CHOOSING A CAREER / DEC. 20, 2014
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How to Achieve a Successful Career in Philosophy

With the ubiquitous issue of global youth unemployment, the common argument is that recent graduates are attaining degrees in fields where the demand is rather minimal. Instead of majoring in any of the STEM fields, or other careers where studies continually point to higher employment levels and larger salaries, millennials are accused of taking the easy degrees, such as philosophy, sociology and other liberal arts programs.

Philosophy majors contain one of the highest jobless rates in the United States today: 10.8 percent. 

Philosophy is one of the subjects that is always labelled with uselessness. Indeed, quoting Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche or Soren Kierkegaard can impress people and highlight your mind, but can it fix a toilet, build an oil well or design an important mobile application? Probably not. 

Mulling over today’s biggest problems with different vantage points and philosophies can be great for conversation, but many are unlikely to agree that it can generate six-figure salaries and provide a stable career. 

"A degree in philosophy does not lead directly into many jobs, an exception being teaching the subject at post-16 levels in colleges or universities," said Margaret Holbrough, careers adviser at Graduate Prospects, in an interview with the London Guardian. "However, philosophers carry certain kudos, being viewed as ’thinkers’ with a perception of life and society that can be very useful in numerous environments." 

Here are five successful careers for students and graduates with degrees in philosophy: 

Professor 

Although this is possibly the hardest job to attain, especially in the area of philosophy, as a great number of graduates aim to enter this occupation. Teaching others the works of Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rosseau and Henry David Thoreau would be a dream come true for philosophy degree holders, but it does require post-graduate studies and plenty of teacher assisting. 

Counselling 

Natural philosophers - the ones who are wise beyond their years - would gel perfectly as a counsellor to provide advice and resolutions to the problems of individuals from all age demographics. Whether it’s problems at school, difficulties within a relationship and personal finance hardships, a counsellor is someone who can offer their own personal wisdom.

Marketing 

Advertisers and marketers want to understand the psyche behind the general public in order to sell a certain product or service. This is where philosophers come in as these professionals can help produce campaigns that can encourage consumers to purchase the item or service to improve their standard of living.

Government Consultancy 

When policymakers conjure up new initiatives to solve the matters of poverty, income inequality, public transportation, infrastructure construction or foreign policy, philosophers can play important roles at all levels of government. Leaders will solicit the opinions from philosophy majors who can offer unique insight into certain problems of the day. 

Journalism 

On top of durable shoe leather and a nose for scoops, journalists often have to have a philosophical mind in order to ask the tough questions that other reporters may neglect to ask. Philosophers can be just as good as journalism majors - of course, with a little training of how the business works - so this is an area that should be considered.

Philosophy may not be the best choice for those looking to enter a post-secondary institution and seek immediate employment upon graduation. However, it does provide thinking on ideas that previously were ignored. Everyone is a philosopher in one way or another so why not attempt to make a living from it? 

 

Image: iStock

 

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