Actually those earnings can total nearly as much or even more than majors in business and STEM fields.
In The New York Times, Jeffrey J. Selingo cites the research of Temple University economics professor Douglas A. Webber. His special niche is analyzing earnings by those majoring in certain subjects.
Webber found, for example, that the top quarter of those who majored in English make more over a lifetime than the bottom quarter of chemical engineers.
Also, former English majors who are in the 60th percentile of earnings make $2.64 million. Former business majors make $2.86 million.
In addition, former psychology majors make $2.57 million.
Like many other majors, the English one trains close reading, analysis, and writing. In addition, the talented English major can develop advanced skills in communications.
After all, we live for four years with so many models of effective rhetoric. Those range from the dramas of Shakespeare to the essays of Joan Didion And that was why, when the English major didn't carry stigma, many future lawyers chose it.
The tough nut to crack is in finding a job which pays well. It is all too easy to go the route of embarking on career paths which don't do that. They include publishing, journalism, and academia.
My career started out low-paying. Among the ways to make a living was freelance writer, adjunct professor, research assistant for a state senator, and media representative in a university.
The career guide hammered that most well-paying jobs aren't advertised. We get to know they exist by sending out what are called requests for "informational interviews."
In our pitch letter (it was snail mail then) we don't request a job. All we ask for is a 15-minute meeting to find out more about a field and the particular company.
I sent out 10 to local corporations. Yes, I realized I needed to shift to the private sector.
There were four responses. One actually had a position available in executive communications, that is, ghostwriting and speechwriting. That was Chevron. My salary more than doubled.
About a decade later, when I started my own communications boutique, I leveraged the same tactic: Ask for informational interviews. Within seven months the gross earnings were about 25% higher than my former corporate ones.
Along the way, I did try out earning a living in fields other than communications.
However, in none of them could I achieve the recognition I have in ghostwriting/speechwriting. So, I always returned.
Had I to do it over again would I major in English?
The answer is: No.
I would do my due diligence on what majors are geared for graduates to get out of the gate fast and with initial above-average earnings. During my slow start something broke inside me. That was confidence.
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