaining the aforementioned skills, it almost certainly means you are getting married older, which improves the odds as well. I really do not think marriage before about 27 is a very good idea in the majority of cases.

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