Top Ten Questions-As an English Major-I Never Want to be Asked Again.

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

As a recent college graduate–with a degree in English, mind you–these are the most ridiculous (and sometimes quite insulting) questions I get asked on an-almost daily basis.

1.  English, huh?  Are you gonna teach?  This question is inappropriate for the following reasons:
A.  English degrees qualify you for more things than just teaching.
B. In order to teach, I have to have my teaching certification.  Having a degree in English doesn’t automatically qualify me.
C.  In this conversation, I have ever once come out and said that I like to, want to, express a desire in teaching?  Most likely, no.

2.  So, like, what can you do with an English degree?
I can work in the following fields:
Book Publishing
Book Editing
Ghost Blogging
Be an author
Go to Law School/Become a Lawyer
Be a Playwright
Etc. Etc. Etc.

3.  Have you got a job yet?
First of all, if I don’t really know you, I don’t really want to answer this question.  Firstly, because I’m shy like that, and though it may sound ridiculous, I do feel that my job is none of your business.  This is why:
A.  If I answer this question, the follow-up question is usually Really?  Does that pay well?  And that really is none of your business.
B.  If I tell you that yes, I do have a job, and I do freelance work for a number of places, I usually get the question Freelance?  So you don’t really have a job?  or When are you going to start looking for real jobs?  Sorry, but if I receive a paycheck for my services, I have a job.  Freelance or not.

4.  Are you going to Grad School?
Why don’t I like this question?  Because it usually insinuates that English majors have no choice but to be lifelong students, since apparently we can’t find work anywhere else.

5.  Why did you major in English?
Well, why did you major in Accounting?  or Math?  or Art?  or Photography?  or Chemistry?  or Pharmacy?  You may think my degree is a bit of a joke, but trust me, I’m thinking the same thing about yours.  Besides, this question is rhetorical.  I mean, who in their right mind wants to go to school for 4 or more years intentionally going into massive federal debt just to study something they don’t like, don’t enjoy, or (God-forbid) never use.*
*I do know not all people use their degrees.  But I’m sure they at least had the intention to at the time.

6.  You know, I have a(n) *insert family member here* who majored in English and s/he graduated with a job at *insert highly respectable job field here*.
Well, being that I’m unemployed/working multiple part-time jobs with low wages, thank you for rubbing it in my face.

7.  You know, I have a(n) *insert family member here* who majored in English and s/he couldn’t find a job anywhere, and had to settle for a position in *insert highly unrespectable job here*.
Why thank you for telling me that I will probably suffer many horrible evils such as not working in the field I’m currently educated in.  Wow, that really makes me feel awesome right now.
(I once answered this question with, “Yeah, actually that’s happened to me.  I had to file bankruptcy at 22 and I’m now homeless, actually.  My car was repossessed and I can’t afford to live anywhere.  Dear me.”)

8.  Oh, you know what you should do…
Unless you have a major in English, going through the same things I am right now in the job field, or have actually relative advice for me, please, spare your own embarrassment and do not tell me what I should do.  You may know exactly how to navigate your own field, but I promise you, all others work differently.

9.  Have you tried getting an internship?  Even if it doesn’t pay, it would be good experience.
You name it, I’ve applied for it.  Please don’t imply that I’ve been sitting on my butt for the last 11 months.  400 resumes later, no job, yet you think I haven’t tried working for free?*
*Actually, I won’t work for free.  But I have my own reasons for this.  Another day.


10.  English?  Don’t you already speak the language?  Wow, that must’ve been a breeze for you.

I feel this question needs no explanation.  People are idiots and probably shouldn’t all be let into college.
(Only once in my life have I ever gotten a question this stupid.  I was living my last year of college in an apartment with a girl also named Caitlyn.  Question from old high school friend that I will remember to this day as being the most ridiculous question ever:  Doesn’t it get confusing?  No, it doesn’t.  Surprisingly, we knew which was which.) 

Dear soon-to-be graduates, you will also face mind-numbing, pointless questions about your own degree.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll usually answer with something quippy, quite shocking, and perhaps people will get the hint to leave you alone.  Although, don’t be too harsh.  Usually these people love you on some degree, and you’ve probably asked the same question at one time or another.  Try to be patient.


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