Major Trouble

By Robert Goldman

November 15, 2018 6 min read


Looks like you made a big boo-boo, way back in college, when you chose your major.

At the time, it seemed like a good decision to follow your passion and pick art history. Or philosophy. Or poetry of the ancient Etruscans.

Everyone said it: You must follow your passion. The problem came later, after graduation, when you discovered there was one passion your degree wouldn't let you follow — your passion to eat regularly.

Now, it all seems so clear. Computer programming was the major you should have chosen. You would never have known the inner turmoil of Mark Rothko or Sylvia Plath, but you would have graduated with a deep appreciation of C++, distributed systems, algorithms, neural networks and machine learning.

In a word, KA-CHING!

Or so I thought. Recently I came across — a website devoted to colleges around the globe. While you might not need counseling to see the advantages of tangoing through four years at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, the site does offer advice on career possibilities for a variety of degrees.

For example, consider the profusion of career possibilities for those unimaginative losers who got their degree in management.

At the top of the list, with average earnings of $84,963, is the career of management consultant. Whether this job even requires a degree, I'm not sure. All you have to do is convince some management dummy that you know more about their job than they do.

Considering the managers in your company, this shouldn't be difficult.

It is also helpful if your college curriculum included a class on Consultant Lingo 101.

"From a 20,000-foot view, it looks like you're trying to boil the ocean," you explain. "There are too many employees on your SME team who don't demonstrate a buy-in to the MECE program, and that leads to A.O.B."

If you can say that without giggling, you're in.

As a consultant, you really don't do any work. Your job is to get other people to work. If they do, you're a success. If they don't, you fire everyone in sight and move on to the next gig. Sweet!

Of course, you really don't need anyone to tell you that when it comes to finding jobs, business majors pretty much have it made. (Computer majors have it even better. You can insist on coming to work in your bathrobe and building a bonfire in your cubical if you can tickle the keys of your iMac with the sweet melodies of Python and Java.)

Which brings us to your degree — in classics. You're not going to get a passel of RSUs with a Ph. D. in ancient Akkadian grammar, but there are careers for you.

With an average salary of about $77,900, archivist is a top choice at

Archivists collect, catalog and preserve documents and artifacts. With luck, you could nab a job curating the comic book collection of a high-tech billionaire. You fly around the world in a corporate jet attending comic book conventions and rubbing space lasers with fascinating people who choose to dress up as Doctor Hormone and Kangaroo Man.

You could even come home with William Shatner's autograph. Now that's a perk!

Even art history majors have career possibilities. The website is positively glowing about what many see as a complete waste of college tuition.

"Whether you choose to specialize in fine art or the history of art," it says, "the skills you gain during your degree are likely to be highly valued and transferable to many sectors."

The unemployment sector is what immediately comes to mind, but there are opportunities. For example, you can become a famous artist, earning millions of dollars as art collectors bid for your scribbles and doodles.

There's only one major drawback to this career path. In order to make the megabucks, you have to be dead. Considering the tedium of your weekly staff meetings, it's not a terrible trade-off.

Even philosophy majors can have a career.

It turns out that the No. 1 career for philosophy students is teaching philosophy to other philosophy students. If this strikes you as something of an academic pyramid scheme, you're right.

As a backup, Top Universities also recommends journalism as a career possibility for philosophy majors.

It's true. Graduate with top grades and you could qualify for a career writing this column.

If that isn't worth six or ten years at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, I don't what is.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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