Transcript00:04welcome to the office hours my name is00:06John phia i chair the history department00:08here at messiah college and i also teach00:10American history this is episode 12 of00:13the office hours I am here in my office00:16with Megan p.m. are faithful filmer and00:20producer of these videos one of these00:22things were going to get Megan on camera00:24maybe we’ll do an interview with her00:25about that about the verge of making the00:28virtual office hours but what we want to00:31talk about today I look at this kind of00:33maybe that’s the last office hours in a00:36series that we’ve been doing now we’ve00:38been interrupted here and there with00:39some interviews and opportunities that00:41we’ve taken but I think this will be the00:43last the last segment in a series we’ve00:46been doing on how to think historically00:49and what you know the purpose of a00:52history major what his three majors can00:54do and so forth if you remember we00:56started back thinking about the five00:58seas of historical thinking we talked01:00about the past as a foreign country we01:03talked about the usefulness of the pass01:05of the usable pneus of the past I01:07suggested some ways in which Christians01:09might think about how to reflect on the01:12past like sin or the imago gay moral01:15criticism these kinds of things we01:18talked about history for a civil society01:21a couple couple episodes ago and now I01:25want to wrap this up with a discussion01:27about the history major and what you can01:30do with a history major so I’m talking01:32here directly to those of you who are01:34either in high school or college or have01:36kids who are in high school or college01:38who are interested in history and want01:41to think about you know why major in01:43history you know when you can major in01:45something else you know that might be01:47more at least that we might think might01:49be more beneficial in the marketplace01:51and so forth so that’s where we want to01:53focus our attention today much of the01:56the material that we’ve been doing in01:58the virtual office hours will make up02:00makes up as I mentioned before the bulk02:02of my book why study history and that02:05will be out in September I think the02:07subtitle is reflecting on the importance02:10of the past so many of these virtual02:11office hours segments will appear02:14in print form at least in prose in that02:17book so I hope you’ll grab that book and02:19you’ll you’ll take a look at it but the02:22question here what what can you do with02:24a history major we I’ve been wrestling02:27with this question I’ve been wrestling02:28with this question with my students let02:31me start off by telling you a little02:32story about a student of mine named a02:35former student of mine named Tara Tarawas a history major she was one of our02:40better history majors here in the02:42department when she graduated she02:44applied for a job working in a hospitalfor sick children in Malawi the Republic02:51of Malawi in Africa is not some kind of02:54Peace Corps worker she was in a02:55missionary of any time it was it this02:57was a job she applied for the job called03:00for someone to be I think the job title03:03was an embedded blogger within thiscommunity and the job description waswas basically Tara would spend timeduring the course of the day with theparents of the African children and the03:15children themselves and then she would03:17report on what she saw and you know03:20their experiences and their stories for03:23people back in the state so we’re03:25reading the blog of the hospital so they03:29would be able to know how to contribute03:31or you know make contributions and so03:33further find out just what’s going on I03:35went Tara interviewed for the job one of03:38the first things that they asked her was03:40why why are you applying for this job03:43you were a history major now inherent03:46within that question was a common03:47misconception about what history majorsdo obviously many people think historymajors just sort of are very good attrivia because they memorize facts and03:55dates and so forth and they’re good at03:57taking tests but that’s not the case at04:00all Tara seize the opportunity I would04:04ask about her history major and she said04:07you know why wouldn’t I be a leading04:09candidate for this job I’ve just spentfour years spending time with people soto speak people living in the past manyof them being dead but listening totheir voices from the documents thatI’ve studied and read the primarysources and then what did I do wellright papers i would tell their story iwould empathize with these people try tounderstand life from their perspective04:33and then tell the stories of their04:36experiences whether it be a paper04:39whether it be in a presentation whether04:41it be in some kind of exhibit or or04:43digital project whatever it was she04:45happened to be working on here in the04:47history department at Messiah so you04:50know think about the job she was being04:52asked to spend time listening to people04:56who are different than her malawi04:57children and parents listening to them05:00and then telling their stories she05:03looked she learned as a history major05:05not only sort of fundamental skills05:07about writing well listening well05:11researching taking information that she05:14had learned in the course of the day or05:16in the course of her fieldwork and05:18writing it up and making it presentable05:21to outside audiences but Tara also05:24learned these deeper skills that we’ve05:26talked about here skills like empathy05:28and understanding and trying to walk in05:30the shoes of people who are different05:32than her needless to say Tara got that05:35jihad not in spite of the fact that she05:37was a history major but because she was05:40a history major and I think if we can05:43have more terrorists out there if we can05:45teach our students that they have05:48certain skills that employers want I05:51think the stigma of sort of what can you05:54do with a history major may just go away05:58some of you know on my blog the way of06:01improvement leads hope I have06:02interviewed up to fly think it’s up to06:0540 now individuals who were history06:08majors in college and did not go the06:11traditional route that most history06:13majors go most history majors either go06:15to grad school in history they become06:17history teachers in public public and06:19private high schools or elementary06:22schools they go to law school they work06:24in a museum or historical society but06:26the people I interviewed were people who06:29did not go into any of those fields they06:31went into business they went into06:33medicine they went into computers they06:35went into writing they went into06:37journalism they went into06:40the ministry a host of different fields06:42and asked if they would do it again they06:45had to go back to college and knowing06:47what they know now in their professions06:49if they were major in history again they06:51all said that they absolutely would06:53because history provided them with the06:55kinds of skills and the kinds of virtues06:58in many cases that allowed them to07:00really prosper in their current their07:03current job situations and do very very07:05well so I’d encourage you to go check07:07out that vlog series so what can you do07:11with a history major maybe we’ll get an07:12image of that up here when we move this07:15thing into production one of the readers07:17of that blog series was a man named07:19Brian Brian what is the CEO of a major07:22finance corporation based in Raleigh07:25North Carolina and he read my series on07:28what you can do with a history major and07:30he sent me a nice letter and this is07:32what he said in that letter he said that07:35any good and well rounded liberal arts07:37education is a strong foundation for07:39business ultimately you have to be able07:41to write speak and think still for me07:44history is singularly the best07:47discipline for success in business who07:50imagine how shocked I was to read that07:51right that’s true of people in the07:53business department here at messiah07:55college might be surprised too but but07:57Brian goes on to say in history youlearn and become immersed in why peopleand groups do things over an extendedperiod of time history validates thatpeople and organizations act in clearrecognizable patterns you can learnabout human nature behavior becomes verypredictable which is vital in the field08:18of business again that’s just one08:20example of how history historians can08:22can use their skills I was recently at a08:25conference at Wake Forest University in08:28which I heard several CEOs of 500fortune 500 company saying we wantliberal arts majors we want historymajors because they can think they canwrite they can take small pieces ofinformation and make meaning out ofthose small pieces of information they08:46can take data and tell a story about the08:48data I you know they know they all said08:52to a to a08:53they said we’ll train you and how we08:55particularly to do business whether it08:57be at procter and gamble or at this bank08:59or whatever the company might be will09:03train you in the particulars but we want09:05someone who’s able to have those general09:07skills in many ways it’s a great point09:11most studies show that today’s09:14undergraduate students are going to09:16change jobs and maybe even change09:18careers or professions seven to ten09:21times over the course of their lives09:23that means they need those fundamental09:26skills of writing of thinking of09:28speaking empathizing of listening of09:32understanding that well-rounded history09:35education or generally humanities based09:38education that’s going to help them to09:40adjust and adapt to the changing09:42marketplace so when students tell me i09:46would like to major in history or what09:48can i do with a history major I tell09:51them several things one if you’re09:54picking a major follow your passion you09:57don’t want to spend four years studying09:59something that you know you have no10:01interest in its interested in or you10:03find boring but it may help you land10:05some kind of a job in the future follow10:08your passions and I think people who10:10follow their passions that kind of10:13passion will translate to potential10:16employers employers are looking for10:18people who are passionate about about10:21something so follow your passions if you10:23love history study history hi and and10:27don’t worry about you know where you’re10:29going to end up in the end or what kind10:30of job you can get because as I’m10:32suggesting there are lots of jobs out10:35there that you can do by studying the10:38past second though it’s not going to get10:40you anywhere if you study your passion10:42but you don’t act strategically or don’t10:45develop a confidence in the kind of10:48skills that you’re learning in studying10:50history it’s one thing to master10:52information it’s one thing to learn10:54these skills but you need to be10:56confident and develop the confidence to10:58be able to sit before a potential11:00employer like Tara did and say here is11:04why11:05should hire me as a history major these11:08are the skills that I bring to the table11:10here’s how I can help your business your11:12nonprofit organization whatever it11:15happens to be whatever the job happens11:17to be that you’re applying to this means11:20I think that history department cultures11:23need to change when I was at when I was11:26as undergrad or not I was in grad school11:29history departments undergraduate11:31history department celebrated the11:33student who got accepted into a11:35prestigious maybe Ivy League ph.d11:38program and that was the person that11:40appeared all the time on the promotion11:41literature that’s the kind of thing that11:43people the professors in the department11:45the kind of person they talked about11:47over and over again but what if the11:49culture of a history department changed11:51to such an extent that instead of11:54celebrating those people and granted we11:55still should celebrate them we also11:58celebrated the people who got person who12:00got a job in business or someone like12:02Tara who went overseas and served in12:04this hospital or someone who went into12:07medicine or someone who went into12:08computer science or somebody who became12:10a journalist or someone who went into12:12criminal justice or something with that12:15what if those people were celebrated in12:17our departments just as much as the12:20people who get into the prestigious law12:21schools and graduate schools so these12:25are some things to think about as to why12:27we should study history there are jobs12:29out there we need the confidence to be12:32able to talk about the skills and the12:33talents and the gifts and the training12:36that we have as historians to be able to12:39make an impact on the marketplace the12:41ever-changing marketplace so I think12:44this is a nice sort of capstone to what12:47we’ve been talking about the last 10 or12:4911 episodes here give or take with a few12:52little side tracks here and there you12:56know history historical thinking skills12:58learning how to use the past and make13:01the past speak to the present13:02understanding the past as a foreign13:04country thinking about the role of13:06history and cultivating a more robust13:09democratic society those are all good13:12things and are there things that need to13:14need to be thought about by history13:16students13:17but also there is a marketplace out13:20there for the kind of skills and talents13:22and gifts that all of us have so we13:26bring this conclusion to another section13:28session to an end this series to an end13:31if you might want to call it that here13:33in the office hours I’m not sure what13:34we’re going to do yet next week but will13:36happen effing Utley have something for13:38you make sure you get your hands on that13:40book in September why study history13:42reflecting on the importance of the past13:44and we will see you next time thank you
What Can You Do With A History Major?
John Fea’s Virtual Office Hours – Episode 12:
Good News Liberal-Arts Majors: Your Peers Probably Won’t Outearn You Forever
Liberal-arts majors often trail their peers in terms of salary early on, but the divide tends to narrow or even disappear as careers progress
It’s no secret that liberal-arts graduates tend to fare worse than many of their counterparts immediately after college: According to PayScale Inc., a Seattle-based provider of salary data, the typical English or sociology graduate with zero to five years of experience earns an average of just $39,000 a year.
.. The story tends to change, however, as careers play out. Over time, liberal-arts majors often pursue graduate degrees and gravitate into high-paying fields such as general management, politics, law and sales
.. Using Census Bureau data, the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project analyzed lifetime earnings for each discipline’s top 10% of moneymakers. It found that computer science’s stars rang up lifetime earnings of at least $3.2 million. Nice work, but not as impressive as philosophy majors’ $3.46 million or history majors’ $3.75 million.
.. “College shouldn’t prepare you for your first job, but for the rest of your life,” says John Kroger, president of Reed College in Oregon, the liberal-arts school that famously served as a starting point for Steve Jobs. Although Mr. Jobs dropped out of Reed in the early 1970s, the Apple Inc. founder often credited the school with stretching his horizons in areas such as calligraphy, which later influenced Apple’s design ethos.
.. In the short-term, employers still say they prefer college graduates with career-tailored majors.
.. A recent survey of 180 companies by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that at least 68% want to hire candidates who majored in business or engineering. By contrast, only 24% explicitly want communications majors, 21% want social-sciences majors and 10% humanities majors.
When asked to define the résumé traits that matter most, however, the NACE-surveyed employers rated technical skills 10th. Four of the top five traits were hallmarks of a traditional liberal-arts education: teamwork, clear writing, problem-solving aptitude and strong oral communications.
.. “It’s easier to hire people who can write—and teach them how to read financial statements—rather than hire accountants in hopes of teaching them to be strong writers,”
.. PayScale’s data shows that for people with 10 to 20 years of experience, degrees in communications, political science, history and philosophy yield average annual income of $70,000 or more. By contrast, degrees in French, anthropology, creative writing and film fit into a band of $60,000 to $69,000. Fields such as theology, photography and music bring up the rear; they pay less than $60,000 on average.