Some Back-to-School Perspective

Happy back-to-school day, for all of you who are starting the spring semester! Time to accrue frightening amounts of debt and drag ourselves out of bed at an ungodly hour to learn about thesis statements and colonialism…and why? For most, it’s the path to a career, i.e., a regular job with, if we’re lucky, better pay, more prestige, and medical insurance.

Most of us who fancy ourselves writers major in English, despite relatively low post-graduation employment prospects. Don’t despair, though: there are some jobs out there for English majors, such as technical writer, paralegal, and copywriter. And you can always teach; community colleges need plenty of Comp I and II instructors. Just know that you’ll most likely be hired as an adjunct, and as such, will earn poverty-level wages and no benefits. But hey! You’re doing what you love, right?

Next in the line of majors that writers pick is journalism; it’s what I did. Journalism has a long, proud history: it has the power to spark revolutions, so was enshrined as one of the first inalienable rights in our Constitution. In addition to learning all kinds of cool stuff and meeting interesting people, as a member of the fourth estate, you’re doing a great and noble service to the citizenry of our democracy. There’s a reason so many superheroes’ secret identities are journalists! Of course, lately, our economy doesn’t seem to support noble service to democracy so much. If you’re lucky enough to get and/or keep a journalism job, it’s one of the most stressful careers out there (and, coincidentally, one very likely to attract psychopaths). Or you could do as I did and teach English at a community college (see above).

I’m not sure this is a hot major for writers, but I thought it was interesting: librarian is considered the least stressful job. The job outlook isn’t so bad, either (at least it’s not declining). The only catch is, you have to have a master’s in library science. But I’m sure you’ll have no problem paying back those loans with that whopping $54,000 a year salary.

Well, now that you’re properly motivated…good luck with your studies!


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