The step-by-step guide to finding a career as a humanities major–designed for BA’s, MA’s, and PhD’s with zero work experience, little money, and the desire to live a productive, rewarding life.
This is an excerpt from my new book, How to Find a Career as a Humanities Major in 126 Days.
You can find out more about the book here.
Being a humanities major. And other terrible life choices.
I’m standing in the middle of an overgrown, ocean-side garden. It’s Tuesday. We are landscaping, cutting trees, shoveling gravel, pushing dirt. One of my fellow workers, also a humanities grad, gives up for a minute. She stares at the bright ocean.
‘Feels like I’m missing something today,’ she says.
‘You are,’ the old foreman says. ‘It’s called a career.’
It’s a joke humanities majors get pretty tired of. We’re the smart ones. Too smart for regular boring jobs like being an accountant or getting a business diploma. And too stupid to do something practical like a MBA, web development, or a real-estate license.
And then it happens. You graduate. After years of aesthetic bliss in the halls of the humanities department, you now wander the streets, a 700,000,000 page book on Milton under your arm, muttering Old English, and repeating the phrase ‘I have an advanced degree–they will hire me.’
Months pass. You haven’t gotten one interview. You get depressed. Work retail. Cut lawns. Serve rich people. Your life seems upside down. You, talented you, became the loser.
Meanwhile, back in your shitty little hometown, the drunken lunatic from high school who never went to college now makes $100,000 per year as a pipe fitter, drives a new car, takes vacations to Vegas, and is buying a house.
How did it turn out like this?
This is the story of how I found a career as an English major.
And I guess, looking back, this is the story of how I went from standing in the middle of that rich person’s garden with zero skills, no resume, and a pile of debt to where I am now–a writer in an advertising agency, publications in one of the world’s most popular marketing websites, a solid wage, and a skill-set and career that I love.
As someone who went through the process, I can understand how you feel. The weeks turning into months, still careerless. Your crappy job. Your crappy resume. And the feeling like you disappointed your parents. From grade A promising student, to mid-twenties career flop. You feel that you should have made some different choices.
Liberal arts life limbo crap. You were warned. And now it happened.
Why didn’t I go to law school? Why didn’t I go to business school? Why didn’t I friggen learn a bit of math?
At the back of your mind, you know it will work out right? Something will come along.
But it’s hard to imagine going from being a waitress to a high-powered executive. Maybe you should get a MBA? Go to law school? Become a high school teacher?
I’m here to tell you–it isn’t over yet.
This book is going to ask you to make decisions. It’s going to lay down a practical course of action that will help you claim a new career direction. We are going to break down the myths, break down the paralysis, and actually get something going.
Give me 126 days. And I will get you out of liberal arts career life limbo.
Give me 126 days and I’ll help you towards finally claiming a career that you find rewarding and a life you are proud and happy to live.
It’s a big promise, right?
Do you believe it?
Ambition Versus False Hope
‘The single biggest reason that people fail in life,’ says millionaire Michael Masterson, ‘is that they never take effective action.’
You think it is impossible to find a career in 126 days. What if nobody calls? What if the right opportunity doesn’t come? My rent is due. I have no skills.
This is not a crappy ‘believe in yourself’ and ‘you can be anything.’ This is not selling you the emotion–you can be anything!–rather than telling you the practical steps you can take.
Over the past few years, I’ve read hundreds of career blogs, listened to just about every productivty podcast I could find, read books by big career thinkers, and stumbled through my own career transition. Every strategy and tool in here–I’ve used myself. Only it took me a lot longer than 126 days to figure out what I was doing wrong.
I found my career (as a writer in an advertising agency). Now, I want to help you find your own path, avoiding the mistakes, dead-ends, and anxiety that awaits most liberal arts majors after they graduate.
I’m going to show you how to rethink your current career slump. And I’ve written this book to be your first giant step.
Why can’t liberal arts majors get jobs?
When I first started Selloutyoursoul.com, I wanted it to be a ‘career resource for lost humanities majors.’ I wanted to show other liberal arts majors the entire journey: from stumbling out of the archive, working a crappy job, to finally finding a career.
My own career limbo is over. But I have a pretty good idea of where you are right now.
You think that the problem is with your history. You took the wrong route. You went to grad school when you should have gotten a job at a corporation in your early twenties. You took a liberal arts degree when you should have gone to business school.
You think the problem is with your age. Now you are too old to get your foot in the door. Now, you aren’t hirable as you would have been in your early twenties. You have worked in retail for the last 4 years and can only get retail jobs.
The problem is, though, that you don’t really see the problem.
What is really preventing you from finding a career?
Hint–this is not one of those ‘positive thinking’ answers–in my humble view, the universe doesn’t give a shit about you.
So, positive thinking won’t get you out of your career slump. The universe doesn’t care about you. And neither law school, business school, more debt, or waiting around for something to pop up will fix the problem.
So how can we fix this?
Small Steps Towards Big Dreams
This book is about rethinking your situation and making steps to improve. Small steps at first. And then big, giant leaps forward.
Your career situation seems like an unsurmountable obstacle. But it’s not. It just requires a plan, some practical actions, and some tools.
In other words, it all comes down to one simple question: Will you commit to the next 126 days?
Not just reading this book, but actually doing what it asks. Will you commit to learning about how to take effective actions, rather than just reading book after book after book?
Because if you do, I’m going to show you how to be effective with your energy, your time, and the actions you choose to do.
Because if you do, I’m going to show you that it is not your lack of employable skills that are the problem in your life. The real barrier is your inability to act and correct the fact that you have no employable skills.
Because if you do, I promise to share–without any hype, emotional logic, or social niceties–exactly the steps you need to take. . .
After I left grad school, I got out of my crap job mowing lawns (see the Chronicle of Higher Education’s article on me and my blog called ‘Master’s in English: Will Mow Lawns.’)
Looking back, the barrier holding me back wasn’t a lack of choices. I had plenty of choices. What held me back was the inability to break down the big step–find an entry-level job in a new career–into smaller steps.
University has prepared you very poorly for your career transition. Professors don’t know what the hell they are doing. They don’t know about careers.
The problem is that in 126 days, you will have looked for opportunities, but not searched for ways to make yourself more desirable to employers.
That’s what this book is about: this is an injection of purpose and practical action into your life.
This book is about dreaming big. And taking steps towards that future with small, daily and targeted actions.
If you are with me, then let’s begin.
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