The Corporate World Is Not for Me...Or Maybe it Could Be

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"You may be saying to yourself, I Couldn't work in the [banking, insurance, pharmaceutical, investment industry] because I don't know the first thing about that industry.  I was an English major!

         Ignorance of a particular industry does not preclude your getting a communications-related job in that industry.  For one thing, companies are in the business of training their people.  They can train you, too, either in a formal educational setting or via a mentoring relationship.  Moreover, depending on who you're communicating with, ignorance may actually be a boon."

-From Tim Lemire's I'm an English Major---Now What?, chapter 8 "Going Corporate" page 161

 

I have to agree with many of the ideas that Lemire brings up in this chapter on and English major working in the business world.  First of all, I absolutely abhor business, which is unfortunate in this business-oriented society.  Most people want to make money, want to get everything they want, want to get to the top and be above everyone else.  I am perfectly happy with what I have right now.  This is of course why I want to be a teacher: yes, they don't make a lot of money, but I will enjoy my job immensely while still making enough money to get the things I need and want.  This is the biggest problem for me to get over about business: I am an intrinsically motivated person.  The most satisfying jobs for me are the volunteer ones, not the ones where I make tons of money for little work.  Unfortunately, businesses are extrinsically motivating: they give pay raises, benefits, and higher positions, which of course aren't bad, but I'm just not the kind of person who likes to work to get things in return.  I want to be paid for my career, but with teaching, I will be have more intrinsic rewards in seeing my students excel than extrinsic rewards in pay.

Anyway, back to Lemire.  For me, he is kind of saying that just because I chose to major in English, it doesn't mean I will never have to have a job, or never be able to get a job, in the corporate world.  I do want to be a teacher, but I also plan to someday use my degree in English Literature for that particular field.  Would I love to work in the corporate world as a writer or communicator?  I'm not sure.  The only business-related jobs I have held were as a clerk in a video store and in a flower shop.  I didn't mind the work that I had to do, I minded the structure and rules of the business, the constant reminders of commissions, and the mandated devotion to the company.  However, if I took a job as a writer and communications personnel, I may have a different take on working for a business.  Obviously, I would have to like what the business was doing in order to write promotional material, but if I could find this type of a business, I think that I could make it in the corporate world.  Thanks to Lemire for making me think about an option that I had completely ruled out before reading this chapter.

 

5 Comments

I know the ed certification program is time-consuming, but it sounds like you would benefit from taking an internship as an elective.

Once you're established as a teacher, you might also be able to find part-time work editing textbooks or reviewing textbook proposals in a publishing house. (But you might also just want to enjoy the breaks! That's another way teachers get paid.)

DID said:

As a former English major (graduated in '95) I have a love-hate relationship with the business world. I wanted to be a teacher, too, but I worked in the book business and for a big Seattle dotcom for a while first. When I finally got accepted to a Masters in Teaching program, my first child arrived, so it never happened. I don't regret missing out on teaching, frankly, since I don't care much for high school kids. But, I have found that it is not too difficult to find work in the business world with an English degree. I work in Marketing Communications now, in California for another dotcom. The work isn't too demanding and I get to write a lot, and can support my family on a single income, which I never would have been able to do as a teacher. I still don't care much for the business world, but I had to decide that my work would just have to be my work, and not my life. But the fact is that there is a great need for people with decent writing and communication skills out there in the business world. These MBAs and business majors couldn't write a proper sentence to save their lives.

Erica Gearhart said:

Thanks for the advice Dr. Jerz. My summer job this year is actually more like an internship because it is a volunteer position that I am somewhat compensated for. I would, however, really love to take an internship that is English-related instead of mainly education-related if I have the time.

Erica Gearhart said:

DID, it is refreshing to hear this statement from a previous English major who has actually succeeded in the business world. I am also heartened by the fact that there will be some type of work out there for me when I graduate. Thanks for the encouraging and positive comment!

Erica - thanks for linking to this post for me. The comment from DID was really encouraging to me as well. Have a great weekend hun!

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