Experts & Insiders 8/25/2010

E&I: Is your college degree holding you back?

Is your college degree holding you back?

August 8, 2010


I have my BA in Sociology, and generally any time I tell people, I get the same reaction, “I bet you’re not using your degree, huh?”  To which my stock response is, “I feel I use it everyday”.  Of course learning how groups of people interact is a valuable skill that can translate to almost any situation. It helps in figuring out office dynamics and gives great perspective for marketing.

These days, with a sizable part of my job relating to social media, it seems I’ve round-about worked my way into a position perfectly suited to my degree.  I can pull almost endless demographic statistics and see measured shifts in society happening in real time.

So yay for me and all the other Sociology kids out there who finally have a viable career path directly connected to our degree, but why am I talking about this here?  I started connecting a few dots when I was reading the Industrial Profile on Michael Marckx, VP of Marketing for Globe.  According to the interview, he studied political science and art in college, yet ended up spending most of his professional career in marketing, advertising and media.  His answer for how that came about was simply to say, that he pursued what he liked to do and followed an organic career path, speckled with collaborations with great people.

I think all of us know at least one person who skipped the college and university route and just worked their way up the ranks instead.  These people always seem to get that passion combined with exceptional follow up, or organizational skills can be enough to move your career forward.  But, too often I think kids getting out of college get bogged down with the weight of what they’ve just accomplished.  Four plus years, and a ton of money later, you better to all that to good use right?  Yea, of course, but don’t let your education box you in (or let anyone tell you what you ought to be doing with it).  There’s a lot of ways to learn what you need to know in business, but there’s not many substitutions for passion and commitment.  Go after what you like and what you want, and you’ll find a way to make that liberal arts degree work for you.

Cliques are around for a reason, because they’re usually true.  Think outside the box.  Find the intersection of what you know and what you love and you’ll never have a problem deciding on a career, it will just find you.

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