Help! I’m Afraid My Degree Is Useless!

Question 1

“I decided to major in art history for a simple reason: I like art history. I think it’s a fascinating subject that helps us understand all aspects of history, and I think it teaches us how cultures evolve, how the human mind works, and how the elements of our world are connected, including science, logic, commerce, philosophy, wisdom, and beauty.”“But here’s the problem: there are no jobs in the art world. I thought that with my level of passion and commitment, even with one open position for every 50 graduates, I’d still beat the odds. But that’s not happening. What now?”

Answer

You chose a great major, and you made your decision for the right reasons. But in order to navigate the job market, you’ll need to widen your sense of possibility.Stop looking for jobs by using narrow keyword searches like “art history jobs” and “museum positions.” In fact, lean away from the computer altogether. Get out, talk to lots of people, attend events, and engage in conversations that will expose you to opportunities in business, sales, education, research, production, and a long list of other areas it hasn’t yet occurred to you to consider.You have an uphill climb ahead, and no clear map to your destination, but you can do this. Just keep your ears and your mind open and be patient. You’ll find your niche, but only if you stay in circulation, keep talking, and keep looking. Good luck.

Question 2:

“I chose my major—accounting—for one reason: I wanted security. I was utterly terrified that I would leave college and not get a job right away. I’m scared of poverty, I’m scared of disappointing my parents, and I’m scared of being considered a loser. In fact, I honestly don’t have any ‘passions’ or ‘ambitions’ like all my friends seem to have.”“Now I’m a recent graduate with an accounting degree. I hate accounting. And I’ve been searching for a job for six months with no success. I would be in this same exact position if I had studied marine biology, which would have been a lot more fun and interesting for me. Did I make a terrible mistake?”

Answer:

Your situation is no picnic, that’s for sure. But stay calm and keep a few things in mind. First, you’re not alone, you’re not a loser, and you certainly didn’t make a “mistake.” You’re a hard-working person who’s willing to admit to the normal human fears that your passionate friends prefer to keep hidden.Second, do you want to land a job in accounting, or not? If so, keep looking. Despite the impression you’re getting, this really is a stable field with a growing number of open positions in every area of the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.But if not, I have difficult news for you, little mouse: you’re going to need to be brave. Start applying for positions that don’t have “accounting” in the title. Use your analytical skills and obvious work ethic to impress employers in business, sales, education, research, production…and—if we can repeat ourselves—a long list of other fields it hasn’t yet occurred to you to consider. Chances are, you and the job seeker above may work side by side someday soon. This happens all the time.

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