Why Major in English?
Todd Kincaid, 2003
Proposal Writer, Marketing and Sales Support
I chose my major while still in high school, and I have never regretted it. For me, a degree was its own reward, and four years of reading the world’s greatest books meant I was more motivated than I would have been otherwise. An English degree actually provides a lot of career flexibility, especially when combined with something a little more prosaic like marketing or finance. While not typically listed as a “sought-after” degree, the skills acquired while pursuing it are highly valued in the marketplace. The ability to write well – and, perhaps more importantly, the ability to think well and clearly – is a useful attribute in almost any profession. People who are interested in literature, history, and the world’s most important ideas will find themselves more engaged in their school work and more knowledgeable about the world around them.
Though they may not advertise it, employers value the skills of reading comprehension, contextual reasoning and critical thinking, and those skills have rewards in the workplace. Also, the “soft skills” gained inherently in the pursuit of an English degree can enhance career options. In my own career, I have been able to weather difficult economic times by navigating between professions – something two English degrees helped me to do. My business experience and my academic background gave me choices others wouldn’t have had in similar circumstances and provided career opportunities in the business world and in academia. I have had the opportunity to teach composition, critical thinking, and literature at public universities and private, for-profit colleges. I have also gained experience as a proposal writer, copywriter, marketing manager, public relations specialist and trainer. A degree in English is a worthy and rewarding pursuit on its own, and it truly does have tangible career rewards for those who are willing to be flexible and open-minded in their pursuits.