Category Archives: Career Management

Worst College Majors for Your Career

Make no mistake: An undergraduate degree can improve your employment prospects and paycheck size. A high school graduate earns 40% less than someone with a bachelor’s degree and is more than twice as likely to be unemployed. But not all college majors are created equal. In fact, grads with certain majors sometimes fare worse in the labor force than workers who stopped studying after high school.

Considering the time and expense that goes into earning a college degree, knowing whether your course of study is a career-killer is powerful knowledge indeed. That’s why we analyzed the jobless rates and salaries for graduates with the 100 most popular majors to come up with our list of the ten worst values in college majors.

Using data from and Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, we looked for majors whose graduates—both recent grads (within the past five years) and those well into their careers—face a brutal combination of low compensation and high unemployment. We also worked with Payscale to determine the likelihood that recent graduates from each major would end up working in retail, where a college degree isn’t always required, rather than in their field of study. A ratio of 1.0 is the norm; a ratio of 2.0 means a graduate of that major is twice as likely to work in retail as the average college grad.

10. English
9. Sociology
8. Drama and Theater Arts
7. Liberal Arts
6. Studio Arts
5. Graphic Design
4. Philosophy and Religious Studies
3. Film and Photography
2. Fine Arts
1. Anthropology

By Caitlin Dewey –

You can read the entire article here.


The Strongest Careers Are Non-Linear

The following is an article by Penelope Trunk, Co-founder of Brazen Careerist. I haven’t thought long enough about the concepts she presents here to develop a strong opinion one way or the other, but on the surface they seem interesting.

Here’s the article in full:

For years we have been talking about the education bubble and the problem that colleges charge tons of money and then graduates are unemployable and in debt. Colleges are responding by becoming job preparation centers. And Frank Bruni, opinion editor for the New York Times, says this is a waste of time and resources. Here’s what’s better:

1. Skipping college.
The real issue we have with admitting that college is not a path to the work world is then we have to ask ourselves why we send our kids to high school. There is plenty of data to show that teens are able to manage their lives without the constraints of school. The book Escaping the Endless Adolescence is chock full of data, and a recent article by my favorite journalist, Jennifer Senior, shows that high school is not just unnecessary, but actually damaging to teens who need much more freedom to grow than high school affords.

2. Focus on internships instead of school.
Kids should be working in internships in high school. Because the best path to a good job is a bunch of great internships. But great internships don’t go to people who need money. They are mostly for young people. Yes, this is probably illegal and classist and bad for a fluid society. But we will not debate that here. Instead we will debate why kids need to go to college if the internships are what make them employable? Kids should do internships in high school and by their college years, they are capable of real jobs where they are doing work that people value, with cash.

You cannot take this route if you’re saddled with huge student loans. You can’t take this route if you’re inundated by homework in required subjects you don’t care about. You can’t take this route if you have no work experience when you graduate college. It’s too late. (Don’t tell me you need to go to school to learn, okay? People just do not believe this anymore.)

I was reading the Fortune list of 40 under 40 and I was struck by the career history of Kevin Feige (number 11 on the list). He’s president of Marvel Studios at age 39. He wrote that he interned with the Superman movie director as a film student and that was the last job application he filled out. That’s because if you get an internship with someone great, and your performance is great, your network will cover your employment needs for a very long time.

3. Start a company instead of writing a resume.
I’m struck by Marissa Mayer (number 3 on Fortune’s list) whose announced acquisition strategy is buying small, cheap companies. Which is, in effect, buying the team. Silicon Valley calls these acqui-hires. She is looking at young people who start companies that are not necessarily successful in terms of product or sales but successfully market the founders as visionaries, self-starters, and hard workers. You can’t show those traits in school, so if you have those traits, you slow yourself down by going to school where you cannot exhibit your best, marketable traits.

4. Refuse to present yourself in a linear way.
Do any workaround that lets you forgo the linear obsession the standard resume format. Because linear presentations favor people who have long, rule-following careers – which don’t necessarily make you look good anyway. I could write a post ten thousand paragraphs long of all the new things people with nonlinear work histories are doing to get jobs.

People use twitter as a resume, according to the Wall Street Journal, which requires only that you publish ideas, not any sort of academic experience.

Young people are selling stock in themselves – paying out dividends for decades at a time.

Agents represent workers who pick and choose projects that match them rather than signing on for indefinite amounts of time. The Harvard Business Review calls this supertemping. Business Week calls it going Hollywood.

But here’s the big takeaway. A fundamental shift is taking place, where the path to getting a job is massively circumventing college credentials. And, at the same time, the American public is fed up with the insane debt that college are expecting new grads to take on in order to graduate. (Good essay: How College Ruined My Life.)

If you are not going to school in order to “fit” into the adult world, then why are you going to school? The love of learning, presumably. But school reform pundits are 100% sure that kids will choose to learn if you put no constraints on them. They will just learn what they want. Best example: The MIT program that gave iPads to illiterate kids in Ethiopia, and they taught themselves to use it, program it, and read it in English. No teacher. No curriculum.

The biggest barrier to accepting the radical new nature of the job hunt is the reverberations throughout the rest of life. If you don’t need school for work, and you don’t need school for learning, then all you need school for is so parents can go to work and not worry about taking care of their kids.

It takes bravery to go against the grain. It’s difficult to say that the great learning and the great jobs come from leaning out, doing things in a nonlinear, non standard way, and playing only by the rules that fit your own style for personal learning and growth.

How To Discover A New Career

Many people dream of starting a new career. Perhaps you’re one of those who would rather be doing something else for a living. You’ve thought hard about what that might be. You’ve wondered how to make a change. And in the final analysis, you probably didn’t do anything about it.

Most people who consider starting a new career never do it, primarily because they don’t know where to start. They also expect to know exactly what it is that they will pursue, and in the absence of that certainty, fail to take any action.

Although some people will know what’s next for them, it’s unreasonable to expect that that idea will come easily. You’ve been practicing your current work, not practicing ways to explore your options. As such, you’re not likely to know your next step.

Here’s a strategy to change that! Continue reading

The 5 C’s To Building A Career

If you have clarity about what you want and need in your life, you are more likely to get it. This is as true for your career as it is for other things in your life. However, most people spend more time researching and evaluating a car purchase, than they do on that very important thing in life – a career.

When it comes to your “life’s work,” you can significantly increase the odds of building a career you will love by taking a few simple factors into account. These include being clear about what you want to do, where and with whom you want to do it, and what you want to get out of it as well as what you are willing to give up in return. However, this is not the way most people approach their career.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t plan our careers, we just take jobs. And even when we do some planning, we base our decision on only one or two factors, when there are other equally important things to consider. Continue reading

Promoted from the Rank and File

I’m periodically asked to respond to a question posed by readers of the Career Builder section of the Arizona Republic newspaper, in a column known as “Ask The Experts.” Following is a recent Q&A from that column.


I recently was promoted out of the rank and file to a supervisory position. How can I gain respect and work well with my former co-workers who now report to me?


Your first order of business will be to define what success is in your new role. From that you can set clear goals for you and your team and then lead them, not “boss” them, to fulfilling your mission.

Do this by holding a meeting and sharing your vision of success, and solicit ideas from the group on how best to get where you want to go. I also recommend that you meet with each team member individually, and ask them what you can do to help them succeed, and then do it. And most importantly, don’t forget about those things you complained about when you were peers.

Perhaps there are things that you can change that will give you instant credibility. You may not be able to do everything that they ask of you, but if they know that you care, they will be more loyal, committed and productive.

Networking into Job Opportunities

Once again, I was asked to respond to a question posed by readers of the Career Builder section of the Arizona Republic newspaper, in a column known as “Ask The Experts.” Following is a recent Q&A from that column, which was published in the Business Gazette:


Over the past six month, I’ve attended dozens of networking events in the hope of jump-starting my job search.  Now, I’ve been out of work nearly a year and am in need of real, immediate help. How can I turn simple networking into networking/job opportunities?


Successful job networking is a lot like ordering lunch. Picture yourself in a deli staring at the menu board as you are asked, “What would you like?” If you know what you want, you order it; eat it, and then go on with your day. But let’s say that you have no idea what you want. Regardless of how long you stare at the menu, you are likely to go hungry.

Networking is no different. People are willing to help you, but you make it difficult when you can’t tell them how. In a job search you need two things – information and contacts. Networking can get you both if you’re willing to ask for help, as well as give it in return. Before you attend a networking meeting or event, clearly understand your purpose. Make it easy for people to give you exactly what you need – a contact lead or referral.

Some Will, Some Won’t, So What?

Once again, I was asked to respond to a question posed by a reader of the Career Builder section of the Arizona Republic newspaper, in a column known as “Ask The Experts.” Following is a recent Q&A from that column.


I was convicted of a felony 13 years ago. I wanted to change my life, so I made the decision to go to school. This year I will be graduating with an MBA in Project Management. Have I wasted my money going to school? Was I just dreaming thinking I could be a professional even though I have a felony conviction?


In spite of what you’ve done in the past, good or bad, there are three types of people that you will encounter in the world. They include those who are for you, those who are against you and those who don’t care.

I’ve coached people in your situation so I know that there are opportunities out there that are “for you,” although some industries are sensitive and have more rigid hiring policies. You may be better off looking at companies that are more people-driven and not policy-driven. In any event, your job is to find those opportunities, and then honestly convey to them that you have the ability to accept consequences, overcome poor choices and accomplish positive things like getting an MBA.

Going forward, the only thing that could be a waste of time is to dwell on the past. Do your best to let that go, keep dreaming and expect good things for your future.