July 5, 2024

How Pursuing a Degree Free Path Leads to Success with Quinn McLaren (DF#156)

How Pursuing a Degree Free Path Leads to Success with Quinn McLaren

Why Skills Trump Degrees in Today's Job Market

Join us as Quinn McLaren, a 22-year-old financial analyst at a Fortune 500 company, shares his journey of breaking free from college and finding success through a Degree Free path.

Discover the flaws in the education system and the importance of questioning the traditional path.

What You’ll Learn:

- Quinn's belief that college is not necessary for success and his own experience of thriving in the real estate industry through a Degree Free approach.
- Insights into job hunting and the value of gaining practical skills over accumulating debt through higher education.
- Using recruiters to find a job, caution when choosing recruiters, and strategies for addressing the lack of a degree in job interviews.

Explore the alternatives to traditional education paths, the financial implications of pursuing a degree, and the importance of parental support in guiding career decisions.

Join us on the Degree Free Podcast to uncover more about Quinn McLaren's inspiring journey and insights on achieving success through a Degree Free path.

Enjoy the episode!

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Discover the game-changing insights from our latest episode that challenge recent college graduates to rethink their job search strategy by removing their degrees from resumes and focusing on their skills—tune in now and see if you can boost your chances of getting hired!

Links and Notes from the Episode

Episode Summary:

In this episode, Quinn McLaren, a financial analyst, shares his experience leaving college to pursue a career in real estate finance. He criticizes the education system for pushing students toward college and emphasizes the value of gaining experience over obtaining a degree.

The conversation focuses on job-searching strategies, including working with recruiters to navigate the hiring process. McLaren emphasizes the importance of personal growth and continuous learning in the workplace.

McLaren also discusses the impact of parental support on young adults as they make decisions about their education and career paths. He highlights the value of taking time to explore interests before committing to a career and the need for companies to prioritize growth over productivity.

About Our Guest:

Quinn McLaren is a financial analyst who took a path to success by leaving college and pursuing a career in real estate finance. He believes that high school fails to adequately prepare young people for the job market, and emphasizes the importance of gaining experience and skills over pursuing a college degree. Quinn advocates for creating environments for growth in the workplace and encourages young adults to explore their passions before making career decisions.

Connect With Our Guest:

Action Steps & Recommendations:

  • Encourage young people to explore their interests and passions before making career decisions
  • Support challenging job opportunities to develop a strong work ethic and mindset
  • Provide guidance on responsible financial decision-making, especially regarding college education
  • Emphasize the value of gaining experience and skills over degrees in the job market
  • Work with reputable recruiters to navigate the hiring process and avoid potential scams
  • Create environments for growth in companies, prioritizing personal development over just productivity
  • Encourage continuous learning and growth in the workplace for career success


  • 00:00:00 - High school fails young people by preparing them for a broken system
  • 00:00:33 - Quinn McLaren is a degree-free financial analyst at a Fortune 500 company
  • 00:09:22 - The American high school system pushes students toward college for financial gain
  • 00:11:07 - Importance of making a plan and avoiding college debt
  • 00:13:06 - Experience and skills over degrees in job applications
  • 00:19:25 - Using recruiting agencies for job search strategy
  • 00:21:53 - Importance of working with a recruiter
  • 00:23:21 - Finding a reputable recruiter
  • 00:27:03 - Addressing the lack of a degree in interviews
  • 00:31:57 - Creating communities of growth in companies
  • 00:33:40 - Advice for young adults pursuing a degree-free path
  • 00:40:27 - Parental support for young adult children making difficult decisions
  • 00:00:00 - Importance of working a horrific job at 19
  • 00:00:00 - Taking time to launch oneself
  • 00:00:00 - Supporting and keeping ambition alive for kids

References, Resources Mentioned & Suggested Reading:

Episode Transcript
Please enjoy this transcript or our episode!

Please note the transcript may have a few errors. We're human. It can be hard to catch all the errors from a full length conversation. Enjoy!

Quinn Mclaren [00:00:00]:
High school is the biggest failure of the American dream right now. High school fails young people on a daily basis. It's preparing you to go into a system that is broken. A broken system is putting you into another broken system. It's a pyramid scheme. And what happens is is we have high schools where they're run by tax dollars, and therefore, the incentive is to get you into a college where you give them more money on top of tax dollars.

Hannah Maruyama [00:00:33]:
Aloha folks, and welcome back to the degree free podcast. I'm taking over this week, and I interviewed Quinn McLaren. Quinn McLaren is a 22 year old financial analyst at a Fortune 500 company. He is degree free. He broke out of college in his what would have been his 2nd year. And this episode is jam packed. He goes over his experience, his story, the challenges that he's faced. But more importantly than that, he even drills down into what he experienced and how he believes parents and young adults should approach the college cliff decision that happens after high school.

Hannah Maruyama [00:01:07]:
He also goes over the very unique way that he went about finding the job he's in now. So give it a listen. Please listen all the way to the end. And if you enjoyed as much as I did, do a 5 stars for Quinn. Comment. Let us know if you have any questions for him because he knocked us out of the park. Enjoy. Welcome to degree free.

Hannah Maruyama [00:01:27]:
Ryan is letting me host this week, and that's because I have such a cool guest that I have been so looking forward to talking to. Everybody, meet Quinn McLaren. Quinn, welcome to the degree free podcast.

Quinn Mclaren [00:01:41]:
Hey, guys. It's so it's it's awesome to be here as a long time listener, I would say, for about the last 8 or 9 months now. I've been following you guys on TikTok. This has been something that I'm just absolutely stoked to be a part of and contribute to. I'm really excited to be here, and thank you so much, Hannah, for having me.

Hannah Maruyama [00:01:58]:
Absolutely. Quinn, part of the reason that I wanted to talk to you is because you have what I'd say is an a really amazing story that has a lot of value, that has a lot of encouragement for our listeners and their parents. And so that's the main reason why I was so excited to get you on here. So can you tell us what you do for work?

Quinn Mclaren [00:02:17]:
I am a real estate financial analyst. I really deal with anything that does with a piece of real estate that my company is in possession of and the financials surrounding it, so profits and loss and, all kinds of fun stuff with actually dealing with landlords and and dealing with our tenants and things like that. It's been something that I've I've just fallen in love with, and I'm super excited to be doing it. And I'm young and I can't wait to do more. I'm doing it right now for a massive fortune 500 healthcare company, Something that I never in a 1000000 years expected to be part of. I just really have been enjoying it and coming from an atmosphere of family that are surrounded in degrees. It's been something that I've broken into and just really endorsed myself in. And

Hannah Maruyama [00:02:59]:
That is an amazing intro to my next question, which is, did you buy a college degree?

Quinn Mclaren [00:03:05]:
50%. I went to school starting in, fall of 21, and I was going to a university off the coast in Texas here in Corpus Christi. I was going for a management information systems degree. High school me had no clue what that means, but it sounded cool. How does anybody pick their degree? What were my friends doing? What was interesting? What was I into? And then you go and read the little course catalog, and it's like, oh, management information systems professionals are integrated in IT systems and business. This is a great career to kickstart your career into IT and yada, yada. I bought 50% of a college degree. I say 50%.

Quinn Mclaren [00:03:43]:
I I think I left college with about a sophomores level. If I had wanted to finish, it would have been about a year. I still paid a 2 years of tuition and all the the room and board and the fun stuff that goes with it.

Hannah Maruyama [00:03:55]:
Do you feel like it was harder for you to break out because you were already so deep into your degree?

Quinn Mclaren [00:04:02]:
Oh, absolutely. The number 1 consensus you get from family, from friends is you can see the finish line just like you're about to see it. Like, if you just go over this next hill, you'll see it, and then you'll have to run so far to finish. It was difficult. But the entire time I was in college, the 1 place I wanted to be was not in college. I would say 1st semester of freshman year. We go to college with expectations. We go there with priorities.

Quinn Mclaren [00:04:26]:
And ultimately, we go there expecting results. And it's not an instant gratification dream. Going into it, I was like, man, this college thing, I'm a try it out. I'm really not sure if I wanna do it. Do I wanna go into the trades? Things like that. And, of course, family and friends are, like, go to college. That's the way to be successful. I remember calling my mom, 1st semester of freshman year and being, like, mom, I hate this.

Quinn Mclaren [00:04:49]:
She was like, Quinn, you can stick it out. You got this. And I did for another year and a half. And lo and behold, I'm I'm so glad I didn't keep going.

Hannah Maruyama [00:04:58]:
This is such a dynamic point, that break point of halfway through, because that's actually when I broke out too. I would have left about a sophomore, and I just couldn't do it anymore. I was it boredom, or was it the fact that you couldn't see an application? What was really the ultimate reason that you decided you just couldn't stay?

Quinn Mclaren [00:05:18]:
I think that the biggest issue all of those things reign true. The biggest thing for me was the why I had every time I sat in class. Every class you take, every minute you sit in a classroom, I was asking myself why. And you ask yourself why enough times to where they say the definition of mania is doing the same action multiple times and expecting a different result. And I did that with class. I'd go in and I'd be like, why am I here? And then I'd be like, you know what? Tomorrow I'm gonna learn something that I'll actually use in my degree field. And you never do. You know, you keep on going.

Quinn Mclaren [00:05:54]:
You keep paying the man, and you're in school, and every class you take is a gateway drug to the next. And it just causes the why to continue on and on.

Hannah Maruyama [00:06:03]:
Was there a specific class where you just decided you couldn't sit there 1 more second?

Quinn Mclaren [00:06:07]:
It's a much larger issue with the class selection. I think 1 1 of the most aggravating things about college en masse, taking a communications class as a business major, it's 3 credit hours. So I'm paying for this class. But my professor was constantly like, let's just do these little assignments. I was like, I did this in kindergarten. These classes are almost basic that it's stupid to pay for them. Most people that are 18 plus have worked a fast food job. You learn more about communications than the professor teaches through that job.

Quinn Mclaren [00:06:39]:
And so communications as well as classes, I'm pretty sure I got a c in communications, being completely honest with you. And it was because 1 of the things was is the assignments came up on my Canvas or whatever. I'd be like, I have no desire to do this right now because what's the point? But of course, it's required. It's required by the the school to complete your degree.

Hannah Maruyama [00:06:59]:
That is exactly what I was looking for. So some people are familiar with my story. I'm gonna call it the break point. It's the breakout point. That's what it is. Because there's a moment you're sitting, and it's usually a specific professor for whatever reason. And you just go, I cannot stay here 1 more second. And after that, it's brutal.

Hannah Maruyama [00:07:16]:
It's insufferable. I'll give you an a in communications because you seem to be communicating with me just fine. But, yeah, you had your breakout moment and you left. What did you do? What was your next move?

Quinn Mclaren [00:07:27]:
Yeah. So, really, from that point on, it was this almost like the stages of grief because I was in a state of denial. I've sunk myself here. There's no way I'm digging myself out. Either I'm gonna just drop out and there's gonna be no career path or there's gonna be no options available to me. And you're looking at all these things. Should I sign my life away to the government? Should I x and y or all these kinds of options. I don't think until you do it, you really can figure it all out necessarily.

Quinn Mclaren [00:07:58]:
Or at least in my circumstance, I felt like I couldn't. I think, ultimately, you really have to plunge in that moment. You're questioning a lot of times, like, what's my path forward if the path society has put in front of me is no longer an option?

Hannah Maruyama [00:08:11]:
So you had that moment and then you had what sounds like a lot of confusion, which most people do because exactly what you just said. If what everyone told you to do is not the thing that makes sense, now what do you do? It sounds like you thought about trades. Sending your life away to the government is the military for the listeners. I come from a military family, so I heard that 1 loud and clear. And then also because you ruled out college, and then those are pretty much the only 2 paths, I'm sure. Do you feel like that's what you were given in high school too? They said, you can go to college, you can go become a plumber, or go pick up a wrench, or go put on a uniform.

Quinn Mclaren [00:08:48]:
I think that and not to get too politicized, high school is the biggest failure of the American dream right now. High school fails young people on a daily basis. It's preparing you to go into a system that is broken. A broken system is putting you into another broken system. It's a pyramid scheme. And what happens is is we have high schools where they're run by tax dollars, and therefore, the incentive is to get you into a college where you give them more money on top of tax dollars.

Speaker C [00:09:18]:
Hey there. I hope that you're loving today's conversation. At degree free, we wanna help as many people as we can thrive and succeed without needing a college degree. Having these guests on that share their experiences so that you can learn from their stories and their mistakes is 1 of the ways that we do that. Genuinely, I'm just grateful that these guests take the time to come on and share their wisdom. And if you're getting value out of this conversation or you've listened to 2, 3, or 4 plus episodes, I have 1 quick ask. Please take a moment right now to review this podcast on whatever platform you're tuning in on. With your review, you're not just supporting us, but you're amplifying the voices of every guest we bring on and, ultimately, helping more people thrive degree free.

Speaker C [00:10:03]:
Thank you for doing that right now and for being such an important part of degree free.

Quinn Mclaren [00:10:07]:
Really, as a independent school district wants you to go because college admissions are higher, grades are higher, test scores are better, which means more money for that school district, which means more support and, ultimately, higher wages, better bonuses, things like that. So there is an incentive financially for these school districts, particularly high schools, to do some things that are unethical in people's life plans in order to get you to go to college. High school prepares you that much for college as it is today. And what happens holistically is that we have students that have these very narrow points of view. It's interesting because, you know, in more urban or lower income areas, we have lower college admission rates. Right? But we have more people that are out of debt in those regions. We have more people that are investing their time into trades, blue collar work, getting into career field that doesn't require a degree. They find a way.

Quinn Mclaren [00:11:03]:
The thing that college does is it gives people to an excuse to not make a plan. What they've done is they've become sheep. They're following what everybody else did because it worked for

Hannah Maruyama [00:11:13]:
them. Where have you been? This is gonna be such a good episode. There's so much there that I want to unpack. So it sounds like too, the reason it feels like you feel strongly about this, and correct me if I'm wrong, is because it burnt a couple years of your life. And it's not like you're old, you're 22. So you're very young. But what's interesting about that is the reason you feel so strongly about this, how close you are happening to you, and then how you've been able to find success without that. I think the aggravation for me comes from

Quinn Mclaren [00:11:46]:
the people that got me here are able to continually do it, but also the people that got me here think they're right. We have a community of individuals that surround us and are the people that formed us to be where we're at today. Be that your teachers, your parents, your siblings, your mentors, your loved ones, whatever. They're the ones that encouraged you. Get the degree. Finish that out. Go this path because it's the best plan to get you to success. They they want to think they're right.

Quinn Mclaren [00:12:14]:
And until a person like yourself or myself comes around, they're like, yeah, but they're unicorns. It's just not the truth. And also you you talk about proximity. Yeah. It is like you lose time. If I was 18 coming fresh out of high school, I can tell you a million ways to Sunday that I would have changed my life. And 1 of those things is never ever touching a college campus.

Hannah Maruyama [00:12:36]:
Okay. So what would you have done instead? Let's roll back the clock then. Let's roll it back to 18. And just to recap for the audience, you are a real estate financial analyst for a fortune 500 company. You're degree free. If you could roll back the clock and not have to spend any time on a college campus, what would you have done? What would you have learned instead to get you where you are now without ever touching a college campus?

Quinn Mclaren [00:12:59]:
Your number 1 objective as a young person, and this is what I tell anybody I meet that's 16, 17, 18 years old is what I tell them, don't go into debt. Learn as much as you can. You might not make all that much money, and that's fine. Because what happens is is you realize when I'm a candidate for a job and you're compared up against these bachelor's, master's degrees, what is weighed isn't a piece of paper anymore. It's how much experience you have on a resume, what you bring to the table. Because quite frankly, most companies look at a degree and go, okay. I know a guy with a degree in rec sciences who works with a previous employer who's a property manager. He's told me I make great money in this field, and I never needed this degree in the first place.

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:46]:
Obviously, you're living proof of this too. You and I both are proof of this. That's changing really rapidly. I was just on another podcast and the host who's from a different generation than us, who was very open to the message said, well, you know, you still need a degree to get good jobs. And I didn't interrupt her. She was finishing a thought. It was 1 of those things too where the recent numbers that have come out about this are that ZipRecruiter found that 9% of the jobs on their site, and ZipRecruiter is a top job board in the US right now. It's 9%.

Hannah Maruyama [00:14:16]:
Even say they require a college degree. I am sure that the job that you applied for probably had a bachelor's degree requirement in it just because of the type of job it was, so did my initial tech job and every subsequent job that I have had since then. And so you and I both know from experience that of those 9%, even less than that actually require college degrees because require is a legal term, and those are not requirements, those are requests.

Quinn Mclaren [00:14:39]:
You're touching on something when you say require. 9 times out of 10, on the job training is all you need. And having said that, in many positions, both ones that I've worked and ones I've seen others work, they learn 99% of what they're gonna do for their job, what they're being paid to be a professional at in the first 30 days of being there. But they didn't talk about, oh, do you know how to make a balance sheet financial statement of x and y? They really touch on it's really about charisma and it's about personality, perseverance, your own drive that truly pushes the employer to take this step. It really has nothing to do with your qualifications at the end of the day.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:18]:
So you broke out and you left. Where did you go after you broke out of college?

Quinn Mclaren [00:15:23]:
I went home. The 1 place that was always gonna take me, wasn't very happy in the decision I had made and had faith in me as their son to actually succeed at something. I think the hope and prayer deep in their hearts was, please go back.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:41]:
So you went home, and then what did you do?

Quinn Mclaren [00:15:43]:
1 of the reasons I had broken free of college was I had broken my neck while I was there, and so I was still in a recovery phase. I was still going through a lot of stuff, both mentally, physically. And so I just wasn't all there to work yet. And so fortunately, I was checking in my parents' house, and eventually, I got on Indeed. I started applying anywhere that I thought this is reasonable given my qualifications. And prior to that, I had been working as a leasing agent. I'd worked as an RA for a little while while I was in college. And so I was like, I'm going to do something like that.

Quinn Mclaren [00:16:13]:
I know that there are higher positions there. Maybe I can just start as a leasing agent and work my way up. And so sure enough, I applied to 1 47 minutes after I got I put in my application. I got a phone call. And it was a gentleman who became 1 of my greatest mentors in the last year of my life, and he was like, hey. I need somebody to fill this property management position. Can you come do it? I was like, dude, heck yeah. He sent me an offer letter that evening.

Quinn Mclaren [00:16:40]:
I was like, this can't be real. He was like, can you start Monday? I'm like, it's Saturday, but that sounds great. So I showed up on the Monday, and I started working there. I worked there for just under a year, and I learned so much from that individual that, again, I can't thank that gentleman enough.

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:58]:
So you left. You were an RA. That was what you had on your resume. Did you work when you were in high school?

Quinn Mclaren [00:17:03]:
I did. So I actually worked for, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, if you know what that is. Worked there for, like, 3 and a half years, even a little bit into college. Not many of my friends thought I was real cool that I was frying chicken.

Hannah Maruyama [00:17:14]:
Dude, 3 and a half years in the launch program, I work with the 16 to 20 year old age range, and so many of them think that 3 and a half years of continuous work experience is not impressive. It is. Like, that's amazing. People love to see that.

Quinn Mclaren [00:17:27]:
And I left, actually, turning down a management role with them, just because I didn't have time. I was in college, and that took precedence. And little did I know I turned down $65 a year. But college, it was gonna solve all my problems.

Hannah Maruyama [00:17:40]:
If you had gone back to that point and known what was going to happen, would you take that job now?

Quinn Mclaren [00:17:44]:
A 110%. I have known some individuals. And just to give you a kind of a side part, a good buddy of mine that I worked with in high school, he had pretty much nothing and he was 1 of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, but he went from having nothing, having parents that weren't in the picture and he is now a I think, an operations manager for Cains. So the man is making, like, a 6 figure income, and he's my age. At a chicken restaurant, frying chicken, he's really doing well, and and he's found great success just by sticking to it. It took him 4 or 5 years of work experience to get where he's at now. And, I I don't think the guy plans on doing anything else anytime soon.

Hannah Maruyama [00:18:23]:
They promote people that are good at their jobs. So not only is your story great, but that's also a great story within your story. I hope everybody enjoyed that little sidebar because I did. That's really good.

Quinn Mclaren [00:18:34]:
Yeah. I mean, it's crazy. Like you never hear of like a fast food employee going from 0 to being the second in command of a multimillion dollar restaurant.

Hannah Maruyama [00:18:43]:
I might have to ask you for his info after this. Okay. So I wanna go back to for those of you who are tuning in, I told Quinn before we started recording that we're trying a new format here. And Quinn is wonderfully, kindly agreed to be the guinea pig for this format. So I'm trying to make sure that I hit all of the questions that I prepped for him because I think you guys are all really gonna appreciate what his wisdom and his experience in this. So how did you get your job at the Fortune 500 company once you were a property manager?

Quinn Mclaren [00:19:15]:
I was in a position out of nowhere where I was hiring people. I was hiring people. I was a manager. So I had to look at it like I was hiring myself. You look at your resume, and I'm a stickler for it, there are some great websites out there. I use resume. Io. It's awesome.

Quinn Mclaren [00:19:31]:
There are some great resume programs out there that cost little to no money. And you can make a resume that's visually appealing. Working on the resume is 1 thing, but also working on your strategy for applying is another. Most companies, especially now, are really using recruiters pretty heavily. I typically wouldn't go towards a recruiter. You gotta be careful which, you know, recruiting agencies you approach. That's how I landed where I'm at. I went to a recruiting agency.

Quinn Mclaren [00:19:57]:
I said, hey, here's my resume. I had an interview with the recruiter. So they do, like, all the preliminary stuff. So they get a feel for you, your personality, your ambition, all that kind of stuff. And then they take your resume and they say, hey, x and y company, we think he'd be a great fit. That makes things so much more painless. But, also, I think with the job search and I see this on TikTok every day. If people that are just getting lost and feeling like there is no end to this application merry-go-round.

Quinn Mclaren [00:20:25]:
It gives you a sense of gratification. Some progress will give you the ambition to continue. Fortunately for me, I was still in my role when I made this, you know, job transition, so that made a big difference with the anxiety levels and things like that. But if I had to do it all over again, if I was out of a job, that's the direction I'd go 9 times out of 10. You'll apply to 10 recruiting agencies and maybe get 2 calls back, whereas you might apply to a 100 on ZipRecruiter and get 0.

Hannah Maruyama [00:20:52]:
That is so smart. That strategy has never occurred to me, mostly because it's not something I have a lot of experience with with the agencies. I think that the question people are gonna probably have is the same 1 that I have now, which is if you don't have a degree and you're gonna self eliminate, a lot of people I bet think that you can't apply to a recruiting agency unless you have a college degree. So what would be your advice for how did you fix your resume so that you thought that they would be likely to call you back at all?

Quinn Mclaren [00:21:20]:
I think the cool thing was that, 1, the recruiter see, these recruiters, they operate off of a a commission off getting you hired. They want to get you hired. They hear somebody come in, they're like, awesome. Oh, they're like a used car salesman. They want you to look good. I sent my resume to my recruiter and God bless her, she sent it back and she was like, here's some edits you need to make. She gave me pointers. She said, here is a resume that I thought did really well.

Quinn Mclaren [00:21:46]:
Here is yours. Here are the changes I wanna see, and we think this is gonna be awesome. She helped me through that. And it was pretty awesome because, like I said, they want you to get hired. And not many people are lining up these recruiters' doorsteps anymore because we've got apps like ZipRecruiter and Indeed that are taking the recruitment process out of these recruiters' hands. But they have massive companies contacting them on a daily basis that are anxious to hire people. They're putting pressure on these folks to get you hired. That was by far the best part.

Quinn Mclaren [00:22:18]:
But also, having a recruiter gives you a point of contact. If you're ever nervous about, you know, I applied for this job. I wanna see where I'm at in the status. And you're like, I'm not gonna call them because what if they think I'm pestering them or I'm annoying or whatever? This gets rid of that. I could call my recruiter and be like, hey. It's been like 6 days since I heard from you guys. Where's my application at? And she gave me, you know, the rundown. Like, yep.

Quinn Mclaren [00:22:40]:
It's in their hands. They thought it looked good. We're gonna set up a follow-up interview or, hey. Haven't heard anything back on my side either.

Hannah Maruyama [00:22:47]:
Wow. That is gonna be super valuable to people. How did you find that recruiter? I think I probably know the answer, but I would like to hear you tell people. So imagine no one's ever done. Someone's never done this, then they don't have your mindset, which is huge. I struggle with this too. But they don't have your mindset and they're going, okay, I'm gonna go give my resume to a recruiter. Where do they find that recruiter?

Quinn Mclaren [00:23:10]:
Be wary because there are quite a few that will try and get you into an MLM or some kind of scheme. So you do have to meter them. There are some great lists online that you can go to. The 1 I applied with was a massive organization. And, Hannah, after this, I can get you their details. But they are a global organization. There are national ones. There are recruiting agencies that are recognized by government agencies, by Fortune 500 companies, and they're the resource.

Quinn Mclaren [00:23:40]:
If you can find 1 of those, that's that's the best way. But, honestly, if you Google, find like, Forbes has a list of them, I'm pretty sure. So does ZipRecruer and Indeed, ironically enough.

Hannah Maruyama [00:23:49]:
Mhmm. And just double check everybody. Do your due diligence, like Quinn said, so that you don't go to 1 that's trying to also, if they ask you for money, that's not a recruiting agency. That's a scam.

Quinn Mclaren [00:24:00]:
If they're ever offering some of these will be like, hey. We're a sales based job. We're selling x and y product, insurance, roofs, things like that. For every 1 real job on Indeed, there are 10 roof estimators and sales jobs available. You've just gotta be wary of what you're looking for.

Hannah Maruyama [00:24:18]:
And sometimes those can lead to good things. But at the beginning, you are not gonna be making money. For some people that are hard pressed to find w 2 work, that is probably not the route. I will give that as a disclaimer.

Quinn Mclaren [00:24:32]:
Great as a sidekick, but I would never pursue that as a hard pressed job.

Hannah Maruyama [00:24:37]:
That one's definitely not for most people, but some people can do it. So if if you're interested in that and you wanna be a roof estimator, Indeed is your place. Or I'm gonna get a degree for your roof estimator, probably email me after this and say, hey. I wanna come on and rectify the situation.

Quinn Mclaren [00:24:52]:
Disprove me. I have imminent respect for them, but I think you're breaking free from a degree and now you're breaking into a career that is very dependent on your sales aptitude, but also season of the year, insurance markets, and things like that. So it's a complicated world to get into.

Hannah Maruyama [00:25:11]:
I agree with your assessment of it. I I do. I wanna make sure I ask you every single 1 of these questions. So you went to the recruiter, so you didn't go out and learn any specific skills that you saw. You just went to the recruiter, and you let them do the assessment for you about where your skills would be applicable.

Quinn Mclaren [00:25:27]:
So working in a project or property management world, you get a lot of experience in a lot of things dealing with difficult people, dealing with project management, dealing with vendors, and also, you know, business to business interaction. Definitively about me that I learned? I put every program that I'd ever used for work, whatever software I was using, even the Excel product and, you know, Word, things like that. Put them all on there. Put those towards the bottom so if they scroll, they see them. But, you know, putting, like, programs and things like that on there, they look at it and they're like, yeah. This guy, he's got it. That's definitely something important. And then, of course, yeah, the recruiters do their own assessment outside of your resume.

Quinn Mclaren [00:26:13]:
They make a profile for you that also gets presented to the potential employer.

Hannah Maruyama [00:26:18]:
That was super helpful because I was wondering. I was like, how do they bridge that? How do they bridge the translation? I'll say, as you said, that's exactly what ZipRecruiter does is they kind of obscure that away and just make it smaller so the recruiter does it. That's awesome. Okay. My next question that I was curious about, because I get this 1 a lot and I'm betting that you do too, if and when you tell your story. When you were interviewing, did they bring up your degree or lack thereof? And then how did you address being degree free? How did you package it in your initial interview at your Fortune 500 company job interview?

Quinn Mclaren [00:26:52]:
I actually struggle with that exact question whenever I was preparing for this interview. And I sat there and I looked at my resume and I was thinking, what do I say? What do I say if they ask? And I said, I guess the best defense is going almost on offense. I was the first 1 to say it. Listen, guys. I haven't finished my degree. And I was waiting for A0A pause, a lull in the conversation. And little did I know they were gonna be like, oh, well, actually, the company will pay for you to complete your degree. I was like, too easy.

Quinn Mclaren [00:27:24]:
It was met with instead of being what I thought was gonna be, oh, well, that job's out the window. Bye. It was met with really almost open arms like, yeah, come on, man. Like, we're gonna take care of you. Right now, my company is taking care of me that way. I absolutely think they do. I look around my office. I look around the office I used to work in, and companies do this all the time.

Quinn Mclaren [00:27:44]:
Incentive is they want to build the perfect employee because hiring people has cost them too much money. And so they would rather take you on, build you up the way that they need you to be because at the end of the day, hiring and firing are 2 of the most expensive things a company does with personnel. So they would much rather you not have a degree and send you to school than invest in somebody who's a waste of time.

Hannah Maruyama [00:28:07]:
That brings up something good too, which is so it sounds like you took them up on that. So you're finishing.

Quinn Mclaren [00:28:12]:
Right now, I have I haven't started. So you have to hit a vesting period with the company and things like that. As of right now, I am working on career search, though. I said I wanna get as many acronyms behind my name as I can. It's a joke between me and my girlfriend that I'm gonna get as many acronyms behind my name as I can. Right now, I'm working on what's called the KMP, which is the, certified associate of project management. And then soon after that, I'll be working on what's called the CPM, which is a certified property manager. And then eventually, I'd like to get my accounting degree so I can be a CPA.

Quinn Mclaren [00:28:41]:
See, the the only reason that I'm after really is just for the the extra acronym.

Hannah Maruyama [00:28:45]:
Because that's also good for me. Map out that career trajectory now because you go, alright, I can reduce the downside risk of finishing the purchase of my degree and then leverage that into taking the CPA exam. Is that what you're gonna do?

Quinn Mclaren [00:28:57]:
Again, degree free doesn't necessarily mean that you are free of a degree. Degree free can also mean that you're getting it for free. 1 thing is is that and you asked if I'm the 1 that planned this. My boss at my company before and my boss now have both been so receptive and willing. When I walk up to him, I'm like, hey. I'm really thinking about my future career options. I wanna grow here. What should I do? And they're like, well, what do you wanna do? And both of them have been extremely instrumental in helping me kind of form a pathway.

Quinn Mclaren [00:29:28]:
And I've got 3, 4 different ways I can go, which are all satisfactory to me. But they really did open doors, that I didn't know were already open.

Hannah Maruyama [00:29:37]:
I'm so glad that is your path because it did address something that I really care about, which is and you've heard Ryan and I say this. There are some jobs that legally require a license to do, that legally require a degree to get a license to perform. CPA is 1 of those jobs. You have now, degree free, found a way to get there without paying for it, and I am chef's kiss. Perfect. I'm so excited for you. Is your plan to stay at the company as a CPA?

Quinn Mclaren [00:30:03]:
I've never seen a work environment that is this conducive to growth, but also seen 1 where people are open about almost like their deficiencies. Like, I wanna do this so that I can get here, or I'm not good enough at this just yet. And people are really open about it. It's a discussion that happens all the time with coworkers, with, you know, superiors where it's like, hey, I don't know how to do this, but I really wanna develop here. And they'll be like, okay, let's get you your certification. Let's put you in some classes. It's instrumental in that process.

Hannah Maruyama [00:30:35]:
I think that brings me to something because it's gonna be really important, especially if anyone's listening and you have a hiring or you're responsible for a team or you own your own business and you're responsible for hiring. But Gen z is the hot topic of the workforce right now because they can't really figure out what to do with you guys, and they really don't know what your next move is. You gotta keep them guessing. They have no idea what you're gonna do. And I say you guys, for those of you listening, because I'm the youngest millennial you'll get. So I'm not technically Gen z. I'm right there on the edge, and so I'm kind of been watching behind me. And all of the Gen z folks, which, Quinn, you would be in, they think that you folks don't care about your career.

Hannah Maruyama [00:31:13]:
They think that you don't care about growth, and they think that you'll just up and leave at the drop of a hat. But I actually think that all of the millennial moving around, last changing jobs 12 times in the span of 10 years, I actually think the rebound, everything goes back to the future. Everything goes back to the way it was, which is it is gonna go back to the gold watch. It is gonna go back to you've been here 7 years, which is a long time in this current environment of work, and they're going to do things and bend over backwards to keep you folks. And it sounds like the company you work for has figured it out with your management because that can make or break whether or not you stay.

Quinn Mclaren [00:31:46]:
That's exactly right. I think companies are gonna have to really mold themselves to be environments that are communities of growth rather than communities of productivity. And it's been shown just there's Bureau of Labor Statistics out there that show right now Gen z is productive for, like, I think, 2 hours and 38 minutes a day on average. And I think that's hilarious because I go into work and I'm like, 2 hours and 45 minutes, I'd be out of here by noon. Right? It's insane to me because 1 of the things is, yeah, you almost do have to keep them engaged and excited for things. The workplace has to change in that regard. But also, you have the ability to look at a workplace and see what they're going to promise you. I think, for me, going into a a company, they can say they're going to afford you all these opportunities, and it might just be leveraged to make you come on.

Quinn Mclaren [00:32:34]:
But by far, looking up the company and seeing the growth opportunities other people have experienced, it's unparalleled.

Hannah Maruyama [00:32:40]:
Like I said, you have such good proximity to this. So imagine you're speaking to a 16 to 20 year old right now, and they're going, okay, I'm going to go degree free, but I'm not sure what my next move is, especially if they think they wanna go into something financial. Anytime there's financial, and I'm I'm bringing this up because I know for a fact that you've seen these comments on our TikTok, and you see people go, you can't touch anything financial. You can't touch anything fortune 500, which is laughable because here you said degree free fortune 500 financial analyst. What is the path for those who are interested in finance and want to go that direction, and they're in that 16 to 20 year old age range, and they need to start learning stuff. What are the top 3 things you would say they should start learning as far as tools or methodology?

Quinn Mclaren [00:33:28]:
I would honestly say that and this applies to anybody that's pursuing that degree free path is take a year. 18 to 19, nobody has ever finished out their 401 k. There is nothing lost with 1 year. Most Americans don't start saving for retirement until they're 35, 36 on average. So realistically, taking 18 to 19 and saying, I'm stepping back from picking a career and I'm just going to exist. But find something to obsess over. Right? When we work at something, when we're doing it for work, it becomes stressful. It has implications that are larger than just something we enjoy.

Quinn Mclaren [00:34:04]:
For me, what I found is the part of working as a property manager that I enjoyed the most was the financial aspect. It was the the podcasts, TikToks, YouTube, anything I get my hands on. I'd podcasts, TikToks, YouTube, anything I get my hands on. I used to never be an audiobook guy. Love audiobooks today. It made a huge difference because I was able to obsess over something that I truly enjoyed. And now that I do it for a living, it's like the love is not lost. I'm doing what I love to do and so that makes a huge difference.

Quinn Mclaren [00:34:36]:
Ultimately, if somebody wants to go down the path, it really takes the 1st year. It's crucial. Find what it is that just really sparks an interest in you. Obsess over it. Don't go to school for it. Don't drop a ton of money on it. Don't put yourself in debt and just explore it. Fall in love with it because your willingness to learn when you do get that first infield related job, maybe that first stair step, you're gonna be far and beyond a lot of your your superiors.

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:06]:
That I think ties in to what you were saying at the beginning, which is the don't go into debt, your points. It's okay to make a little bit of money. And I think that that is such a mindset shift from how a lot of younger people and a lot of their parents tell them to approach that time. It's interesting to see too how responsible that advice is versus go spend $26, 000 you don't have per year when you don't know what you're doing to figure it out or go make $26, 000 per year. But for some reason, people think that they're shame in earning $26, 000, but not shame in spending $26, 000 they don't have.

Quinn Mclaren [00:35:43]:
It's insane because society right now is so willing to encourage somebody to go into a negative net worth position, but if for close to a $100, 000 on average. And we're just, like, cool. But then whenever there's the guy that didn't go to college and he's at McDonald's making $16 an hour and you're like, actually, he's doing better. Until the age of maybe 36 when you get those loans paid off, he's still doing better. You know, maybe he'd financed a car. Okay. He's still doing better. And a lot of people just haven't clicked that with the cost of tuition, cost of room and board, no reason.

Quinn Mclaren [00:36:18]:
In college, you spoke about making that financial decision. I don't think students understand the irony of the finances of college. I think you touched on this, but 1 thing that's always occurred to me is that you'll always see things that stack up and you compare yourself to people that are honestly, like, on a less successful track or, you know, they're the screw up that didn't go to college and you're like, realistically, they're doing better.

Hannah Maruyama [00:36:42]:
I have a little note card. I'm looking looking at it. Sometimes I draw out ideas on post it notes. I'm looking at 1 right here where there is a college student with a cap on. It's like a little cartoon. College student with a cap on telling somebody working at Buc ee's that they're uneducated because the person who worked at Buc ee's did the basic calculation of, I don't have $26, 000 to spend on college on a chance of a chance of a chance that I might need this to get a job, maybe. But this person is standing there telling them that they're more educated when in fact, all of their actions say that they are not educated enough to have made a very simple logical decision, which is I don't have that money. I probably shouldn't spend it in a way that I can't get out of.

Quinn Mclaren [00:37:27]:
What's funny is just to your point exactly. I actually created on my end just in Excel 1 afternoon a model to see what it looks like if somebody's making $15 an hour for 2 years versus somebody who goes 2 years into college. And what's hilarious is is that if the person making $15 an hour is able to save a $100 a month during that time, they have more savings than the average millennial.

Hannah Maruyama [00:37:51]:
I would love to show you after this. Also, if you have that model, feel free to shoot it our way, and we'll put it in the show notes and shout it out to you. That reminds me of an episode Ryan and I did a long time ago, like, when we first started the podcast where we had, as a burn down chart of an ER doctor versus a UPS driver at 18. And the ER doctor had said, I will not catch up to their net worth until I am, I believe, 67. Because people are conflating, and you've seen this. I'm sure. They're conflating earnings and net worth, and they think that those 2 things are the same, which is a little concerning.

Quinn Mclaren [00:38:20]:
Lord, no. It's funny because, like, I think it's actually Dave Ramsey. He was talking about a lawyer that he has, and he was like, the lawyer is jealous of of his plumber because the lawyer's got a couple $100 in student loan debt. And by the time he meets the same net worth as the plumber, he's gonna be working well into his, you know, seventies. It's this just crazy delusion that we've allowed to progress. We found ways to make it more accessible and encourage it, and it's the best thing to do. But there's no way on paper it makes sense.

Hannah Maruyama [00:38:54]:
After we are done recording, I have some things to run by you folks. If you see a white paper with Quinn's name on it, you'll know why that is. And I think we're about to wrap up because I promised you I'd keep this to a reasonable amount of time. And, man, this has been really amazing to have you on, and this has been such a good conversation. Yeah. People are gonna love this. This is amazing. Folks, if you wanna give Quinn his due, go ahead and drop a 5 star review and tell us it's 5 stars for Quinn.

Hannah Maruyama [00:39:20]:
That's what we're gonna do for in the reviews. This has been so good and so insightful, and I feel like there was a lot that was actionable and really encouraging both for young adults, for parents, and for just job seekers too at this point. Like you said, it's very discouraging, and I think that a lot of job seekers feel like they're in the maze. They feel like they're just wandering around. Oh, look. These trees. Oh, wait. It's the same trees.

Hannah Maruyama [00:39:43]:
That's how they feel. I think that a lot of people are gonna take quite a bit away from your insight and what you did, and I think that strategy is just brilliant. You talked a little bit about your parents. I wanna bring this kinda home, but you talked a little about your parents and when you came home after you broke out, What advice do you have for parents who are trying to support their young adult children as they make difficult decisions like, I don't need to be here, and it seems difficult to leave. And what can they do, and how can they best support their kids as they build their life?

Quinn Mclaren [00:40:12]:
There's 2 realities that I've seen. First of all, is that there's the parents that are like, sure, honey. Do whatever makes you happy. And then there are the parents that are like, what on earth are you doing? Very much, I had the latter. I don't have anything against them for it now. Love you, mom. It's 1 of those things where you've got to look at it. Being the student that's dropping out, the approach has to be right.

Quinn Mclaren [00:40:32]:
If you approach your parents and say, hey, I'm dropping out of school. I have no clue what I wanna do, but I really wanna do something with myself. I really wanna break free from this and I wanna do something that's my own. That approach is gonna hit them differently because ultimately, your parents want you to succeed. They want you to fall into a career that's meaningful and exist in a world that that does nurture you, allows you to achieve the dreams they have for you, and they do have dreams for you. Approaching it from a perspective of what are my parents thinking and why did they think this? We get so bogged down with, oh, my mom's gonna kill me. She's gonna say x and y. Why does she think that? Break it down and try and find a way that you can instead of stoking the coals, maybe put out some of the embers with your conversation, but also really just warm up to the fact that they may never come to terms with this.

Quinn Mclaren [00:41:28]:
But there will be a time when mom looks at me and is proud of me and it's gonna feel 10 times better because I did this. It was my thing. Now from the parent side, if your child is dropping out of college or is saying from a high school standpoint, mom, dad don't wanna go to college, I would encourage them to say take a year. I would encourage them to say take time, put thought into it, pray about it if that's your thing, but really invest your head space into making that decision and allow your child to explore. High school, every high school is gonna be like, we allow kids to explore and learn through teaching others and interaction with others. No. It's like buying a fancy water bottle at the end of the day. It's just water.

Quinn Mclaren [00:42:15]:
When you look at it from that perspective that your child actually does need to explore, make mistakes, They need to be the kid that's working the horrific job while they're 19. All the people they met at school or all the people they had in high school are out doing things that seem productive, it's gonna do a 1000000 wonders in their brain, their work ethic, and their mindset. And, ultimately, taking time to just step back and really launch yourself is gonna be the most appropriate method. And and as a parent, support. Love your kid to death, but keep the ambition alive. Keep stoking the call. Keep telling them, hey. Let's keep moving forward.

Hannah Maruyama [00:42:52]:
Quinn McLaren, everybody. Thank you, Quinn, so much. Awesome job.

Quinn Mclaren [00:42:58]:
Thank you.

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