I have been asking myself this question since I graduated college: What made me pursue a BA in English?
For starters, it was the closest thing that represented what I was interested in. I tried journalism, but of course the school I went to decided to make it mostly graphic design focused, and I’m NOT artsy enough for that…and then senior year they changed it. Go figure. I was three years too old. So I majored in English.
History was another consideration of mine, since my passion for it is about as equal as my passion for writing. But I realized that a history degree would only really be useful for teaching or else going and getting a Master’s which wasn’t something I wanted.
Now I’m discovering that pretty much is the same for English.
I can’t seem to find a job relavent to my degree–at least not in Dayton, Ohio…I know, not the greatest area, but I’m kinda stuck here. Hubby has a good job and he’s advancing quickly. Unfortunately this area is pretty much only good for technology related jobs…something I didn’t go to school for and have no interest in.
I went six full months with nothing but temp work…then I was able to fall into a job as an admin assistant (glorified term for secretary) in real estate. While I’m thankful for this job, I’m also finding myself growing increasingly depressed about it. Mainly because it’s not anywhere near related to any thing I’m interested in, and also, it’s a job I could’ve done right out of high school. It makes me feel as if I flushed 80K down the toilet. Don’t get me wrong–I really do like the agents; they’re very nice (most of the time, but that’s like any job) and I have a great boss. But it’s not my passion and it feels like I’m stagnating.
I have been working on my book more and more and I’m hoping that’s my saving grace…because right now there’s really not many options here, unless I were to pursue a Master’s and try for a library science degree (which I feel would probably also lead me no where, and then I’d be stuck with even more college debt).
Sorry for such a downer post; I suppose I’ve had plenty of time to think about it…
Comments on: "Why Did I Get a BA in English?" (6)
I completely understand where you are coming from. I was going for the English and History degree, but a few people told me that I wouldn’t be able to do anything but teach. So, I thought “business…hmmm” and stopped.
So, mid-30’s, I am back in and working on degrees in psychology and sociology, yet still writing. I am taking this fall off to work on building up my portfolio. I would love to be able to go to the spring writers conference and enter into some of the critique sessions and meet others in my “niche”.
Most of the people I know with English degrees work as social workers or in a hospital. Go figure?
Keep working on your book and you will be fine. It’s just one of those days when you are questioning yourself. I have been doing the same thing and rambled all the way through my post. But part of mine is that I don’t feel my writers club take people that write children’s books seriously. I have to remember that at the ripe old age of 35, I am one of the youngest ones there.
Don’t forget, it’s nearly time for NaNoWriMo and you won’t have time to worry about these things. You’ll be too busy worrying about when you are going to get your next full nights sleep.
I’m in the same boat! well, for the most part anyway – I got a BA in English and Psychology, and really, without going and doing a Masters there isn’t a whole lot I can do with that either. Hell I couldn’t even get a supermarket job or anything else – I’m now ‘overqualified’ for any basic jobs and the decent jobs won’t hire me because I’m a mother (I gave up looking when I got pregnant because well, it was dead certain no one was going to hire me then).
Though, when our new baby is one I am going to spend a couple years studying part time and do the teaching thing. I figure it’ll allow me to still be around for them while at the same time bumping us back to two incomes and a place where we might be able to get into our own home.
In the meantime, writing writing writing, and who knows, maybe I’ll manage to sell a book at some point and really make some progress on the road to becoming a published author, that would be the best thing.
Can be disheartening though to know you have a degree and yet it means very little in the world. Keep writing, keep doing what you love and you’ll find your way through, I know it 🙂
My hubby gave me some really good advice a few years back…work to live, don’t live to work. My day job is my job. My company, which I run in the evenings and on weekends, is my “career.”
Keep working on the book and your writing. These things provide us with compensation and solace when our workaday worlds are not all we wish they were. My goal for the last few years is to work out a way to make a living doing what I love to do. For most of us, it’s a long process (and straddling two worlds isn’t always easy), but eventually, with luck and a few blessings, I’ll get there. You will, too!
Hang in there!
B J Keltz
When you think about it, so many people are working jobs that are simply a way to pay the bills. Of course, you’ll question your choices and maybe you could put out feelers to see if anything catches your fancy. You know, kind of on a no-stress basis.
Meantime, put your energy into that book. Use the tme while you have it. You never know when you situation will change and you might have less time to devote to the book.
Keep plugging away.
nice post dara.
i think career dissatisfaction is a universal truth amongst us creatives. the other is that at some point we will consider graduate school. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve wished i was an engineer – anything that guaranteed consistent and gainful employment – and there are days when i consider selling out and going the corporate route. however, i know that the only way i’ll ever be truly satisfied with my career is if i write.
good luck and stick with it!
I started out in Aerospace Engineering before I found my way to English. But I chose not to get a graduate degree because I don’t want to teach or work in academia. Instead, I’ve spent the last eight years writing for defense, technology, and health care firms. I’ve written and edited books, launched a technical journal, maintained web sites, written white papers, written case studies, and run international conferences.
So, the English degree worked out ok.