what an english major can do.

as i've already stated in previous posts, i didn't think the one english major night our college hosted was sufficient. moreover, faculty should've arranged something like that earlier, say, freshman year, and not at the very last minute when we were all panicking about being jobless and in debt. what's more is that all these websites that claim english majors can do anything is full of crap. editing, advertising, and publishing jobs are hard to come by, and you really have to know someone who knows someone if you don't want to end up making copies, doing coffee runs, and feeling like a complete waste of space. so, i have compiled a list of realistic things that an english major can accomplish once he/she becomes unemployed and has to face the fact that nobody outside of academia gives two shits about literature. note: since i've only done the first one, i was unable to comment extensively on the others, and thus had to rely on ineffective sarcasm.

1) americorps. americorps volunteers work in schools, for nonprofit agencies, as well as religious and environmental groups. members receive a living stipend as well as $4,725 after one year of full-time service to pay off student loans or to use towards tuition. health care coverage is provided, but as my teammates and i have discovered, not guaranteed.

2) peace corps. a more intense (i think) version of americorps, performed for two years in a developing country. members receive $6,000 after two years of service.

3) jesuit volunteer corps. more volunteer work. yeah, you'll soon see that nobody really wants to pay you.

4) teach for america. teach in an inner-city school and get the minimum salary while you become disillusioned with the public education system. note: the interview process apparently borders on ridiculous, and very qualified applicants are frequently rejected.

5) graduate school. stay in school as long as possible. it's better than the "real" world.

6) law school. ditto.

7) community college. take random classes like pharmacology and the history of nicaragua.

8) post-baccalaureate pre-medical. programs for those of us who forgot to switch to pre-med during our junior year.

9) nursing. ditto.

10) jet programme. teach japanese kids in japan.

for those uninterested in a negative ending, ignore the following paragraph:

so, there you have it. if i've forgotten anything, please let me know. it's time to admit that a b.a. in english won't really get you anywhere, except maybe back to living with your parents. your grammar skills (come on, you still don't know when to use "who" vs. "whom"), your communication skills (didn't you choose to major in english because you'd rather read a book than talk to people?), and your critical thinking skills (completely relevant in a country that runs two hour blocks of deal no deal on a weekly basis) mattered only when you were writing papers to gain the approval of some old, white self-important "scholar."

and those interested in a rare, slightly optimistic ending, read on:

i don't regret majoring in english. i seriously doubt i could've enjoyed anything else. i don't know how others do it: accounting, organic chemistry, religious studies. who are people kidding? were they not paying attention when holden ended up in the psychiatric ward? were they not taken aback when jane found that old hag in the attic? were they not completely swept off their feet when ignatius tried selling hot dogs? there are whole worlds out there, and others would choose to spend their time looking at numbers, dissecting cadavers. i simply don't get it. if you don't read, there's no fucking hope for you. none at all.


EasilyEntertained said...

You fool. You should've doubled majored.

Anonymous said...

As an English major (albeit I graduated over 30 years ago), I can attest to the fact that if you have that fire in your belly to get into the publishing business, then keep at it. Yeah, you may have to start off doing administrative work but if you are good and are passionate about what you do, then you will to the top.

One other avenue to puruse to get that dream publishing job is to enter via the sales door. Become a sale rep for a publisher. They want young, smart graduates who look good, are friendly and persuasive, and who want to work hard.

No name said...

And editors need to learn to proofread their blog comments. Forgive the mistooks. I'm still half asleep. It is Saturday after all.