Since I've left the faith behind, I've made friends and acquaintances in the real world.
Many, if not most of these are people who came from an educated background. Not that they're any smarter than a lot of the JWs I knew, but because they were encouraged to get a good education and then used that as a stepping stone to a good career, these people are much more "successful".
I'm reluctant to use that word, but it's the only one that fits. I knew some rich JWs, but even in their wealth, they seemed to struggle with their identity. It was almost like they were ashamed of being so well-off. But the people outside of the JWs that I know who have money, make no apologies for their wealth. They're not snobby about it either. Some acknowledge that they were in the right place at the right time and got "lucky". Others are proud of getting to where they are in life...all on their own merit and work.
At times it's a bit sobering to associate with them, be invited to their vacation homes, their boats, their clubs for golf, their homes in resort communities and go home to my simple house and 10 year old car. How succesful could I have become had I had embraced education instead of shunning it? What if I had spent my 20s and 30s trying to expand my career instead of just going to work to get a paycheck?
I look at these people and I see people who aren't any smarter. But they did have something I didn't have...a drive to be successful. I was indocrinated to not care about success. And while I'm a good worker and employee, I had no desire to further my career. I settled for the status quo.
I realize that not that all educated people become rich or well off. And not that all non-college educated people are mired in poverty. Some of the richest people are self-made. Some are college drop-outs.
But I've seen enough difference between the uneducated and the educated to impress upon me that for the average person who wants a good start at being successful needs more than a high shcool education. And that success may not mean being rich, but being fulfilled in a career they enjoy instead of making do with whatever they can find.
I encourage college to all my young JW relatives at any oppurtunity. Two reasons: one, it can help them break free of the hold that the cult has on them and two, it can help them to be more successful in life.