Many of the readers and followers of this blog have blogs of their own. Evan Harrington is one. He recently commented on my Neighbors post and even reblogged it on his own blog. Naturally I went to his blog and browsed through it. One post in particular rang a bell for me. It was titled “Speech” in which he decried the time he had spent going to college and the massive amount of debt he had assumed only to be jobless and still living with his parents at 25. At a dinner with his family honoring his 25th birthday and his graduation he was asked to make a speech. He said:
I rose, muttering to myself, “You guys want a speech? Here’s a speech,” and then I took turns looking everyone in the eye and said:
“Don’t ever major in English. There’s nothing in it for you. It’s a terrible idea. There’s no jobs, you can’t go anywhere with it.” I pointed at my nieces and nephews, “Don’t do it, hope that you’re good at something else. I didn’t really have a choice, I wasn’t good at anything else.” I shook my hands emphatically, “Hope that you’re good at anything else.”
There’s a lot of truth in that speech, especially about majoring in English. He’d have learned that if he’d listened to The Prairie Home Companion which regularly spoofs English majors. But there are other college majors Evan could have chosen that might have even been worse… say art history. Or when was the last time you saw a help wanted at for someone with a degree in philosophy?
There are a lot of career paths in life that most people don’t want to even consider but which would be much more financially rewarding than those offered to English majors.
For example take a look at this:
This is the house of my neighbor who lives on my immediate right. Know what he does for a living? HE’S THE TOWN GARBAGE MAN!
When I was a kid growing up in the small Cape Cod town of Orleans in the mid 1950s there were two people in town who bought a new one of these every year…
One of those people was Charles Wilson, retired CEO of General Motors who famously said, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the United States.”
The other person who bought a new Cadillac every year was Ralph Mayo, and what Ralph did was something I doubt any reader of this blog would do…he was the guy you called when you needed to have your cesspool pumped out!
So, youngsters, think long and hard about what career path you choose. Being an English major isn’t one of the best.