Author Topic: Mustachians with Lib Arts degree working in a completely different field?  (Read 2857 times)

zachaloo

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I'm sure I am not alone, but I was curious about how many of you are working in a career field wholly unrelated to your degree. In my experience, it seems there are many engineers, attorneys, other well compensated types who frequent the MMM, but certainly there are many others out there.

I have a degree in English. My original intention was to become a sports journalist, but my passion for it faded and the lack of opportunities sent me in another direction.

Now I work for the parish assessor's office (we don't have counties in Louisiana) doing GIS (geographic information systems) work. I am the only person I have met or networked with so far that "fell" into a GIS career despite having ZERO experience.

Even though I had no experience, I started working really hard to learn as much as I could on my own since there was no one in my office who knew what to do. I took free online courses, bought and worked through a used textbook for the software I use, joined a local chapter of professionals who work in my field, enrolled in a course at my local university, and now I really feel like I know what I am doing. Still plenty to learn, but it's always cool to see how far I have come in such a short time.

What are your stories?

Chadbert

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I have a BS in Outdoor Recreation.  I work as an aircraft mechanic.

Cezilous

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I have a double degree in history and religious studies, a minor in anthropology, and a certificate in Scandinavian studies.  In hindsight, that means I had no clue what I was doing and no direction.  After 3.5 years, I had enough credits for all that and called it quits/graduated.  I now work with mutual funds and stocks at a financial firm in a gray cubicle.

zachaloo

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I have a BS in Outdoor Recreation.  I work as an aircraft mechanic.

Outdoor recreation? Were you shooting to be a park ranger?

Chadbert

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I have a BS in Outdoor Recreation.  I work as an aircraft mechanic.

Outdoor recreation? Were you shooting to be a park ranger?
Unfortunatley, park rangers tend to need a science degree, like wildlife biology or some such thing.  No, I took a couple classes so that I could be a camp counselor on a summer backpacking program and I enjoyed the classes so much, I changed my major, turns out, camping doesn't pay the bills.  I could have gotten a job as a camp director, but that would never have paid off my student loans.  I did work in the outdoor rec field for 6 years, but I could have done all those jobs with a different degree.
Liberal arts degrees can be fun topics in college, but most should really only be a minor or at least a double major with a useful degree (at least that is my opinion in hindsight).

zachaloo

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I have a BS in Outdoor Recreation.  I work as an aircraft mechanic.

Outdoor recreation? Were you shooting to be a park ranger?
Unfortunatley, park rangers tend to need a science degree, like wildlife biology or some such thing.  No, I took a couple classes so that I could be a camp counselor on a summer backpacking program and I enjoyed the classes so much, I changed my major, turns out, camping doesn't pay the bills.  I could have gotten a job as a camp director, but that would never have paid off my student loans.  I did work in the outdoor rec field for 6 years, but I could have done all those jobs with a different degree.
Liberal arts degrees can be fun topics in college, but most should really only be a minor or at least a double major with a useful degree (at least that is my opinion in hindsight).

Well at least you got a few years of adventure out of it!

As much as I enjoyed all of my English lit and theory classes, you're right in saying it is better served to minor in those areas unless you're planning on being a hardcore academic. I will say that it taught me to think far more creatively and analytically. That has given me a huge leg up on learning to do any other job IMO.

Samuel

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BA in Sociology, work in business operations.

Penn42

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B.A. in Jazz Performance.  Union Plumber.

After 4 years of school I was so over it.  I'd call myself a self starter and finally realized I don't respond that well to the classroom.  Decided I needed to make money and this was easily the best readily available option.  It worked out pretty good because it was a fellow union member who turned me onto MMM!
Sharing In The Groove

Tom Bri

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BS in Animal Science. Worked as an English teacher 15 years, in Real Estate and insurance another 7, and am now a nurse. I think it doesn't much matter what you major in for where you end up.

goatmom

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BA in English.  Now a physician.

Unique User

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BA in Anthropology, now a Recruiting Manager.

Zoot

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BA double-major in Spanish and English, ABD in linguistics, MA in religious studies (I was in school until 33--think perpetual student). 

I work as an inventory analyst, and joined the double comma club last year at 50, after 17 years in the work force making various five-figure salaries the whole time.  :)


Lanthiriel

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BA English with a minor in Sociology. MS Writing/Book Publishing. I work for a civil engineering firm writing proposals for public projects.

BrightFIRE

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BA in International Affairs, grad school 10 years later, MS in Technical Communication. I work for an educational nonprofit as an analyst.

haflander

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BA double in English and History. I work as a medical editor for a pharma consulting firm. There ARE jobs for English majors that aren't teaching or academia, as long as you get experience (internships/PT work) in other fields (medical, publishing, software, tech, SEO, marketing, content writing, social media) BEFORE looking for a FT salary job.

marcela

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BA in Art History with a minor in Women's Studies. I am now a fundraiser for a public university's college of veterinary medicine.

Emerald

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BA in Geography with a minor in History, Master of Forestry.  Now I'm a park ranger who dabbles in GIS.

Steeze

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My older sister has a BA in English and is working as director of product design at a software company and makes 120k+ last I checked and works 40 hrs a week tops. meanwhile I grind away 60+ hrs/wk as an engineer and make less than her! Dang English majors have it made.
-100k at 25, 0 at 30, +50k and counting! FI Target 2030

saguaro

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BA in German, work in IT

Fomerly known as something

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BS in International Relations minor in Environmental science.  Working in Law Enforcement dabbling in computer crimes.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 06:21:33 PM by Fomerly known as something »

skibum

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BA in History, working in IT now, was a software tester and manager, a project manager, now do strategic planning. There are many jobs in tech that don't require technical degrees.

mspym

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BA in History and American Studies, IT project manager for major banks. It turns out arts degrees are really useful in being able to connect ideas and people.

Runner5

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Linguist by academic training, now working as data scientist and GIS technician. I don't really know how I got here, I just remember raving about how much I love Pivot Tables in my interview.

Imma

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Originally planned to do political science, but ended up with a Bachelor's in Law and minors in Cultural History and Peace and Conflict studies.

I started working in finance during college and stayed in that field. I could have looked for a job in the law field after I graduated, but those jobs paid less than what I was earning in finance and I wasn't deeply passionate about the law field. Through my work I'm getting more interested in tax law and I will pursue a Master's degree in tax law from September, but my heart is still with political science / cultural history / peace and conflict studies and I can see myself doing research in any of those fields after FIRE.

I would encourage anyone to do a minor or double major in a field they love, instead of only doing a degree based on potential future earnings. You don't just go to college to get a degree and a job, you also go to college to grow as a person, to gain skills in critical thinking, research and to get a broader understanding of society as a whole.

kanga1622

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I have a degree in Accounting and work in Admissions for a public university. It is still a lot of data and numbers so I use some of the stats/data crunching skills I learned in my degree program.

Malkynn

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BA in psych and linguistics

Currently working as a medical professional, and financial consultant.

poetdereves

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I have a BA in Theology and work in the medical field.

madgeylou

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BA in Creative Writing and Literary and Cultural Studies -- now I work as a business analyst for a software company, and my job is basically English-to-English translation. Much of my creative writing consists mainly of thinking of new ways to explain things to dummies who aren't getting it, bless them.

dustinst22

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Liberal Arts degree as well here.

Own an internet marketing agency.  Funny thing is that this has turned out to be far more lucrative than if I had studied something specialized and then stayed in that field.  A huge part of my success can be attributed to having a broad education that wasn't narrowly focused.  I think as AI matures, a broad education, wide ranging problem solving expertise, and critical thinking skills will be more highly valued by companies looking for new talent.  Mark Cuban has commented on this quite a bit.  The fact is, if your entire education is simply trainable skills, you are easily replaceable.  Your liberal arts background will serve you well if you leverage it in the right way.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 01:32:18 PM by dustinst22 »

ponderous_tome

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Double-majored - BA in Linguistics and BA in Creative Writing w/ a minor in a foreign language. I've worked in editorial roles and in marketing. I did quite a few internships, part-time jobs and a handful of freelance gigs to build up my resume, so I never found myself in the "unemployed English major" camp, but I also moved to a large city w/a higher cost of living to get more opportunities. Currently working in marketing and very interested in data science for NLP/linguistics reasons and plan to use tuition reimbursement to pursue that at my company.

Neo

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Journalism degree with a second major in geography. I work in vendor risk management for a large bank.

SwordGuy

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BA in Political Science, minors in History and Economics, intending to go into the Foreign Service.

Ended up as a Software Developer.

Oddly enough, my political science training was much better preparation for being an analyst and data modeler than the computer science training most folks get as part of a computer-related degree.   Plato and Socrates rock.

dustinst22

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Oddly enough, my political science training was much better preparation for being an analyst and data modeler than the computer science training most folks get as part of a computer-related degree.   Plato and Socrates rock.

Exactly this.  Learning how to think/learn and solve problems is vastly more important than learning specific skills that can always be gained later.  It's why I'm encouraging my son to study a lot of different things before deciding what he wants to do when he enters college.  In an ideal world, imo undergrad studies should be very broad.  Specializing can come later.  It's important to gain a real education for a lot of reasons.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 04:34:48 PM by dustinst22 »

clarkfan1979

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Very few people stay within one field during an entire working career. As a result, I don't think it makes sense to specialize in undergrad.
Kauai in the Winter & Denver in the Summer

mies

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I was a fine arts major. I have a Bachelors degree in tuba performance. Now I do software testing and am working on user interface test automation. When Iím not manually testing software, I write code that can help us test without needing to have someone essentially follow a script to click stuff and enter text.
Less is more.

bluemarie

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Another arts grad in an IT career here.  I majored in Vocal Performance/Music Theory and Composition, and am now a Business Analyst on the supply chain/product design and development side of the fashion industry.  100% agree that learning how to think (and, I would say, how to communicate effectively) is much more important than the particular course of study.  I'm incredibly grateful to have spent four years living and breathing music, and just as grateful that today it's a source of relaxation and joy in my life rather than what I must depend on to feed and house myself.

Romag

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Bachelor's in History, Master's in International Affairs. I did 22 years in the US Army. Not sure if that is COMPLETELY different.

alex753

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Avionics Technician, trained in the USMC. 

I went back to college using my GI Bill and company paid tutiion, and ended up with a BA in Economics, which I am far more interested in than aviation. 

Contemplating a career change.

eostache

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BS in geology and minor in GIS.

I did some short stints as a field geologist. geoarchaeologist, and GIS Specialist (with archaeologists). Those fields are now flooded with applicants and pay is low.

Now I work as an "Energy Data Analyst" at a small company that manages utility data for various municipalities and school districts around the country. I spend all day looking at spreadsheets and databases. It's not as exciting as what I went to school for but it pays well, it's easy, and my co-workers are all very nice. I also have a 10 minute bike ride to work. My degree is just a novelty now, thankfully I have no student loans.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 05:50:18 PM by eostache »

BayAreaHiker

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BA in Biology, worked in the nonprofit sector for a few years, now I'm in VC/PE accounting. Kind of all over the place.

thecampguy

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I have a BS in Outdoor Recreation.  I work as an aircraft mechanic.

Outdoor recreation? Were you shooting to be a park ranger?
Unfortunatley, park rangers tend to need a science degree, like wildlife biology or some such thing.  No, I took a couple classes so that I could be a camp counselor on a summer backpacking program and I enjoyed the classes so much, I changed my major, turns out, camping doesn't pay the bills.  I could have gotten a job as a camp director, but that would never have paid off my student loans.  I did work in the outdoor rec field for 6 years, but I could have done all those jobs with a different degree.
Liberal arts degrees can be fun topics in college, but most should really only be a minor or at least a double major with a useful degree (at least that is my opinion in hindsight).

I'm the guy who is a Full Time Camp Guy!
I remember when I first started out, our camp had a visit from a number of grad students from Georgia, and I asked what they were hoping to accomplish with their studies. Their reply... they wanted my job!

I kept my Bachelor of Fine Arts on the down low after that, seeing as how my degree cost the same as one year of their tuition. Thanks Canada!

That being said I have a BFA and work in Outdoor Education

HermanCain

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Degree in bio, decided not to do health professioanal school.

Returning for stats degree.

DeskJockey2028

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BA in History, MEd, also in History.

I work with computers.

frugalmom

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I have a double degree in history and religious studies, a minor in anthropology, and a certificate in Scandinavian studies.  In hindsight, that means I had no clue what I was doing and no direction.  After 3.5 years, I had enough credits for all that and called it quits/graduated.  I now work with mutual funds and stocks at a financial firm in a gray cubicle.
I have a history degree and soooo many minors...women's studies, native american studies, african american studies, the list is endless.

I work in insurance. :(  At least I am interesting :)

JimLahey

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Paramedic with a B.S. in Psychology.

ptobeast

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Degree in Communication Arts (Illustration emphasis). Currently work as a web developer. I did have a few years where I painted watercolors professionally, but that was couched between development jobs.

Larsg

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Now I work for the parish assessor's office (we don't have counties in Louisiana) doing GIS (geographic information systems) work. I am the only person I have met or networked with so far that "fell" into a GIS career despite having ZERO experience.

Even though I had no experience, I started working really hard to learn as much as I could on my own since there was no one in my office who knew what to do. I took free online courses, bought and worked through a used textbook for the software I use, joined a local chapter of professionals who work in my field, enrolled in a course at my local university, and now I really feel like I know what I am doing. Still plenty to learn, but it's always cool to see how far I have come in such a short time.

Yup, degree in English here about 20 yrs ago and have been in high tech for 15 yrs...business is business and to put myself through college, I started my own and also waited tables where you learn a lot about business, politics, management, capacity planning, leadership, etc. I had to hustle my way through college. I majored in English because the business classes at the time were so slow compared to what I had already learned and I was bored to death. I got a job in Big Corp - lots of folks mistakenly believe that you have to specialized in college to make big bucks and that's just not true. Big Corps need all kinds of people, especially those that are highly adaptive and fast learners. My real education happened long before college and long after. I have had leadership roles in Sales, Finance, Operations, Marketing, IT, and HR. Just about every department. The degrees get you in, what you do there is up to you.

What are your stories?
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SpareChange

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BA in Economics. I'm an x-ray tech.

FernFree

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B.A. in Spanish - Latin American Studies, History Minor
M.L.A. - Master's of Landscape Architecture

Work for a large computer manufacturer for the last 19+ years in Business Operations, Project Management, and Supply Chain Logistics.

ketchup

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My boss has about half of an English or History degree and he's an IT manager.