Question 4 - Jobs - October 11, 2011
Yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott said that anthropology is "a great degree if people want to get it. But we don't need them here." He wants to spend Florida's money on what people are now calling the STEM fields - science, technology, engineering, and math - claiming that these are the degree programs that Florida should be funding in order to help people get jobs when they graduate. Never mind that social and behavioral sciences like anthropology employ both qualitative and quantitative research methods in an enormous variety of contexts; they are still widely considered "soft sciences" and, like the arts, seen as dispensable disciplines that don't deserve government investment.
But anthropologists know that we can apply our knowledge of theory and field experience in countless contexts. Ethnography in market research. Team building in corporate, non-profit, and government settings. Public relations and advertising. Prisons, hospitals, child care centers, churches, schools, homeless shelters, battlefields, newsrooms... there's a place for a "soft" scientist in all of these settings.
However, as a recent college graduate who is about to apply to doctoral programs, I need a little bit of reinforcement for the above optimistic recitations. With the short-sightedness of our leaders who favor "hard" science (which, in my opinion, if it's so profitable, should generate enough of its own money that it won't need government funding), will I ever have a shot at being a professor of anthropology? I hope so, but I need some ideas here:
What are some non-academic jobs in which anthropological knowledge and experience is highly valuable? Jobs that won't be going anywhere, even when our economy completely collapses in on itself? What about those of you in other fields? How could/do you apply your specialized education in a field that is different from your original goal?