We’ve all heard the jokes about useless liberal arts degrees, but my guest today argues that in today’s high tech economy, liberal arts degrees can be incredibly useful and even lucrative. His name is George Anders and he’s the author of the book You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education. We begin our conversation looking at research that suggests that the jobs that pay the most money and are in the most demand today require a liberal arts background, and not necessarily a STEM degree. He then goes on to highlight research that shows how most of the jobs being created today aren’t in computer programming or engineering, but rather in jobs that support those fields like sales, management, and consulting. George then argues that individuals with a liberal arts background are in a killer position to fill those jobs.
We then discuss the perils of liberal arts degrees and what individuals who’ve earned them can do to market themselves and take control of their careers.
- In what sectors are most of the new jobs? What skills do they center around?
- The importance of non-tech skills, like imagination and empathy
- Why does the refrain still exist that you need a STEM degree in order to get a great job?
- Why your first job isn’t your destiny
- The salary paths of liberal arts degrees vs. STEM degrees
- 5 strengths that liberal arts degree holders tend to have in common
- Why big data is useless without a context and a story
- How Facebook kickstarted their ad sales with real-life, human salespeople
- The self-discipline tool that Jeff Bezos uses with his employees
- What a liberal arts degree can contribute to blue collar fields
- The ways in which automation has created more jobs
- How to get paid well with a liberal arts degree
- Creating a job that doesn’t exist yet
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- How to Quit a Job (Without Burning Bridges)
- Podcast: The Myth of Following Your Passion
- Why Every Man Should Study the Classics
- An Introduction to Public Speaking
- Stewart Butterfield
- The Masculine Art of Improvisation
- Jeff Bezos’s Peculiar Management Tool
- AoM’s series on Reviving Blue Collar Work
- Podcast: Mike Rowe and the Case for Blue Collar Work
- AoM series “Is College for Everyone”
If you’re a liberal arts major and feel like you’re stuck in a dead end career or you’r getting a liberal arts degree and worry about your job prospects, You Can Do Anything provides not only balm for your anxiety, but more importantly, brass-tacks advice on how to market your “useless” liberal arts degree.
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Last updated: November 16, 2017