My dad was a blue collar union man. My mom worked part-time (once we were all in school full-time), at first cleaning houses, and then at an office. She never had a “career”. None of my relatives had “careers”; although they (mostly) did work, it was blue collar and entry-level white collar. By the time I graduated high school, none had gone to college, except one cousin who was studying to be a teacher. My parents were also loners, as was I. They didn’t really have any close friends, and neither did I. As a result, I didn’t have anyone to emulate, and therefore knew next to nothing about college and the working world. It was implied (by everyone, including school councilors) that a bachelor’s degree would guarantee me a good job, leading to a career.
I went to college with the intention of majoring in photography, but my parents didn’t want me to declare a major until my Sophomore year. By the time I got ready to select my Sophomore classes, I discovered that I would, at that point, need 4 full years to complete that degree. My advisor encouraged me to try art history, because it involved the arts and also involved a lot of research and writing. She said it would be the equivalent of majoring in English, and I’d have no problem finding a job. I had a very vague idea of what kind of job I might end up in, but I knew it would be a good one. That’s what college is for, right?
I graduated magna cum laude with a BA in art history, and a minor in anthropology. There were no jobs where I grew up (it’s very rural), so after working retail for several years, I relocated to a small city which was a financial boom-town at the time. I got a job at a health insurance customer care call center, which later closed. I moved on to a paper-pushing position at a durable medical equipment company, where I was again laid off. I worked briefly in HR for the census. Then I went back to school, this time with a career plan in view.
I went to a well-known for-profit school and got a diploma in medical billing and coding. I obtained my CPC-A credentials. I have worked a few temp jobs since then, but am unable to find a job which doesn’t require at least two years experience for entry-level.
If I could go back again, I’d major in something like accounting. I like numbers, and it pretty much guarantees a career-path which will always be in demand. I should not have majored in any liberal art. A BA is so useless I might as well have skipped getting it altogether.