How not to get a job: study English. Image Source: Forbes.
Forbes just did a piece on the 'Best and Worst Master's Degrees for Jobs.' The top 10 degrees for getting a job fell in the computer sciences, physics, mathematics, the medical professions, business and economics. And the absolute worst Master's degrees for getting a job, according to descending pay and projected prospects, are:
- Library and Information Sciences
- Human Resources Management
Forbes did not mention other subjects in the traditional humanities - law, philosophy, classics, linguistics, fine arts, theatre, dance, theology or the applied arts - presumably because these fields did not even offer numbers high enough to enter their sample statistics. Nor did Forbes touch on social sciences beyond economics, except for psychology, which is listed via the underrated discipline of counselling.
No wonder there is a terrible recession on, when this unimaginative, blinkered, conventional view still predominates. This view places supreme value on activities which generate a communications revolution and the basic infrastructure of international trade. Forbes hands us a world of middlemen and technicians who apply knowledge rather than discovering it: administrators, marketers, managers, industrial designers, economists, engineers, medical personnel and computer scientists. Empiricism is king. Positivism and neo-positivism consume all mysteries.
If there are any twinges of uncertainty, there are mass marketing machines and media cultures which create the false impression that the human aspects of the Millennial tech revolution have indeed been addressed. But they haven't. In a recent interview, indie author Craig Stone attacked the cult of celebrity, a myth of paramount creativity drummed up by marketing and industrial business concerns, which are no longer the popular commercial model:
Ironically, wildly popular Millennial reality talent shows seek to combine the two creative realities Craig Stone identifies. But these efforts are slickly produced and do not really solve the problem. Faux creativity is draped gaudily over every new gadget and applied software suite. Social networks build the Big Lie of the Individual, made 'special' by 'friends,' 'connections' and personal preferences. At some point in the 1980s and onwards, the word 'club' was used constantly in marketing lingo to confer special membership and privilege, when in fact it denoted that one had been absorbed into another featureless herd.I think with social media and Kindle we finally have the fairest way to find the world’s best writers chosen from a pool of millions – rather than what we have had traditionally – the best writers presented to us by the publishing industry who choose for us from a limited pool.
Is Stephen King the best horror writer in the world? No – but he is the best horror writer from a small pool printed by the publishing industry who resist other writers to maintain the reputation of writers that are household names.
In this new dawn, those previously thought of as writing gods are going to be revealed as just writers. Good writers, perhaps, but not the best because for the one Stephen King published there are hundreds ignored to sustain his reputation as the best because it’s easier and more profitable to publish a terrible Stephen King book than a great new book by an unknown writer.
What 100,000 Facebook photo profiles look like. Image Source: Bit Rebels.
This employment focus no longer equally supports the very people who can understand and bear witness to the new reality which is being created. Unless a balance is restruck, with some jobs and pay priorities diverted to fields noted for imaginative, creative, critical, analytical and speculative comprehension, we will continue to see a failing, unrevised economy, and a beleaguered workplace. That economy will draw a line between perceived economic realities and real working needs, granting authority to the former and weakening the latter.
Persist in this direction, and one day, this one-dimensional Millennial mentality will fail us. The horror will stare back at us, point blank and incomprehensible. The signs of it are everywhere. The recession was spawned by abuse of advanced technological applications in financial speculation. Failing nuclear power plants arise out of untempered hubris in applied science and engineering. Oil conflicts see other demands for energy unfettered by moral or environmental considerations. A radical leader will explode on the Internet, demolishing cookie-cutter politics and stalemated governments.
In this climate, it is no wonder that the Internet has become a refuge for the devalued arts and humanities. To dismiss and underpay people in these fields deepens an evident professional divide. It alienates people with these skills when they are increasingly needed. Employers who equalize pay scales and question conventional jobs priorities could integrate the Web's dynamic world into a revitalized economy. If they choose not to do this, they risk creating - and risk some day facing - a fifth column in the economy.