Don’t major in history for the love of Charlemagne


Everyone got their outrage hats on?

Here’s mine:

Let’s go.

This article. (via Leora and others)

Let’s start parsing, shall we?

William Klein’s story may sound familiar to his fellow graduates. After earning his bachelor’s in history from the College at Brockport, he found himself living in his parents’ Buffalo home, working the same $7.25-an-hour waiter job he had in high school.

So that’s the normal paragraph.  How does it read to me?

William Klein’s story may sound familiar to his fellow graduates. After earning his bachelor’s in history from the College at Brockport, he found himself living in his parents’ Buffalo home, working the same $7.25-an-hour waiter job he had in high school.

Kids, what did I tell you about majoring in liberal arts and then trying to find Real People jobs?  Unless you are a trustafarian, don’t major in stuff that sounds nice in your head but not on a resume. If you are majoring in liberal arts and are aware that you have less chance of finding a job, that’s coo’. But otherwise, don’t whine that grad school is the next new thing. I guarantee you no one in the companies you think you want to work for will hire you when your resume is in a stack against B.S.s in Finance or Chemical Engineering.

What’s that?  It was your life passion to pursue history?  Why not do it on the side then?  Why not volunteer at a historical society as you work in a soulnumbing job and at some point are able to turn that volunteering gig into a full-time position?  Oh, you feel like you’re compromising everything you stand for?  But living in your parents’ Buffalo home isn’t?

Ok.  So you blew this one.  Looks like you’re going back for a Master’s?

So this fall, he will sharpen his marketability at Rutgers’ new master’s program in Jewish studies (think teaching, museums and fund-raising in the Jewish community). Jewish studies may not be the first thing that comes to mind as being the road to career advancement, and Mr. Klein is not sure exactly where the degree will lead him (he’d like to work for the Central Intelligence Agency in the Middle East). But he is sure of this: he needs a master’s. Browse professional job listings and it’s “bachelor’s required, master’s preferred.”

Ahem.

So this fall, he will sharpen his marketability at Rutgers’ new master’s program in Jewish studies (think teaching, museums and fund-raising in the Jewish community). Jewish studies may not be the first thing that comes to mind as being the road to career advancement, and Mr. Klein is not sure exactly where the degree will lead him (he’d like to work for the Central Intelligence Agency in the Middle East). But he is sure of this: he needs a master’s. Browse professional job listings and it’s “bachelor’s required, master’s preferred.”

*mind explodes*

So you have one unmarketable degree, and you’re going to get ANOTHER?  If your goal is to work in the Jewish community, by all means, get that degree.  But, why not research the market first? Do you realize that most Jewish orgs struggle to pay people, and pay is usually around $30k or so for someone starting?  Will that balance out the debts you’re incurring?  Do you already have contacts in the professional Jewish community that will get you started? Did you do Jewish stuff in college?  These are the kinds of questions he should be asking himself instead of aimlessly going for a second degree and being not exactly sure where the degree will lead him.

Hint: If you want to work for the CIA, you need to be in DC, not Rutgers, and you need to be learning Arabic and Farsi and prefrably a third language like WHOA.  Jewish Studies will not help you, unless you are EXTREMELY resourceful.

Don’t waste your own time and money.

Are we all sufficiently outraged?

I need that hat for real.