Thanks for the forthcoming input. Greatly appreciated. And no, not serious, just a disclaimer not to swallow any dripping cynicism without having salt handy. If you are already well, well on your way to being a pro, like the original poster seems to be, and you are still willing ready and able and want to become a pro, then don't let anyone's attitude, especially not my jaded attitude, alter your coarse. Realistically though, the info you just posted is exactly the kind of info than 90% or better of all wannabee pro's should swallow whole while weighing their options between photography, plumbing and underwater welding. It's also the kind of info that for profit colleges and self-serving websites tend to avoid or simply lie about in this and or similar industries, so it's value should be high, in particular to those who haven't gone as far already as the original poster has. Personally, I have zero interest in turning photography on it's own into any sort of profession. I gave the idea of wedding photography a whirl around my head a few times, went along as 2nd shooter to several weddings with a popular local (but mediocre) wedding photographer, but overall I hate the idea (I don't even like the idea of marriage itself) and that's without knowing any and all the various subtle annoyances of that business that one who hasn't done it first hand for years must surely be overlooking.
I think, much like you described about collaborating, if active Pro's and up and comers want to help desaturate their industry, they should be extremely forthcoming and open about how not so rosey it can quite more often than not be. If someone who wants to do photography as a profession rather than as a hobby, still wants to go forward after wading through honest insights, then more power to them. What I find however, in most industry, is a bunch of liars right at the gate, usually trying to sell private tuition, some tool, or some training system, or are themselves some sort of flop just making themselves feel better and completely dodging the reality of said industries or if they aren't total flops they just as often ignore their own stories factors of wild luck that helped them along the way while throwing out utter bs motivational slogans about perseverance and hard work and payoffs and what you have to look forward to after x milestone... Anyways, that was my long way of saying thank you, for being honest.