Friday Question of the Day – What did you study at school and what do you do now?

Men at Work
Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric Spiegel

In a rant/revel this week a commenter asks what did you go to study in school and what do you do now? I thought this would be a fun summer FQotD – So I’ll kick it off – I studied Political Science and International Affairs and before settling in as a blogger I was a paralegal, defense/air force consultant, reporter for a Japanese newspaper (Asahi Shimbun), a Congressional liaison for a small think tank, and a homeland security consultant. Crazy writing all that down. So what did you study and what path did you take to your current job?

206 Comment

  • Even before I finished my undergraduate degree in physics, I knew the laboratory was no place for me. So, I did what many aimless graduates do: I went to law school. Now I’m a prosecutor. I’ll be paying off my student loans for the next few decades, but it was the right call.

    • Allison

      Hello fellow abandoner of science for the law! Undergrad degree environmental studies. Didn’t want to spend the rest of my life pipetting 5mL samples of sea water into wells in a lab. Went to law school. Will be clerking first year, hoping to do environmental law so my science degree doesn’t turn out to be a very interesting waste of time.

      • It’s never too early in the day to reminisce about pipetting, is it? I’m so glad I’m not at the bench anymore, though I was pipetting in microliters and doing immunology research.

  • Studied aerospace engineering. Now working as an aviation accident investigator.

  • BA – Economics. Worked in the IT field as business/systems/requirements analyst.
    Then went back to school (part time) to do my masters in ITS (Information and Telecommunications Systems for Business) to complement my career path.

  • BA in East Asian Studies (really) – along the way have taught English in Japan, worked in hotels in DC and the Virgin Islands, meeting planner for a Higher Ed association, and now director of membership for a national non-profit organization. That’s what a liberal arts education will do for you…

  • environmental science/geology -> environmental scientist

  • BS in Graphic Design and literally bs’ing in graphic design right now, at 12:30 am.

    • Hahaha, the joys of freelance (I’m assuming…)

      • Not so bad! BS in graphic design > internships during school working for museum design firm > real job as environmental graphic designer (EGD) at a exhibit/museum design firm > that i just quit this week to go traveling

  • English literature -> technical writing -> advertising -> IT project mgmt -> digital marketing

  • Took 3 years off between high school and college to hitch -hike around North America because I didn’t know what to study. Finally went to GW and majored in Theater (playwriting) with intense semi-majors (whatever they were called) in Journalism & English Lit. I’d say 50/50 college vs. general life plus lots of reading. Now? – 7 published novels but sadly cannot live on the that income. 47 other jobs ( counting all restaurant/bartending as one) everything from dancer in an opera, hotwalker at a racetrack, yacht crew to pick and shovel landscaper. Pretty good life. Mostly because it is so incredibly easy to study anything that interests me (a lot) these days!

    • Victoria – did you self publish?

      • No – last 3 were with Knopf, first 4 were with Carroll & Graf, and Tor/Forge – both since bought out by big publishers. Agents & Publishers actually are always looking for good – marketable – material. Marketable being the key word.

  • bs accounting and finance being put to great use as a bartender

  • BA in Medieval Studies. Masters in Library Science. Now a librarian!

  • BA in English. I’ve been working in libraries for over 20 years but never got my MLS. I’m also a part time musician and the band I play with is sometimes like a second job.

  • BA in history > high school history teacher> tutor for kids with learning disabities> MFA in Creative Writing> English 101 teacher and tutor> Writer at the White House> Freelance writer and editor> Technical writer and editor

    • *Editor
      (Worst part about my job- making stupid typos on my iPhone and then worrying I’ll never find another gig because I look like an idiot.)

    • Any advice on landing freelance editing jobs as a second job?

    • binpetworth

      Yay! Fellow MFA in creative writing here. My BA was in anthropology (currently considered the worst major for job prospects). Worked abroad in humanitarian aid until I couldn’t handle the dysentery and danger. Now a writer at a nonprofit.

  • Electrical Engineering w/ a computer design emphasis at VCU -> Product engineer at a computer chip manufacturing facility -> Project Mgmt for the fed -> Quality Mgmt for the fed

  • English —> Law School —> Attorney.

    Totally unique career path FTW!

    • I see your English and I raise you Political Science!

      Poli Sci/Spanish β€”> Law School β€”> Attorney.

      • PDleftMtP

        Hah. Political science->IR grad school->law school. I’ve got TWO unemployable social science degrees! (But they were fun, and I’m glad I did them.)

  • Graduated with my BS in civil engineering in 97. Worked for a general contractor (Clark) building office buildings. Decided it wasn’t for me after couple years and went to law school. Worked big law on K street for 3 years, decided it wasn’t for me. Went to business school and got my MBA and have been working for McKinsey Consulting advising large private wealth funds where and how to spend their billions on real estate projects ( think Qatari money building City Center DC). More often than not this money is being controlled by people with fewer days ahead than behind and who are more worried about legacy at this point, so are taking down iconic projects. Billion dollar water pipelines through the desert. 20 billion dollar Mini cities powered by a 2 billion dollar wind farm etc. I get to use a nice mixture of legal, construction, and business knowledge, none by themselves really doing it for me.

    Ultimately I get paid silly money to help crazy rich people spend theirs and the best part is, relatively little guilt if the projects go awry because Atleast it isn’t tax dollars.

  • BS in Communication (concentration in Conflict Analysis and Intervention)–> Receptionist–> Research Assistant–> Meeting Planner for a government contractor–> Meeting Planner for a non-profit association– > working towards becoming a PM for same association

    If I had the chance to do it all over, I would go into Health/Nutrition/Exercise Science.

    • I definitely recommend the nutrition field!

      My path:
      B.S. in Psychobiology –> M.S. in Nutritional Science –> Nutritionist for County gov’t —> Nutritionist for Feds

  • Blithe

    Clinical Psychology. My undergrad degree is in psychology, and my doctorate is in clinical psychology — and my area of expertise is working with kids 3 – 15 in inner city environments. I was lucky enough to have dream jobs — working with kids in school based mental health programs — in two different cities. Now I’m at a crossroads — trying to decide if I want to continue to do the same thing, which I’ve loved, or take advantage of living in DC and doing something different, perhaps on the policy side of things.

  • BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing > editorial assistant at food magazine > government consultant > writer for a university publication > retail market analyst. Freelance writing along the way. I’m planning on opening a gourmet sandwich/homemade ice cream shop in Baltimore in two or three years.

  • BAs in Political Science and History, then law school. Now a lawyer in the Senate.

  • BA in Law & Society, JD, MLIS; now I’m a librarian for a federal agency.

  • B.S. in Accounting > Public Accounting > Real Estate Accounting. Exciting!

  • B.S. in Geography from UGA…now a GIS Specialist (fancy name for a map maker nowadays). I feel pretty lucky to be doing what I enjoy.

    • jburka

      Ooh, other geographers on PoP! Double major BA in Geography and English from Indiana University and a double Masters (MA/M Library Science) in GIS from UMD College Park. I’ve worked as a federal contractor writing GIS software since I finished grad school…about 17 years now. Eep.

    • Yay, geography! Sadly I’m a geography-school dropout (already had one masters, so the geog one was my part-time “bonus” or “fun” masters, and I had to abandon the program when I got a job offer I couldn’t refuse and had to move in DC) but I loved the discipline. I’m sure you all feel my pain when I say I lost count of the number of people who said to me “Huh, geography? So…does that mean you’re, like, getting a master’s degree in where all the countries are and what all their capitals are?”

  • gotryit

    engineering physics -> nuclear engineer

  • B.A. in Chemistry –> middle school science teacher –> PhD in Planetary Chemistry –> assistant dean of student life at the college level –> high school chemistry teacher –> dean of student life at the university level

  • 14thandChapin

    B.A. Economics – First job was doing financial auditing related to the mortgage foreclosure crisis, now im working as a government contractor in the IT field (my job is mostly PM and administrative). So far so good! I want to go back and get a masters and hopefully get into Policy Research for a think tank

    • Think tanks are a great way to make no money, but get paid in free lunches. Be careful what you wish for.

      [/former think tank’er]

      • 14thandChapin

        hahah thanks for the advice…i am still young so i dont need a ton of money per say just enough to pay the bills in the city. What field did you switch into (was it policy related?)

      • amen to that. when I left the think tank i was at to go to a government contractor, i scored a 30% raise. BS in mathematics, MS in statistics —> now a statistician (obvs)

  • I have a BS in electrical engineering and was interested in patent law, so I moved to DC to work as a patent agent at the USPTO. It was a good approach because I learned very quickly that I did not want a career in patent law. I’ve been designing ships for the Navy ever since, picking up an MSEE in the meantime. My volunteer work is way more interesting (sustainable technology projects for developing countries) and I’m ready for a career change. I actually have a job interview later today!!

  • BA in economics with political science minor -> now do statistics and computer programming. probably not for everyone but I’m pretty happy with it. it wasn’t a lifelong dream to sit in front of a computer every day, but i suppose most of us do now, right?

  • BA in Urban Studies with a PoliSci concentration, been working on urban issues in the policy/advocacy/think tank arena pretty much the entire 13 years since (save for a brief stint doing legal secretary temp work while looking for my first post-college gig). Got my Master of Public Administration along the way in night school, and now working for a nonprofit community/economic development intermediary (jargon for an organization that doesn’t do direct service work but helps community-based organizations that do). But one of the things I find even more interesting than college is hearing what my high school classmates ended up doing. I went to a public magnet school that focused on the arts, and heard no end of hand-wringing from adults in the community about how an arts education would NEVER prepare us for college (nevermind that the school had to follow the same curriculum requirements as the rest of the district) and if we would never be able to support ourselves if we insisted on following such a frivolous course of study. Some of my classmates have been really successful in the arts (a few theater students got not-megastar but decent roles in TV or movies), but many of us found the arts-related skills were very transferrable to other careers. I “majored” in writing in high school, and while I discarded the “I’m going to be a poet!” fantasy pretty quick, writing skills have been invaluable in all of my nonprofit jobs post-college (the first of which specifically focused on nonprofit communications.)

    • Ha, of course I have a typo up there…I have the same fear as the editor mentioned in the comments above. πŸ˜‰

  • BA in History/Near Eastern studies–>ESL in South Korea—>Studied Arabic in Yemen (missed the X-mas plane bomber by a few months- darn)—>Temp work and non-profit internship in DC–>Cancer–>Logistics coordintor for import company–>Masters in IR–>Budget analyst in gov’t.

    (And I’m sure my friends reading this blog are now thinking, “I know you Mr. Anonymous!”)

    • andy

      yeah, I bet some people are going to avoid posting job details here because they will be too easily identified.

  • Urban Planning and PPE (Politics, Philosophy & Economics) plus French and Arabic. Ended up in international development after a stint in sustainable transportation…

  • English and Peace Studies (seriously)–> Lawyer for the federal government. Still dream of joining a friend who is a marine archaeologist.

  • Thanks for posting my question PoP, this is so interesting to read.
    BA in Public Policy –>interned and hired at International Development firm working on West Africa –> brief stint in consumer Public Relations –> Masters in International Relations and Public Administration –> International Education non-profit. Still haven’t found ‘it’, and harboring a desire to write :-).

  • B.S. in Environmental Science (with a focus on GIS) – Been working in the GIS field ever since in Portland, Australia, San Francisco, Germany, and now DC as a Senior Analyst and Project Manager.

  • I have a BA in History and a BA in French with a minor in English. I am currently working on a MSM in nonprofit management.

    I am an assistant at an NGO. I feel a little underwhelmed.

  • BA International Studies, MA Security Policy – Nuclear Security/Foreign Affairs

  • BS in Finance

    Banking to Telecomm and now work in IT for a large non-profit

  • B.A. Environmental Analysis and Policy –> regulatory consultant for a chemical consulting firm, quit after 3 months when I realized I was working for the bad guys –> intern at SeaWeb (ocean conservation NGO) –> business manager at a carbon offset company –> environmental analyst for a gov’t contractor –> just finished my M.Sc in Energy Policy while working for said gov’t contractor!

  • A BS in biology led to a few years at the bench at NIH doing immunology research, which strangely was my almost least favorite area of biology- ecology was my least favorite. I accidentally ended up where I am now, a pharmaceutical standard setting non-profit where I was a PM, but now do stakeholder outreach. I got my Masters in Public Health part time and my company paid for half of it.

  • BS – public health/epidemiology, MPH – industrial hygiene/occupational safety. Currently working as an occupational safety specialist. Not the most lucrative career path but I love my job!

  • Bachelor’s of Music degree in Trumpet Performance. Master’s degree in Arts Management. Now I book artists to perform in venues all around town. Pretty good mixing of the two degrees!

  • BS in Math > data analyst > systems analyst > program manager for software development projects

    • yay for BSs in math. such an unbelievably marketable degree. i feel so lucky i decided to major in it.

  • BA in China Studies, BA in History, BFA in Photography, JD, and now an attorney in private practice.

  • BFA in Filmmaking & BA in Political Theory -> think tank -> political and corporate consulting firm -> masters in Intl Economics -> working for the Fed on economic and international banking policy issues

    I’m trying to figure out what comes next. Probably getting my CFA and then going back to the private sector (ideally a consulting firm or a bank).

  • mtpgal

    BA journalism –> JD –> lotto winner –> new host of Jeopardy

    oh, you mean what I do in real life and not in my mind?

    BA journalism –> JD –> lawyer

  • BS in Political Science (so appropriate). Thought I wanted to run campaigns for a living but I don’t like politicians. So, I’m a meeting planner for a trade association. Planning in the next couple of years to go out on my own, focusing on planning law firm meetings and small corporate meetings. Hey all you lawyers – let’s talk!

    • I’d also love to explore meeting/event planning, but it’s hard to get in to…but I definitely see what you see in it (as an organized person!)

      • I did meeting planning (hotel side, then association side) for about 10 years, then moved on to something else about 6 years ago because I got tired of the travel. Now I really miss it – if you love project management, working to a deadline, and have good organizational skills I highly recommend it!

        • My mother has been a meeting planning professional for 25 years. I keep telling her to get out of the hotel business and go to client side for an association. It sounds way cushier.

  • Degree in International Relations; now in military!

  • Industrial Design- Co-Own architectural/design rendering/3D printing Company

  • BA, MA, English Lit. Had every intention of going to a PHd program, but decided I needed a career that was more, er, portable. Went into advertising (creative side) and never looked back. I also teach improv comedy.

  • BS Civil and Environmental Engineering -> Traffic/Transportation Engineer in the private sector -> Roadway Design Engineer in the public sector -> Transit Facilities Planner at WMATA

  • KSB

    Of course my BA in Historic Preservation means I’m a Corporate Legal Specialist now. Why wouldn’t it?

  • BA Anthro –> EPA Contractor –>MS Monkeys –>Facilities Management–> Now work in Organizational Sustainability…still not quite sure how I got here!

  • BA International Studies -> MA International Development/Global Health -> project manager at a global health consulting firm

  • BA in English and Psychology => worked London doing technical recruiting then in other countries as an au pair. Came back and worked in social service => MSW => working in refugee camp overseas => came back and worked in international exchange, then Peace Corps staff.

    Now I”m working as a consultant with international development and humanitarian assistance organizations – life is good!

  • BA political science/philosophy/uselessness. At 32, an assistant at an energy trade association. Yay me.

    • Feel your pain…There are many (MANY) assistants in our NGO that have an MBA/MFA. It is a strange feeling.

    • Sorry to hear that. From my experience, it’s not so much that those disciplines are useless in the job market, but partly a master’s degree bias in many fields that are related to poli sci, and partly a right place/right time sort of thing. I probably finished school a few years before you (2000), and about a year before the economy tanked. Once I got my MPA a few years later, there were many more jobs open to me–kind of frustrating because for many of those jobs you don’t really *need* a master’s degree, but it’s become more of a weeding tool for employers, and even more so in this competitive job market. I remember being shortly out of undergrad and a colleague literally said to me “Ha! A bachelor’s degree? That’s nothing these days!” (Needless to say, having worked my butt off for four years–both in school and in jobs–having taken out substantial loans, being the first person in my family to finish college, and having bought into the message that finishing college was the golden ticket to a good career…that pronouncement was pretty discouraging to me at the time.)

  • novadancer

    BS in Finance – > additional accounting classes several years later to be eligbile for CPA exam -> Public accounting -> Accounting director non profit.

  • B.A. in PoliSci and Russian Studies –> M.A. in Geopolitics/Geography –> work in International Education program development. Debating whether to go back to study geography more, it’s my favorite thing. Also interested in Rule of Law.

  • BA in Native Studies and Indigenous Governance > project manager for tribal program for defense

    • that sounds like a very cool job

    • andy

      are all of those tribal defense firms cutouts for major players who work with them as “subs” in order to get the tribal preferences in defense contracting?

      • I believe that you are referring to ANC’s, I’d conduct research on ANSCA, economic and historical information for Alaska Native Villages and formulate you’re own opinion (it looks like you already have though). I do not speak for all tribal entities, tribes, organizations etc nor defense, contractors, contracting vehicles.

        Just simply have a kick ass job πŸ™‚

        You can also look at Booze Allen and see what they have going on…

        • andy

          Sounds like you have a cool job, which is worth it no matter what the sector is like. And Booz Allen definitely has some great stuff! Like that one guy they hired who’s in Russia now…

          • Ha. I work for a small company and love everything about it and the communities and people I serve.

            i was obviously being saracstic in some areas of my above comment. Have a great weekend Andy and hope that you find some relaxtion and calm. Life’s short.

  • BA in Journalism and MS in Broadcast Journalism. Now, I’m a Digital Media Producer at a non-fiction TV network.

  • philosophy/theology (i.e. liberal arts) and now I am a financial modeler

  • Double major: Music Theory and French

    Then law school.

    I do energy policy.

  • epric002

    BA english, professional writing/poli sci –> legal assistant while contemplating law school –> MA english, professional writing –> gov’t contractor in emergency management/continuity of operations/mission assurance/homeland security –> dragging out a grad certificate in homeland security & emergency management.

    yay for so many english majors πŸ™‚

  • Emmaleigh504

    BA: Sociology; MLIS: Library and Information Science. Job path: lots of retail, public librarian, patent researcher (current).

  • BA Art History, Master of Education : Unemployed H.S. history teacher

  • BA in Spanish and English -> Working in Accounting and Finance

    Currently working towards becoming a Spanish Translator. Not willing to take the pay cut. Someone help.

  • philosophy, now a software executive. it was good to graduate into the dot com boom…

  • Political Science BA>>>>>Currently work in politics.

  • BS – Science. Former nursing student. Worked in PR, then TV news, then Architecture/Interior design (sensing a lost twenty-something here?), then professional florist, then Smithsonian Magazine, then legal secretary, and FINALLY special events coordinator, Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

  • BA environmental studies, MA environmental economics, PhD natural resources policy – > policy analyst at a congressional agency. It’s my dream job, and I still pinch myself on a regular basis that this is my life. I had several receptionist/admin stints between degrees, and also did a few years of extension work, all of which contribute to my sense of gratitude for what I get paid to do now. I’m so lucky to love what I do (even if some of the people I do it with and for drive me crazy at times)!

  • BA Philosophy –> MA Philosophy –> Fundraiser at a non-profit –> Proposal management consultant –> Business Development manager at domestic healthcare government contractor…what a long, strange trip it’s been.

  • B.S. in Bio -> M.S. in Ethology -> working as a nanny -> added a B.S. in Business Managment (it seemed like a good idea at the time) -> technical writing -> scooping poop and being happy working at an animal rescue

  • This thread wins as my favorite PoP one yet!

    BA in Poli Sci and Anthropology > Masters Degree in Public Policy > federal bureaucrat

    Now, what I really want to be doing is creative writing and starting a band. I guess I’ll consider those “hobbies” until I figure out a way to make that my career.

  • BS biochemistry >> about 15 different jobs >> lobbyist for sciency stuff.

  • BA in Political Science, then went to law school. I was in private practice for several years and absolutely hated it, but I liked the HR side of things, so I got into recruiting – first as a headhunter, then back to a law firm, where I do lateral partner recruiting and also do some professional development work with associates. I like it quite a bit.

    • It’s a late-in-the-day reply, my apologies, but how easy/difficult did you find it to break in to recruiting and the HR side of things? I did political science/cultural anthro BA while working as a legal assistant in summer –> law school –> clerk at a bookstore while looking for a “real job” –> legislative counsel at a small lobbying firm. I know this route isn’t where I want to be forever, though I don’t know if I want to look toward the Hill or corporate environments next. I do know that I enjoy the more “human” side of things, as it were, and am so curious about recruiter positions and the like.

  • B.A. in English –> soul-destroying entry-level corporate job “processing things bought and sold” (in the words of John Cusack’s “Say Anything” character) –> teaching English in Japan –> entering M.A./Ph.D. program in English –> escaping with an M.A. –> newsletter writing and editing –> writer/editor for the federal government.

  • BA in history (french & religion minors) –> MA in public history –> library/archives grunt at big university –> reference archivist at a state archives –> MS in library science (while working full time in school’s archives) –> public librarian, where (i kid you not) helped a person locate a book about google last week.

  • English major, now doing database design and software development. Certainly not a waste, though, the best thing you can get out of a BA is to learn to research and communicate clearly. Also, if you can read a novel that starts off “They were hitting” and realize that it this is an idiot describing a golf game, then you are ready to diagnose any number of technical support issues.

  • B.A. in poli sci, spanish, and russian studies -> member services at a non-profit; M.S. in public relations -> marketing/development director for an international non-profit/charity. Not going to pay off student loans any time soon, but hell, i am very happy.

  • Have an undergraduate degree in Management and International Communication. Now I’m a budget analyst for the Navy. It all fits, but honestly if I had it to do over again I would have gone to nursing school. I’ve pretty much stuck myself with desk monkey jobs for the rest of my life and that makes me a little sad. I’d have been a good nurse.

    • Oh, and I’m tacking a M.S. in Project Management on there, just to solidify desk monkey status.

    • andy

      It’s hard to get to that point in your life where you realize there’s no likely return on going back to try to do something else, and that you’ll be doing some version of this until you’re out of the working world.

      • +1.
        I like what I do, but it can be a bit of a rude awakening to go from the college-age perspective of “I can do anything!” to realizing that, realistically, certain fields are now closed off to you.
        I was going through my college notebooks several years ago. It hit me when I was looking at my notes from biology class that I was never going to be a doctor or do anything else biology-related, and I reluctantly placed them in the recycle pile.

      • Why not become a nurse? People tend to fixate on the sunk costs associated with their current career, and not the opportunity costs of sticking with a path that’s not ideal for the rest of their working lives. Unless you’re 5 years from retirement, going back to school could make the most sense economically.

    • Why not study to be a nurse? See if you can take a few classes as a non-degree student to see if this is really something you want to do.
      Although my sample = 2, one friend went to medical school when he was in his late thirties, another went to nursing school in her early 30’s. Both had 10+ years in very different fields, both very happy with their decision.

  • AA in liberal arts (earned in high school – thank god for alternative programs) -> BA with a double major in politics and psychology, double minors in Latin American studies and Spanish -> communications for human services org -> research/organizing for wilderness advocacy groups -> grantwriting and grant management for immigrant community-based org (while working on most of a MA in ethics and peace studies, and graduating with a certificate in nonprofit management) -> grantwriting and communications for human rights org with a focus on immigrant women. I swear it all makes sense! If I had to do it again, I’d skip the MA or just do the MA as a fulltime student.

  • BA Business > bartender > MA Intl Affairs > Diplomatic Security Special Agent

  • BA in Poli Sci and Philosphy –> terminal MA in political science because I found out I loathed academia (and most academics), but focused on comparative politics with an emphasis on social democracies (there is NO market for that!). Got a job on the Hill, then government….now a civilian dealing with furloughs and a job I don’t like. Looking for a change. Want to make money selling my ice cream, but with a baby on the way and a mortgage, it’s not really my decision any more, as keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table is more important.

    My husband flirts with law school (BA in history/poli sci/math –> enlisted US Marine –> contractor ..> fed). But he has the GI bill so he’d pay very little or nothing for his degree, which makes it more appealing.

  • B.S. – Computer Science . Went the Database (Big Data) Route and never looked back.

  • BA in Poli Sci and minor in Sociology->working as a intern at the white house->senate staff assistant-> senate correspondent-> senate legislative aide

  • Psychology and Public Health –> executive secretary.

  • ledroittiger

    BA East Asian Studies/Chinese —-> JET Program —-> Paralegal —-> Journalist

    • Interesting, there are several former English-in-Japan teachers on this thread…wonder if the others did JET, too? One of my good friends from college did that immediately after graduation, and had some really interesting experiences.

      • Didn’t do JET (was too impatient to wait for the once-a-year application process), but wished in retrospect that I had.

        • I went to Japan through Princeton-in-Asia. They have opportunities for recent grads all throughout Asia – not just teaching, though that’s what I did.

  • BA & MA in History –> academic publishing –> historical society (best job ever) –> production editor at a government agency. I miss doing history and also supremely regret not getting an MLIS. πŸ™

  • BA Econ/Japanese > Admin Assistant/office Mgr Japanese Company in DC > Investor Relations for big company > Stock Options Admin > Project Mgr in Sales Operations at another big company > Quit corporate America > Researching food and food politics > Operations Mgr at bakery > Trying to figure out what to do! Want to help grow and develop sustainable food businesses…trying to figure it out…

  • andy

    Undergrad IR/Poli Sci >> Law School (good LSAT, then-GF in law school…didn’t like it but stayed) >> two horrible small litigation firms in succession >> Got tremendous girlfriend >> Passed Foreign Service Orals >> Junior Senate staffer >> Married tremendous GF instead of State >> quasi-retirement in dead-end agency legislative affairs office.

  • I studied history/political science now I am a librarian (though that is what Masters is in).

  • Poli Sci/French undergrad –>Hill staffer–>boss retired, so became a lobbyist for a non-profit –>law school.

  • MA political science – federal agent.

  • BA in Political Science –> Peace Corps –> research assistant –> MA International Law –> fed auditor –> ???

  • Middle Eastern Studies/Arabic. Currently a software designer/implementation ninja.

  • I studied film. And now I am a lawyer. Cries.

  • BA in Slavic Linguistics, MA in History, PhD in Religious Studies. Now I’m a health policy lobbyist. Still trying to figure out whether I’m a Renaissance man or just a dilettante.

  • BA in Psychology, just finished my MPH in Public Health Communication and Marketing. Now I’m working for the National Cancer Institute doing social marketing/behavior change communication (combination research/evaluation and content creation).

  • Lumberjack > rodeo clown > wildcatter > yoga instructor > cable guy.

  • I got a degree in Computer Science but I went for the big money and became a local historian. I still do geeky stuff like making (historical) databases and maps.

  • BA in International Studies (Communication Concentration) and Anthropology (Sociocultural and Linguistic concentration), MA in Global Communication (Public Diplomacy concentration) now working as a Program Coordinator for the National Foreign Language Center.

  • jim_ed

    BA History, now work as a research analyst in commercial real estate development.

  • BS Computer Science -> Too boring and disappointing to recount.

  • Master of International Economics -> strategic outreach development/communications consulting for nonprofit organizations.

  • BS in Premed/Psychology -> Hospital Administration Intern -> MS in Health Sciences & MBA in Healthcare Management -> Clinical Quality Analyst in a DC hospital.

  • Side note, but all the talk of degrees and second degrees made me nostalgic for New York and the CUNY system, where I did my MPA and part of a second master’s before having to move down here. No, having CUNY on your resume might not make employers go starry-eyed like Harvard or Columbia or GW or Georgetown, or whatever–but they do have decent, solid programs in a ton of different disciplines, many that could accommodate 9-5 full-time workers, and best part (at least some years back when I was there), many around $250-300/credit (which is not a bad price at all for graduate studies). Every time I’ve thought about going back to school part-time in this area, the lack of affordable options are frustrating: either out-of-state tuition at College Park, GMU, or Virginia Tech; exorbitant per-credit costs at the DC private universities; or UDC (I can’t comment first-hand on the level of its dysfunction, since I’ve never attended, but their academic program offerings are not very robust). And yes, I know a city the size of DC couldn’t sustain as large a system as CUNY the way that New York can, but still…I wish those of us who have to keep working full-time had better options for part-time study.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I thought DC residents didn’t have to pay out of state tuition (or got a credit or something) public universities in the states. I could be wrong, because I wasn’t paying attention when I heard this (not looking to go back to school), but it might be something to look into.

    • I don’t know what your living situation is like, but could you live in northern va a couple years? It wouldn’t be that bad if it’s saving you $15k or whatever on tuition.

      • I thought about that briefly…ultimately, at the time, I just wasn’t motivated enough to move to northern VA, wait a year for my residency to become official, and then spend another 3-4 years there depending on the duration of the program. I got spoiled with CUNY and miss having all the options at my fingertips. But I still may give the VA or MD option a try in the future if I decide more grad school is really what I want. (I have actually been thinking about moving to save on rent, anyway, although that’s kind of a tossup, because then I’d add in extra dollars in Metro costs for the commute…but that’s a discussion for another thread! πŸ˜‰ )

  • BS, MS in Electrical Engineering and then moved to this area due to my girlfriend at that time (15yrs back). I’ve been working on designing hardware for satellite systems for various clients around the world. I like what I do but would rather spend my time with my 5month old.

  • BA in Art History, MA in Art History–> Professor of Art History. But I’ve also worked in art museums!

  • BA Philosophy ->M.Ed. Elementary Ed. -> 4th grade teacher ->PhD Philosophy -> Philosophy professor

  • saf

    I have a BS in Zoology and a MA in Arts Management.

    I am currently unemployed – looked for the next cool thing.

    I have been a waitress, bartender, retail monkey, lab tech, bank teller, bank CSR, accounting technician, database administrator, operations manager, project director, and project manager.

  • BA Religion with a concentration in Islamic Studies (while working full time in food service management) -> defense contractor analyst hell -> retail management -> high school math teacher -> university office manager -> project manager for a civilian fed contractor.
    Debating whether I want to pursue a grad degree in PM. I’d rather go back to teaching, but it doesn’t pay well and I have a kid to support on my own, plus my tolerance for BS diminishes every year. I like the kids, don’t like the policies and politics.

  • B.S. in Computer Engineering ’05 => M.Eng. in Computer Science and Engineering ’07 => Electronics Engineer for the Naval Research Lab

  • BS in Psych –> MA in Sociology/Public Policy –> program evaluation for Maryland judiciary–> performance management for Maryland circuit court –> criminal justice research as a federal employee. Looking to work my way up the federal system. I’m thinking that the work of an Inspector General office would be pretty interesting, or getting back to doing program evaluation.

  • BA in Pol Sci and Economic History – Immigration- Trade issues at an Embassy in DC.

  • BFA–>fed admin job–>rejected by MFA programs (best thing ever)–>more fed admin jobs–>MA in IR–>been working foreign policy for the USG for about 10 yrs. though i still love hitting the art museums in town.

  • BS History, Technology & Society w/ PoliSci minor (following 3+ years EE study/co-op program). Later on MA in International Science Policy while working. 10+ years as a legislative staffer, now a House chief of staff

  • PDleftMtP

    I’m surprised only two of the lawyers are ex-lawyers.

  • Undergrad degree: journalism
    Grad degree: library science
    Currently: medial librarian
    But am more interested in the “medical” part than the library part and have kind of always regretted not going with something more medically-oriented from the beginning.

  • Undergrad: Sociology
    Masters: Latin American Studies (Spanish Translation)
    Currently: Working part-time at a labor union Yey! :-/

  • Studied: Medieval literature.
    Now: Webmaster

    But they only let me write copy in Chaucerian rhyming couplets.

  • BA – Political Science. MA – Social Studies Education. MA – Philosophy, Political Philosophy and Classics. Currently work as a lobbyist for a non-profit.

  • Political Science>Hill Staffer>Lobbyist. Basically followed the career path that everyone likes to hate on.

  • BA in History. MA In Museum Studies (Collections Management). Now work as an exhibit registrar at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

  • Accounting degree > VP of Finance

  • BS Meteorology and MA Geography –> First programmer for NOAA and now meteorology software tester

  • BA studying Art History, MA in Art History (Pre-Columbian focus), gallery director at 2 galleries, museum professional, now a stay at home mom because childcare was more than my salary πŸ™

  • Got a B.A. in political science + philosophy. Graduated in 2009, got a job a few months later doing intel for the DoD. Now that sequester has happened, currently working on that Masters degree in public policy…

  • English (Film Studies concentration) + Nonprofit Management undergrad > Museum Studies M.A. > working in Collections Management at a small museum here in town. Were it not for my salary, I couldn’t be happier. At the dame time, I also recognize how fortunate I am to have a job in my chosen field, competition for jobs in museums is a harsh reality.

  • i’m 40 and i need a new career. what would you study and try to do if you were trying to start over?

    • Computer Science……yeah it is hard but it pays well and the days of ever being unemployed will be greatly reduced

  • BA in Accounting > Auditor at an Inspector General

  • Computer Science – Writing code all day and loving it

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