January 31, 2014
This week the students of the Bachelor of Humanities enjoyed a Career Night. Four Humanities alumni were invited to speak to the current students about their jobs, how they got where they are, and their life after the Humanities program. Here are some tidbits of wisdom that struck a chord with listeners.
“Follow your bliss is bad advice.”
This is a direct quote from Humanities graduate Amanda, who is currently a copy editor for the Toronto International Film Festival. Her message was to change the criteria of your job search from being something you take pleasure in to being something that satisfies the lifestyle you want. If you have come into university or are exiting it, you have an idea of the fields you would enjoy and are passionate about. This does not make a career! You will only be happy if you are also living the life you want to live. Maybe it’s a life with flexible hours, or a life where you make a lot of money. These expectations are equally if not more important than finding a job in the field that you love. Start with those lifestyle traits and fulfill those, and then as your skill set grows you can merge your career with your passions.
“I didn’t even know this job existed until I got it.”
This career night panel was made up of some quirky if not downright unbelievable job descriptions. Kwende, a graduate from 2005, took what was a research project on the relationship between cities and hip hop and turned it into a job with the City of Ottawa as a cultural planner. He was not on a path to this job, but because he was such a perfect fit for it, it found him!
The same sentiment was found in Dan’s talk, also a graduate from 2005. He is finishing his masters in education while also working as a paid member of an activist choir. Upon deciding he would rather change history than teach it, he joined the Occupy Montréal movement. His music caught the ear of many while he was camped out, and he was later approached by a non-profit organization that supports activism throughout Montréal to perform two or three times a week at different protests. Both of these alumni assured us that if you don’t know what you want to do, don’t worry; the perfect job for you is out there, you just don’t even know it yet.
“Humanities got me where I am today.”
This was the ultimate message of all four presentations at Career Night. Amanda told us that if not for her experience in the Bachelor of Humanities—with its rigorous writing and second language requirement—she would not have gotten many of the jobs she applied for. The Bachelor of Humanities requires that every student take a first and second-year language course, and she stressed the value of this language in the workforce. Humanities, she said, makes her rare and valuable.
Kwende told us that Humanities taught him to learn and apply knowledge in unique ways, and this sets him apart from other people in his field. Humanities also let him take courses in the field of architecture while at Carleton, which was key to his advancement in the field of urban planning.
Evan, a digital editor of the nightly news at the Globe and Mail, said that what sets him apart from people in his field is that he understands where modern society comes from. He found himself separated from the pack because he had a broad knowledge of human history and his writing skills were above par. He also said that the mentorship program at Carleton set him up with a fabulous mentor who helped him realize what opportunities his work could get him, and what doors were open to him.
Finally, Dan stressed that his Humanities professors were key in the advancement of his career. Humanities professors wrote him stunning recommendation letters for graduate school applications that were especially compelling because of the personal student-teacher relationships fostered in the Bachelor of Humanities. They all agreed that the Bachelor of Humanities was essential to their success in the workforce.
Humanities Career Night left a hopeful sentiment in all of our hearts. At the end of the presentations, one got the feeling that the only downside to Humanities is that it gives you too many career paths to choose from. All of these people received the exact same education, yet they find themselves in opposite corners of the employment universe. It seems like for Humanities students, the world truly is our oyster.