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Old 16.02.2010, 16:37
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Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

I just finished my BA. I studies English literature and Education at a university. Now, I'm simply at a loss. I'm kinda regretting I didnt study something more practical, with a clear goal as to what job comes afterwards.
I just accepted a job from now till the summer as a teaching assistant. I will be working sith special needs kids, which is something I really like doing. The only downside is the pay (with travel expenses and day care for my kids, I'm not really making anything) and travel time. So when this finishes, I'm not sure I want to continue witht this.
Basically, I'd like to know what kind of jobs are out there for someone with my education. I dont have any specific direction I want to go in. My German isnt too bad, I understand more or less everything and can make myself understood in not too complicated situations. I'm not looking to make a big time career and only looking fot part time work.
Are there any sites/agencies you can recommend. I've looked at most of the standard places, but there mainly catered to specific fields that I have nothing to offer to.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 16.02.2010, 16:48
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

Very few people "know" what they want to do in life and wake up aged 5 and say "I am going to be a doctor" etc.
However be practiacl and proactive.


This is an important time in your life and it sounds that you know you need to do something and make key decisions but just don't have the structure to do it.

Now is the time to invest in something like "What colour is my parachute" (there are many similar books out there but find one that works for you) which will give you the framework questions, to help you find out what direction you need to head in, what things you need to consider and so forth.

Then be serious and committed to working through these questions, set weekly goals to further explore industries or jobs and attend some networking events.

There's nothing wrong in not knowing now, but take personal responsibility to work it out. Just by getting a good framework you will feel much more positive, attend a "career event once a month" talk to people etc. You'll be focussing more on your possibilities then what you feel are the constraints.


Then when you go to interviews and they ask the question so "why us?" you can honestly know its through your own hard work, research and networking that you are the right candidate for them.

Good luck
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Old 16.02.2010, 16:51
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

I know an IT manager (named Tulip) with a botany degree. I know a biochemist who runs a children's playgroup. Your degree doesn't have to have connection with your career.
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Old 16.02.2010, 16:54
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

I studied early modern history at University and now work in IT.
If you have a degree it shows that you can study and that you have a brain.
You don't have to work in the field you studied in, if you don't want to.

Have a look at what exactly you want to do and have a go at doing it and be aware that nothing is perfect.

I also came out of university feeling slightly lost, took me a year or 2 to sort myself out and focus on what I was doing.
The trick is not to panic ( I had a mate who had a nervous breakdown after university because he didn't know what to do next)
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Old 16.02.2010, 19:01
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

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I know an IT manager (named Tulip) with a botany degree. I know a biochemist who runs a children's playgroup. Your degree doesn't have to have connection with your career.
Running an IT project isn't a lot different to running a playgroup.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 16.02.2010, 19:07
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

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Running an IT project isn't a lot different to running a playgroup.

Cheers,
Nick
except the kids tend to paint things in a playgroup so something useful actually gets produced.
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Old 16.02.2010, 19:14
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

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except the kids tend to paint things in a playgroup so something useful actually gets produced.
And you don't get somebody wanting the picture a different colour 10 minutes after the paint has dried.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 16.02.2010, 19:19
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

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but they're mainly catered to specific fields to which I have nothing to offer
There, fixed that for you. I was about to offer your a job as an editor. What was your degree in again?
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Old 16.02.2010, 19:36
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

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There, fixed that for you. I was about to offer your a job as an editor. What was your degree in again?
Oh, sorry, thanks. I can't believe I made the there they're mistake, I usually cringe when I see that. Does it help to add that I'm exhausted from flying and that I had 2 kids craving my attention while I was writing?


Anyway, strolingby, you really hit the nail on the head. I know you don't have to continue on in the same field as you study, I just don't know how to find those jobs, especially considering my shortcomings and demands. But thanks for your suggestions, I'm going to work on it.
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Old 16.02.2010, 19:41
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

You're in the same position of thousands of graduates who did non vocational subjects at degree level. As others have said, you can train for jobs that aren't related to your degree subject. IT has been mentioned. Marketing is another. Journalism? Publishing? Education? Hospitality? Tourism? Depends what excites you. Many big companies like Nestlé run graduate recruitment schemes where they rotate you round different departments. You could start by looking up graduate recruitment websites to see what's on offer. However, before you get to that stage, you have to start with some self searching to figure out what direction you want to go in and then make some commitment to it. Nobody can really do that for you. Until then, this is likely to hold you back:

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I dont have any specific direction I want to go in.... I'm not looking to make a big time career and only looking fot part time work.
What are you going to offer employers and recruitment agencies whilst you're in this mindset?
Here's a UK website that might give you some generic ideas:
http://www.prospects.ac.uk/cms/ShowP...e_page/p!eLaXi
Here's another site on what to do with an english degree:
http://www.exforsys.com/career-cente...sh-degree.html
and another:
http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/english.htm
and another:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Ten-Things-t...English-Degree

In the meantime don't knock what you're doing. It's really worthwhile building up some work experience to put on your CV.

Last edited by Nev; 16.02.2010 at 20:39.
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Old 16.02.2010, 21:56
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

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There, fixed that for you. I was about to offer your a job as an editor. What was your degree in again?
you a job
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Old 17.02.2010, 10:41
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

I studied English and literature at university. Then I thought about what I wanted to do -- I was interested in politics and international affairs -- and decided that, in order to be qualified for jobs in that area, I would need another degree. I got an MA in international relations and now I work with an international organisation.

I am glad that I studied what I did because I immensly enjoyed it. Also, Chomsky and Chaucer occasionally make good dinner conversation topics.

The only thing I would do differently today is get a post-graduate degree in something a bit more specific -- let's say law or economics.
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Old 17.02.2010, 11:33
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

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I just finished my BA. I studies English literature and Education at a university. Now, I'm simply at a loss. I'm kinda regretting I didnt study something more practical, with a clear goal as to what job comes afterwards.
I just accepted a job from now till the summer as a teaching assistant. I will be working sith special needs kids, which is something I really like doing. The only downside is the pay (with travel expenses and day care for my kids, I'm not really making anything) and travel time. So when this finishes, I'm not sure I want to continue witht this.
Basically, I'd like to know what kind of jobs are out there for someone with my education. I dont have any specific direction I want to go in. My German isnt too bad, I understand more or less everything and can make myself understood in not too complicated situations. I'm not looking to make a big time career and only looking fot part time work.
Are there any sites/agencies you can recommend. I've looked at most of the standard places, but there mainly catered to specific fields that I have nothing to offer to.
Thanks for your help.
Don't think of it like "I got my qualification, now what should I do?". At this early stage of your career, your are STILL working on your qualifications: getting some years of work experience under your belt, some good reference letters, and reaching a good level of German. These all take time, but once reached put you in a whole new ballgame for achieving the next level. While you are doing that, and assuming you have a husband who earns as well so you are not living on your income, put in some extra effort: take courses on the side (for example, Open University from the UK offers courses online), or visit the Berufschule here for vocation-specific training. A hint for a secret weapon: write an article about your experiences in Switzerland in the educational arena and submit it to trade magazines. A published article on your CV does wonders for your credibility and follows you your whole career. Or become an entrepreneur, offer services to the expat community who could benefit from your experience (lots of just off the boat clueless Brits), or offer private English lessons (you can charge 50 CHF per hour and up). Or get your TOEFL qualification and sign up as a part-time English teacher at a language school such as Alphasprachstudio http://www.alphasprachstudio.ch/ Just some ideas.
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Old 17.02.2010, 23:11
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

Thanks for all your advice.
The reason I have been putting off choosing a concrete direction is because I'm afraid to limit myself even more.
I'm already limited by the fact that my German isnt perfect, I cant work too far from home, and it has to be part time.
I understand that this will limit me, but for me, my carrier will never be number one on my list. My kids are still very young and I want to be home with them at least somewhat. I'm looking for a job so I can get out of the house, find some intelectual stimulation and challenge etc. and of course the added cash is always welcome.
Does anyone know where I can find sites/agencies that could help me out? Or where I can find information on job fairs?
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Old 17.02.2010, 23:22
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

i'm sorry i can't be of too much more help, but if you get a master's you can teach classes online...

also, think of this as a time to be a bit creative. take the things you like to do and the things you know you are good at and see what you can make by working with the two (you may also want to think of things that are in demand).

personally i went to school first to study fine arts/sculpture/pottery .
then i took time off to travel and figure out what i really wanted to be doing in life and what i liked to do, went back and got my graduate degrees in linguistics. it's true, you are not limited by your degrees and i have found that switzerland is kind of an open market for creative not-yet-done-here ventures.
best of luck!
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Old 21.02.2010, 21:50
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

Take heart. You'll find something you love and if not now then later. You've got an important job now too which is your family, and you'll still be young when the time will come to jump start that career of your.
Advice: do keep your foot in the door by staying employed even if just part-time. It's much harder if you're out of the loop for more than 2 years.

Hope it works out for you
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Old 21.02.2010, 22:18
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

If you ever want to know the value of a humanities degree consider Google books - IT guys trying to take over and re-organise the intellectual world.

Fight, fight against the dying of the light.
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Old 21.02.2010, 22:35
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

The trick is to work on your strengths, sit down and figure out what transferable skills you learned while undertaking your degree. What during the degree process did you particularly enjoy. Were you the kind who enjoy planning and being creative before writing, or is your strength that you have attention to detail and are good at finishing off work, polishing it to a high standard. These are your individual selling points that any employer is looking for. If you know them in advance it helps with your job applications.

Good luck,
Gal x
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Old 22.02.2010, 18:11
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

"The reason I have been putting off choosing a concrete direction is because I'm afraid to limit myself even more. "

Well, yes normally at some point you usually end up specialising in something.

I studied Philosophy, and my first job was as a bartender.... Now I work in HR after having having passed through Restaurant Manager, Secretary, Quality Assurance analyst...

I did two things. I went to a temp agency and worked in a lot of different industries and offices which helped me to decide what I wanted to do. At the same time I kept studying...linguistics, sociology, MBA...
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Old 22.02.2010, 18:13
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Re: Humanities BA and the depression that sets in afterwards

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I am glad that I studied what I did because I immensly enjoyed it. Also, Chomsky and Chaucer occasionally make good dinner conversation topics.
Will you have dinner with me???

Last edited by Longbyt; 28.11.2011 at 18:36. Reason: Quote corrected. Better late than never!
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