A while back, we wrote a post where people who had majors that others typically think are "useless" shared what they actually do for work now. Some of them revealed how their college major led them to a career they love, and others shared regrets about their decision. Here are the insightful — and surprising — responses:
1."I got a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology with an archaeology emphasis. Worked off and on in CRM (customer relationship management) for years, but the ridiculous work standards, low pay, and absolutely horrific misogyny finally got me. I now work as a patient advocate for a healthcare company with a great work environment and better pay."
"I’m glad I got out of CRM. Archaeology is a profession where less than 50% of the actual working people are female — and half of all female archaeologists leave the profession at some point. That should tell you a lot."
2."I graduated two years ago and have a BA in drama/theater. I wish I could say I’m working in that field, doing what I once loved, but my passion sort of switched directions. Now, I’m in limbo. ... It’s a rough place to be, honestly."
"But I’m young, and I try to tell myself I have time to figure it out."
3."Studied history and English. Thought I'd teach high school. Realized I didn't want to teach. I'm a manager for an insurance company. I make better money than my friends who teach (and teachers here make good money)."
4."I have a BS in criminal justice with a minor in business admin. After graduating in 2007, I ended up working for a major bank for five years (I started RIGHT at the beginning of the recession, and the whole 'too big to fail' banking fiasco). I then transitioned to entry-level accounting and have worked my way up to being an accounting manager. I don’t have a CPA, although I did start a post-bach program to get all the credits I need to sit the exam. I don’t hate my job, and I’m good at it."
"I should have gone with my original college plan and just majored in accounting instead of doing criminal justice."
5."I got a degree in fashion design from a renowned private art school that consistently ranks top three in the US. I had an amazing experience and learned so much, but for how expensive the school was, they didn't provide a lot of alum support once you graduate. In fact, they actively didn't want to teach any business practices to help turn our respective art fields into actual lucrative careers, because the main focus was creating conceptual art. When I first graduated, after a couple of (unpaid) design internships, I had to find a paying job and found myself the head of production for a handmade leather goods company. Amazing, right? Except it was so mismanaged by my boss, I ended up being absorbed into her parent company...sewing drapes. My soul died there."
"I left after YEARS there and made the transition to luxury retail, where I can at least utilize my skills in tailoring. Not the dream job I wanted, but I actually make decent money and really enjoy the friendships I've made with my incredible clients."
6."I have a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies. I work for a payroll company and do tax compliance. Never took an accounting class. I just make sure companies are registered in CO, IA, and AK so they can file and pay state unemployment taxes for any new hires or an employee that moves to those states. Been working in payroll since 2013, but with different companies and accounting firms. It has its pros and cons, but I find it fulfilling."
7."I was a history major with an interest in archiving, after graduating, I worked for a record label and went back to school to be a high school teacher. I don't even teach history. I make $70k and have only been working for four years. My job is great, but did I foresee this? Hell no."
8."I received a bachelor's in fine arts in 2004. Worked as an executive assistant and meeting planner for multiple corporate VPs for over 15 years. I loved the meeting planner part, but as the economy got worse and companies had to start budgeting more, I started hating my job. Went back and got another bachelor's in nursing."
"You’d be surprised what you are capable of doing in life."
9."I studied criminal justice. I started working in advocacy then opened my own social enterprise related to criminal justice and gender, which won several awards in the last three years."
"I know it could be luck, and I was right place at the right time, but I don’t want to discourage criminology and criminal justice majors."
10."I studied sociocultural anthropology in school and was told by family and friends that I wouldn’t be able to be successful. Now, I work for a small consulting firm and have done research for clients like Amazon, Samsung, McDonald’s, and Hulu. Markets shift and change all the time. So, be open to exploring and trying new things."
"But the most important thing is to not compare your success to anything other than your own happiness."
11."Psychology. I haven't been told it's 'useless' — just that I won't be rich. I don't aim to be rich. I aim to be comfortable. There are a lot of stressors in the world that aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so therapy will always be needed."
"I have a list of mental disorders, and I want to help get rid of the negative stigmas associated with mental health. I just want to give people hope."
12."I was a theater major and English minor with an emphasis on playwriting. I interned in Chicago for a year before accepting a $350/week job working in the production department of a regional musical theater company. I moved around departments a couple of times. I'm now the development manager at the company — aka, fundraising — writing grants and making $50k with basically no more upward mobility and no time to work on my own personal writing/art. The company has consumed my life for 10 years."
"I didn't mind too much because I love theater. But I just landed a development job at a local university making $80k with free grad school and the promise of basically no commitments outside work hours. I gave my notice last Friday. I'm sad to leave the field and company I love, but I'm pumped for the next chapter. I'll write my plays and short films for fun, make more money, and get free education."
13."I have a BA in communications and media arts. I've gotten no work in my field, and I've been out of college since 2019."
"Anybody wanna help a girl out? 😂"
14."I have a BA in geography with a minor in French from a university my dad wanted me to go to (I’ll be paying that off for the rest of my life). Had a whole cornucopia of different jobs, but mainly, I roamed throughout East Asia and taught English. A few years ago, I moved back to the States (but in an opposite part) and went back to school to be a vet tech."
"Now, I work at a clinic. Hard work, but I like it more than anything else I’ve ever done."
15."I studied film. Now, I work in an industry that doesn't care about its crews, promotes a-holes and nepotism, and scraps and bows to anyone with a little bit of money or fame who thinks they're God's gift to society. Oh, and I get yelled at for things I have exactly zero control over, get paid at least $15 less than the next lowest-paid crew member, and the only way up is by taking a job I have no interest in — that would also mean I have to move."
"I'm looking to get out of it as soon as I'm financially able."
16."I majored in creative writing. I did become a freelance journalist just after college, but it was really my experience with the student newspaper that prepared me for that. Then, I worked in health insurance and felt like the degree was mostly worthless (though, I did make friends in my various English classes I’m still friends with now, including my husband, so that’s a big positive!) Now, I’m in the final stages of editing my first novel after years of working on it."
"I’m scared of the next process, finding an agent who wants to help me publish it, but I’m really hopeful. I have to keep reminding myself that even if it never does get published, I wrote a book. It’s something I’m proud of. But I dream of seeing it in a bookstore someday."
17."I got a degree in theater. I loved it, and it was so much fun, but the only way to make a living as an actor in New Zealand is either by teaching or moving to Auckland and trying to land a role on Shortland Street. I tried teaching acting and was terrible at it. So, now I'm back studying in my mid-/late-30s and getting a new degree in accounting."
18."I had to declare a major when I applied to college and I declared as a history major. I ended up switching to business management because I wanted to go into the banking industry, which is what I'm doing now and have been doing for nine years — I love it. Business management seemed to be a good fit because the accounting, economics, and finance classes I took prepared me for credit analysis. However, if I could go back and do it again, I would have stayed a history major and done a minor in economics."
"That way, my major would have been more fun, and I still would have taken the accounting, finance, and economics classes that would have helped me in my career."
19."I was a creative writing major and got my master's in religion. I work in higher ed admin now and love every minute of it. College taught me how to think and to communicate. Those are skills you can take anywhere."
20."I majored in social work, and now I work in IT, and I love it. I would have burnt out in the blink of an eye in social work because I give my all to people and animals in need, and I can't not care and take their troubles to heart. But now, I work with cold numbers and code that leaves my heart whole and full to care for whoever needs to be taken care of."
"I offer my home as a sanctuary to people and animals to mend and heal and be strong to live as best they can. Social work would have killed me."
21."I got my BA in English a decade ago with the goal of becoming a middle or high school English teacher. I taught for a few years (mostly middle school English, but sometimes high school or elementary school) before realizing it wasn’t for me. I switched to health care four years ago with the goal of becoming a physician."
"I’ve scribed for the past two years and love it. Goes to show English degrees are not useless!"
22."I graduated with a degree in art. However, with my degree and experience of having worked in high school and college breaks at a health club front desk, I got a receptionist position at a real estate development company. Then, literally two months later, when the executive assistant left to go back to school, I was promoted to her position — since I already had a degree and had shown I was capable of doing the work. Stayed there a couple of years, and with that one role, I was able to work in some of the best companies and had the opportunity to travel around the country planning events."
"It was more that 'graduated' section on my resume that got my foot in the door than my major."
23."I majored in theater and acting because I loved to do that at the time. I did a lot of acting when I was younger, but now, I'm a psychologist!"
24."I went to school for fashion merchandising, and I tried and tried to stay, but that world is pure evil and filled with crabs-in-a-barrel-type people. So, I dipped. Fast-forward about 10 years later and several customer service jobs later, I now own a thriving trucking/dispatch business! I’m at the point where I need to hire help, and this is my only source of income, and the bills are paid!!! I LOVE everything about this world and industry!!!!"
"I NEVER thought I would get into trucking, but I’m damn glad I did! I quit my job with just hope and a dream, and it actually worked."
If you had a major that people typically would consider "useless," what do you do for work now? Do you have any regrets or insights to share? Feel free to share your story in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.