First, a couple of years ago, I went to my daughter’s high school to give a presentation on careers. I put up a slide that listed about 20 of my friends, their college majors, and their careers today. As all these friends were in their 40s, it had been a bit of time since college. Only the accountant as still working in her field of study. So, I told these high school students that what they majored in wasn’t critical and the teacher about had a heart attack. He kept interrupting me and saying, “No! What they study determines their future job!”
Second, a few weeks ago, I was in Turkey. We visited a carpet shop and began speaking with the salesman who had excellent English. He told us that he had lived in the United States for 20 years and returned to Turkey recently. How did he end up in the US, we asked. He went for graduate school–he and his wife were enrolled in a Ph.D. program in political science, but he had dropped out when he realized it was not for him. We laughed. My husband and I met in a political science Ph.D. program and had both dropped out when we realized it was not for us. So, we had three political science dropouts. I’m an HR person, my husband is a statistician in pharmaceuticals, and this man sold carpets. Our careers couldn’t be more different, even though we all studied the same subject in school.
There is a huge disconnect between what schools teach and what reality looks like. A teacher is a job that generally requires a specific degree and certification, so teachers tend to think that is what all jobs require. And, of course, there are plenty of careers that have similar requirements. If you want to be a lawyer, you need to go to law school. But, what you study as an undergrad doesn’t really matter all that much.
To keep reading, click here: Your 6th Grader Doesn’t Need to Know Her Future Career