Breaking Down The English Major Stigma

Written by: Sam Bastille

Fellow English majors, I have some questions for you: have you ever had that awkward conversation about your career or future? Has anyone ever told you, “oh, you’re an English major? It’s so cool that you wanna be a teacher”? Well, I’m sick of it, and I’m sure you are, too.

For those of you who might be wondering, I have plenty of friends and family who work in education, and have worked as a professional aide myself. So, I have some experience in the field, and I am here to tell you that teaching is not the only career you can pursue! While a noble one, and definitely one of the most important jobs you can have, teaching is not the be-all and end-all of studying English — there are millions of opportunities out there for people like us. 

Oh, and for the non-English majors reading this, I have a message for you: please stop putting us in boxes, thanks! 

Ok, let’s get to the good stuff:

I am going to highlight three career paths that an English major can pursue that aren’t becoming a teacher. 

1. Technical Writing

While technical writing doesn’t seem like the most interesting or important job, I’m here to reassure you that it will not only test your English skills, but also provide you with a steady income and opportunities to ascend the corporate ladder. Companies like Adobe, Google, and many more are looking for masters of the English language to turn data into stories! Now, you might be wondering what I mean by this — hold up, let me explain. 

Data, statistics, research — all three of these things have something in common: they don’t tell a story that can be read and understood by everyone. Technical writing allows the writer to take this data and make it readable for all. If you work as a technical writer, you will be expected to make data digestible by creating PowerPoints, reports, and other supplementary materials that will allow your coworkers and potential customers to get a sense of what your company is doing or selling. 

Adobe Photoshop, for example, is a fantastic product. If Adobe wants to relay information about a new update to the public, they won’t just want to publish data, but rather give people an exciting and engaging piece of literary material to look at, because not all of us are tech geniuses. 

Similar to the above example, a company researching medicine would much rather provide investors with a summary of what the medicine does, rather than a lengthy and jumbled lab report. 

Overall, technical writing is definitely something to consider.

2. Get Your Law Degree, or Apply to Law Offices

Yes, you read that correctly! Law is also an extremely viable career path for English majors, and it is often recommended that one has a mastery of the subject because language is such a core part of the work that lawyers do. 

On the other hand, you could also pursue a career in a law office. Similar to technical writing, law offices need people to create unique and engaging material for them. Whether it be external work like advertisements, or internal communications, there is a place for you. 

3. Become a Blogger

You could also become a blogger! No, seriously, I’m not kidding. Search for job opportunities at big companies like some that I referenced before. Similar to technical writing, corporate offices want writers who can sell their products. Do you consider yourself persuasive or engaging? Odds are you could land a paying job simply because you’re good at portraying products in a favorable light. These jobs won’t always be in a blog format; however, I’m using it as an example because I have some experience writing for a company’s blog, and all I needed to do was hype up their products. On top of just using my writing skills, I had fun! 

So, enough talk about not making enough money, not feeling fulfilled, or disappointing your family. Majoring in English is an informed and fantastic decision, and it can lead you down some super cool paths in life. Follow your heart and take the leap — I’m rooting for you! 

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