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How About The Second And Third Jobs?

Reimer - Pixelvario

Is college really useful if it only prepares students for their first job, when most of today's students today will have multiple jobs in their lifetimes.

Every day, you read something about the cost of college: about how hard it is for graduates to find jobs, and how many four-year colleges and universities now offer vocational majors, such as computer game design or new media.

Whether educators believe it or not is hard to tell, but more and more parents apparently believe liberal arts and humanities majors don’t cut it today in the job market.

Parents and students seek majors that prepare kids for a specific job, and there’s no doubt that such vocationally-specific majors can make it easier to get that first job. These majors give graduates a ninety-day head-start.

But in a recent survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education, employers said they want the knowledge and skills that will be crucial, not only in a student’s first job, but in her second, third and fourth jobs. And these, they said, are a capacity to think critically, to communicate clearly, and solve complex problems. These, they said, are far more important than an employee’s major.

I can’t speak for others, but I think I can for communications majors. They do get a ninety-day head-start, but that’s all.

For the long haul, give me an English or history or philosophy, even an art history major, nine-out-of-ten times.

Me? I switched from English to communications.

What a mistake.

To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to

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