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How can I pursue a major and academic study that I'm passionate about and be successful?

I currently find myself to be especially interesting in areas of study such as sociology and anthropology, however I worry that majoring in either of those topics would not provide me with a successful future career. So often it seems that the only majors that lead to a successful future is business or pre-med. #college #major #anthropology #sociology

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Subject: Career question for you


2 answers

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William’s Answer

Hi Riley,

That's a great question. The reality is, your degree may not correlate to the profession/work that you want/can work in. My degree is in English Literature, and I lead an Admin at PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is a professional services firm. Before PwC, I worked at Apple. Neither of those career paths correlated directly to English, but I've been able to use my degree in more creative ways with both companies.

I've known plenty of people that have pursued degrees in Business and have not worked in "Business" or have not been managers or owned their own business, etc. I think it just depends on where you are, what role/job you want, and what your definition of success is. If what you eventually do makes you happy, and you're financially stable, then you'll be in a better place than most.

Do what you're passionate about, make good decisions with where you go and what roles you apply for, and you'll be in a good place. Don't limit yourself to cookie-cutter career decisions, because those don't always work out. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions!

William recommends the following next steps:

Schedule time with people in the field you want to go in.
Check LinkedIn for requirements and ideas about jobs that you want, and reach out to people that have them and learn about their journey.
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Kim’s Answer


How do you define "success?"

Sadly, too many of us define it in terms of wealth, and try to display visual indicators to prove to others that we are indeed "successful." In fact, many of them owe their "success" to credit cards. If you are able to break free of that way of thinking, and realize that brand labels don't matter, you don't need to have the newest, fanciest, whatever, you can be successful in almost anything you do.

The key to being successful is to first define what it means. To you. Not to anyone else. As you enter the world of work, you will find the meaning changes over time, especially if you get married and/or raise a family. It will someday start to look something like this: Having enough TIME, and MONEY, to be able to spend time with, and provide for, my family, and enjoy life, while working at a job that I enjoy doing, without an over-abundance of stress.

If you are single, it might mean being able to go clubbing, or vacationing, occasionally. If you have kids, it might be important to not work the 3-11 shift, so you can have time to help them with their homework. Perhaps you will take 2-3 mini vacations a year - perhaps go camping. And take a big vacation once every 5 years: to a major theme park or a cruise. Go to a few concerts or other shows. Have the resources to let your kids participate in school activities - sports, band, etc.

Sociology/Social Services encompasses a broad range of careers. There are public sector jobs, private sector jobs, nonprofit agencies; entry-level, and management. Some of these jobs pay rather well. You could be a successful fundraiser or grant writer for a non-profit, for example. Your degree could be used in anything such as financial assistance programs (food stamps, housing assistance), career counselors (universities, unemployment office), crime victims advocates, foster youth, adoption, probation/parole officers, corrections officers, police officers, child abuse investigators, Girl Scouts, etc. They also have social workers in hospitals who work with people waiting for organ transplants, etc. It really is a wide open field.

I want to caution you though. Jobs often look appealing from the outside looking in, but once you get in, they are totally different than what you expected. Please try to find a way to get to know some of these people, perhaps by volunteering at agencies or through job shadowing. Ask them about these "other aspects" of their jobs. It's important to get a realistic perspective.

Also, please understand that today's workers often change jobs, about every 2-5 years, as they create their own career paths. So, you could start out in one area, and go into another. They are all interrelated, and, with a little work, you will be able to demonstrate this on your resume. I easily transitioned from law enforcement to working in the Workforce Office.

One final thought. Consider getting a minor in something. Perhaps Business Management or Public Administration. Take enough business classes that you can understand how the money flows. It will be important if you go for higher positions.

Sorry for rambling so much! Hope this information is useful. Let me know if you have any other questions!