I picked up an economics major in college because it was the practical thing to do, and autumn 2008, when I began my freshman year at Duke, was not a time to be impractical. The WSJ headlines announcing the death of Lehman (AND CAPITALISM AS WE KNEW IT), shoved under my nose courtesy of my weed-out course’s obligatory subscription, also meant that any educational impracticalities would not be tolerated in my family. AKA, the times they were a-changin’, and they were looking scary as hell. It was feeling like 1929 all over again, but worse!, because it was going to influence my major. So hello Bachelor’s of Science in Economics, goodbye sanity, creativity, and academic self-confidence. Who needs those in a post-economic collapse world anyway?
I will never admit this except on a completely public blog, but, ultimately, I’ll always be somewhat grateful that I was nudged (shoved) in a practical direction by familial expectations, as it did mean security (and relief) when I graduated in 2012, and it did help mold me into who I am today. Which is to say, there is very little in the way of work that frightens me because I truly believe that those four years striving towards a grueling degree that I lacked natural inclination towards, as well as competing against geniuses in the process, were the hardest thing I’ll ever do.
But. Nobody tells you when you choose a major in Economics that most jobs interested in a someone with a degree in Economics are generally soul-sucking. At least, that’s what my lengthy lifetime, AKA the past five years, of job-searching and job-holding in the financially-related sector has taught me. I would love nothing more to be proven wrong. And hey, if that’s your game, I’m not one to judge. I think I grew up in a generation that is a delightful mix of souls who care nothing about money and just want to do what they love and souls who love nothing and just want to make buckets of money. And there’s nothing wrong with either approach, if it truly makes you happy. But the latter’s just not for me, you know?