What are some typical jobs most high school dropouts wind up with by the time they hit middle-age?

I know most of these guys start out at minimum wage retail or food service worker positions, but what ever becomes of them by the time they reach 40? Outside of prison, welfare, and the graveyard, what type of jobs do most of these guys wind up with eventually. They certainly will not be working minimum wage jobs at 40. Think of guys you know who dropped out of high school in the late 1970s and 1980s, what kind of jobs do they do today? I'm just curious, thanks!

8 Answers

  • Mike S
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You ask an excellent question. Although I only know a few high school dropouts around the age of 40, I know most of them spend their time "between jobs" or "laid off" from a factory or construction position. The ones I know ALL abuse alcohol and/or drugs... ALL are divorced and have children who are behavioral problems at school. I'm sure there are high school dropouts who manage to do well later in life, but I personally don't know any. I'm not counting high school dropouts who later get their GED... those who do so tend to find stable employment.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think it mostly depends on your drive.

    Some people drop out of high school because one specific teacher is a pain or because of bullies or they just can't figure out how to do a lab report. This lack of motivation will make it hard to succeed in other endeavors.

    Others drop out for other reasons, maybe there isn't enough money or the commute is too long. People in this predicament should read about the school children in Nigeria who walk several kilometers to attend school for three hours, and then come home and work in the fields, and then walk several kilometers further so they can study in the one house that has electric light.

    The great thing about america is that even without a high school education, you can still wind up with a great job, and even make more money than several high school and even college graduates. A lot depends on your ambition. Some jobs not requiring a high school degree might include:



    Stock Broker

    Insurance Salesman

    Car Salesman


    Carpenter / Welder



    Small Business Owner

    Day Care Provider

    Taxi Driver - you can even open a fleet of taxis

    And on and on

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I dropped out of high school when I was 17 years old half way thru 11th grade. I have never worked for minimum wage. At age 40 my income for that year was about $82K. That's my income only, not including my wife's income. I'm 52 now and I still work. Over the years I have out-performed and out-thought many college graduates along the way. I may be the exception instead of the rule but, my point is this: Don't think that a formal, expensive education ensures success or vise versa.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well let's see, I am a high school dropout and going to be 30 in a couple days. I did get a GED, so are you taking that into account? I also went to college after for teaching. Mainly High School was too horrible to be there anymore, not an educational issue. However, I am raising 3 kids as a newly divorced mom and have always worked. I taught myself web design, html and other programs that helped me put myself into a corporate position with a company I worked for and helped run for 4 years. It depends on the person and why they left and what they choose to do with their life. I know plenty of high school grads whose mommy and daddy paid their way through college and they are no better than the people you are askign about. I think it depends on the person too. I hope this helped.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I graduated from high school, but rather than a four-year college I chose voc-tech classes at the local community college. This shocked my friends and family, but that is what I wanted and it paid off. I have had the profession of my dreams since 1994 and make good money doing it! I think if a person drops out of high school and never completes their education, their options are usually limited (with some exceptions). If they return to school or get their GED, the door is then open to college or voc-tech training, or even on the job training. The important thing is to keep learning throughout your life!

  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    seen advertising, in the fashion of status out on the decrease, in front of a pizza joint, keeping a demonstration. Framing homes maintenance, janitorial, groundskeeper, handyman transport driving force window cleanser cable television or satellite tv for pc service installer flag guy waiter, waitress cashier/sales help baby-kisser

  • 1 decade ago

    Rent Clerks or Clerks II.

    They get the lowest paying jobs doing heavy lifting or manual lifting. The big problem is that they are being pushed out of those jobs by illegal immigrants.

  • 1 decade ago

    The infamous FAST FOOD kings and queens, convenience store clerks, gas stations

    Source(s): Im a college graduate and thats all I can find, really a sad situation to feel worthless
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