Questioning That Liberal-Arts Degree?

Have second thoughts about your liberal-arts degree begun to haunt you? It’s a common problem for students who declare a liberal-arts major and then hear rumors about poor employability and depressing income potential. To put your fears at bay, let’s look at some of the facts about liberal-arts degrees.

You’re in Good Company

Writing for Time magazine, Jack Linshi lists 10 successful CEOs of major U.S. corporations who started their professional lives with liberal-arts degrees. The list includes luminaries like Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.

Wojcicki, for instance, graduated from Harvard in 1990 with a BA in history and literature. History, in particular, has often received criticism as a degree with no future, but you can score plenty of well-paying jobs if you’ve discovered a passion for the past. Whether you teach history or become a corporate historian for a major company, you can easily earn a comfortable living. Of course, you could always become the next CEO of a major media company.

Creativity Has Become Currency

Regardless of your future career, creativity will serve you well. Maybe you’re a journalism or English major, for instance, and spend your holiday breaks reading everything you can find. You likely have a vivid imagination and a strong focus on small details. These creativity skills might make you more appealing to prospective employers — not less.

In fact, Fast Company reports that today’s top tech CEOs want to hire liberal-arts grads. They’re looking for professionals with liberal-arts training because the arts nurture creativity and encourage critical thinking. Liberal-arts degree holders often know how to develop new solutions for businesses and can wear multiple hats at their companies.

The World Has Gotten Smaller

The Internet and other technologies have made it easier to socialize and do business with people from different cultures. However, language barriers still exist, and people who can speak multiple languages hold tremendous value in business. Whether you want to teach English to children in a foreign country, communicate with non–English-speakers in a law office, or travel abroad as an interpreter, you have many options.

Furthermore, Rebecca Callahan, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Texas, reports that bilingual people often demonstrate “higher test scores, better problem solving skills, sharper mental acuity, and greater empathy.” These benefits can serve you well as you hunt for a job after graduation and negotiate for a raise in the middle of your career.

Passion Matters

Did you know that happy people enjoy higher income potential? Don’t pursue a STEM career just because you’re worried about employability. Forcing yourself to work in an unattractive field will simply depress you, and it could reduce your salary potential.

If you love the liberal arts, you’ll find a way to make your degree profitable. Since you’re pursuing your passion, you’ll find yourself happier, more contented, and less stressed.

Don’t panic about your liberal-arts degree. Instead, embrace your future in a field you love, and start making good things happen.

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