At least I don't want to major in Sculpture.
November 6, 2009 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Quarter life crisis. Help me decide what I can do with unmarketable interests?

I am a sophomore in college. I recently decided that I have to start making career decisions soon, and that I thought, among all the choices I've considered, that I might like to be a college professor.
Problem: I love the humanities, not business finance or biochemistry. Luckily, I don't particularly like history or English, but I've been ignoring my other classes this semester in favor of, you guessed it: philosophy.
I have been gradually learning however that philosophy and teaching don't mix. So, I decided "hey! I don't hate "law", I guess, I could go to Law School, that must pay the bills, right?
No (I soon learned).
I feel like I am getting pushed down at every turn, hearing horror stories this way and that! "You'll never find a job!" "Tenure is such a rat-race!" "There's 10 million unemployed PhD's out there! Especially in philosophy!" etc.

I don't need $100,000 a year, but I don't want to be working part-time just to be an adjunct faculty when I'm 35 and making $17,500 per year altogether.

Sure, I just got this "teaching" idea recently, and who knows? "Hopefully" I will hate philosophy by next semester. But it was the first "good" idea I've had, and now it's pretty much dead.

Help me think of alternate ideas before I get too attached to this one, unless it can even be resuscitated?

More personal information:
1. My favorite things about philosophy are the least applicable parts: Epistemology, Do we have free will?, etc.
2. I learned that I like the theoretical and abstract. I like math (but only the numbers, not the graphs...and I'm bad at it anyway), but not science (maybe chemistry...but only the equations).
3. Maybe I don't really like law like I thought I could. I think I might like economics; I like CNBC even when I don't know what they're talking about.
4. I've come to the decision that I could work for some corporation if I had to; just looking at the pictures on colleges' Business Department webpages though makes me realise I'd never fit in (so clean cut!)
5. I also like French, and was going to minor in it until I decided to spend all my credits on philosophy and try to graduate with Honors so I can go to a good graduate school...I know, I'm looking too far ahead. The point is, I wouldn't even mind moving to France.
6. I wouldn't mind either not having that secure job until I'm old and grey (aka 35), and I'm thinking I do want to go to graduate school (anything to make me feel like I won't still be making $25,000 at 50, like my mom) ... but teaching sounds so ... harsh ...
posted by lhude sing cuccu to Education (39 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you have any hobbies? What are you passionate about? What concrete thing would you love doing even if you weren't paid for it? Have you traveled much or apprenticed before? When you are at the magazine rack, what topics interest you? I suspect you've narrow-banded the potential things you could do in this lifetime, so it may be worth taking a broad look at your current interests.
posted by bprater at 7:26 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't have a lot of career suggestions (I was going to suggest law school until halfway down your post) but I do have a little bit of anecdotal advice.

Everyone I know changed their major at least once in college, and I changed mine three times. I had no idea what I even wanted to do with my degree until my third year of my undergrad. I know it seems like you're expected to have a career plan mapped out, but really there is no rush. Who knows what you'll discover this year or next year that you hadn't even thought of before? And not just in your classes. Work on a lot of extracurricular things, volunteer a lot, and see if anything sticks out for you as something you'd like to do long-term.
posted by audacity at 7:28 PM on November 6, 2009


The point is, I wouldn't even mind moving to France.

I don't think the question you want to ask is about making money—that much is easy—but how to deal with the fact that much of your own future is uncertain.

I'm dealing with that myself, so here's some advice: don't worry. Your life is all you have, and it's too precious and ephemeral to waste worrying about how you are going to put symbolic numbers in your bank account.
posted by trotter at 7:28 PM on November 6, 2009


(whoops I meant I changed mine twice—I had three different majors.)
posted by audacity at 7:29 PM on November 6, 2009


No matter what you pick, in ten years you are going to look back on this period of your life and shake your head in amusement that you ever thought you'd be able to figure things out that far in advance.
posted by hermitosis at 7:34 PM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


First and most importantly: You don't have to go to grad school or end up having a profession in what you love. Get rid of that idea. You can love philosophy and be great at it -- and NOT do it for a living, and still have an excellent life where you get to enjoy your interest in philosophy. Ditto for history, poetry, etc. The humanities are things that enrich your life, no matter what job you end up with. It can be smart to get a job that gives you flexibility and lets you have your after-hours time as yours alone, to pursue your various passions.

Second: Don't do all your coursework in one area. Be sure you take math, and if you could get some serious French skills, those will also open up flexibility in employment later.

Third: Don't try to decide now about grad school. Talk to your advisors, of course, but you won't be in a position to decide until later. And you should take a year or more off in between - try out the real world of non-academic work, even if you think you want to be an academic.

Fourth: The way most people's jobs work is that they flounder around for a while after college, eventually fall into something that they think is ok, not great. They stick with it for a few years, then switch jobs to something else they stick with for a few years, then they try something else. By the time they're 30 they've got a wide range of skills, contacts, and experiences, and they are really well positioned to set their course. So: don't worry when you don't immediately get a perfect job after graduation. Jumping around and trying things out is normal and good.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:37 PM on November 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


I know a philosophy teacher who has recently been transitioning into a career in counseling and has found that it is a good fit = that might be something to explore.
posted by extrabox at 7:42 PM on November 6, 2009


Well I majored in philosophy and English and ended up working in finance.

You're correct that academic jobs are vanishingly few, and even more so in fields like philosophy. Further, your intuition is correct that what academic positions are available generally don't pay very well, but it doesn't sound like you're necessarily interested in a career that pays a high salary. (Which is perfectly fine.)

One thing you may want to consider is seeing a career counselor who can give you a bunch of psychological tests that claim to match your interests and personalities with various career fields. Some people find these things useful.
posted by dfriedman at 7:46 PM on November 6, 2009


Side note: Saying things like "vanishingly few" scares me.
I hope you don't mean these jobs are going to online schools, or something equally horrific.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 7:55 PM on November 6, 2009


Take a deep breath on the grad school thing. Sounds to me like you are pursuing it blindly because you think it will offer you greater security. I can tell you from experience that it does not - especially if you pursue it blindly in this manner.

You know that housing bubble that just burst and sent everyone's finances through the floor? Well, there's a secret second bubble that silently burst in the background: the education bubble. And it is based on the same faulty assumptions that the housing bubble was based on: that X never LOSES but only GAINS value [for values of X including: education, housing]. Only, sometimes they do lose value. Ten years ago, everyone said, "Oh well, you have to go to grad school because everyone is so educated now that it's just really not optional." Not true. We've created a class over over-educated, under-experienced graduates that are unemployable because all they have are framed paper and a lot of debt.

Right now, you need to focus on what skills you want to bring to the table. It sounds to me like you are a critical thinker. And it sounds to me like you are not terribly keen on getting yourself into a corporate position. So be an outsider or a freelancer. Be the critical thinking expert that comes in and provides an objective eye for operations. (Business doesn't just need number crunchers and bean counters.) Be a brand manager. Be a strategic planner. Be a corporate retreat facilitator. Edit as a freelancer.

Don't fall into the silly trap of thinking that there are four jobs out there, and that two of them (doctor and lawyer) pay well, while the other two (teacher and police officer) don't.
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:59 PM on November 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


Saying things like "vanishingly few" scares me.

What I mean is that, given the number of, say, philosophy majors, the number of jobs in that field are very small.

If you assume that there are say, 100,000 philosophy majors in the country (a number I just pulled out of my ass), there are nowhere near 100,000 jobs in academic philosophy departments. I would be very surprised if there were more than 0.5% of 100,000 jobs.

To quote my mother who pursued a PhD in philosophy and then quit: "It's not like I was going to open a philosophy store."

Of course, it's also true that most people don't end up having a career related to their major (see me, for example.)

But it's best not to labor under the illusion that just because you have a passion for something like, say, philosophy, that you will find a job working in it.
posted by dfriedman at 8:01 PM on November 6, 2009


Greekphilosophy's point is also very good, about the education bubble. Though, like the housing bubble, most are loathe to admit it.
posted by dfriedman at 8:02 PM on November 6, 2009


I'm a sophomore in college too and dealing with some of the same issues, but reading your post, it occurred to me that you might like cognitive science. I'm taking a course in it right now and of course I'm no expert, but it includes philosophy (including questions of epistemology), formal logic and linguistics, psychology, computer science, neuroscience... the list goes on. It's kind of a broad umbrella with a lot of ways at looking at problems of thinking and the mind. Perhaps you could try it out if you can at your school and see if you can find a way to combine philosophy with other things?

Beyond that thought, how many other disciplines have you tried? Have you taken intro courses in economics or psychology, for instance? What things do you love? What do you get angry or passionate about? What can you read about for hours on Wikipedia and still want to know more about? Try as many different ways of thinking as you can, and see which you like the most and which come the most naturally to you. Major in something you like, are at least a little good at, and find interesting. Figure out how to apply it to something you feel strongly about. And maybe, realize that these decisions aren't as huge as they seem now... at least, that's what I'm telling myself :).
posted by MadamM at 8:16 PM on November 6, 2009


Just as an aside, I majored in Sculpture and my husband majored in English, and we're both doing just "fine". /rant.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 8:23 PM on November 6, 2009


BombShelter: What are the chances! I actually met one other person who majored in Sculpture.
MadamM: Hm, that does sound pretty interesting. I am somewhat interested in psychology/pharmacology actually, but my psychology class makes everything so technical; not really useful for anyone but those who do plan to major in psychology.
I wonder if cognitive science is really more marketable than philosophy, or is it just hiding behind the word "science"? (Like bioethics, another seemingly interesting subject.)

I get angrily passionate about...the overuse of technology...not helpful, is it?

You know, I feel like you are just supposed to 'fall into' a job after college, but I always assume that will end up being a secretarial job or something.

greekphilosophy: You sort of have me figured out with that last line, I really don't know of the myriad of possible jobs out there. I think: office, lawyer, construction worker, teacher, that's it.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 8:49 PM on November 6, 2009


As someone who actually followed her dreams and became a newspaper writer, doing what you love for a career is overrated. You become too wrapped up in it and this can lead to depression or worse if things start to head south. In my case, I lost my job and have no idea what to do now. What I discovered recently was that writing was something I could enjoy as a hobby, not something I needed to do all of the time.

Some advice--study whatever you want, just make sure to take some other courses and perhaps get some jobs or internships in fields where there actually is a chance of getting a job. Your actual major isn't that important unless you're going for engineering or nursing or something like that, employers just want to know you got the piece of paper.
posted by greatalleycat at 9:09 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


You may want to take up programming as a profession. (Talmud students like it; an interest in philosophy and math suggests a possible interest.)

Try going to:
http://projecteuler.net/index.php?section=problems

Then install the computer language python and dive right in. The tutorials, documentation, and community are very solid.

Also, your profession doesn't have to be your passion, or vice-versa, but you should like what you do. Regarding philosophy, I would suggest researching what B.Ph.'s do once they are out of university. I would talk to non-academics about this, frankly.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:57 PM on November 6, 2009


You might consider becoming a preacher, a minister, a rabbi or a priest (as you prefer). They get to give a sermon every week in which philosophical issues are common. They counsel people who often have an existential crisis more than a psychology problem. Don't believe in God? There are always the Unitarians.
posted by richg at 10:34 PM on November 6, 2009


Three things with a degree in philosophy:
  1. The wonderful thing with a hobby in philosophy, is that it is deeply satisfying, and inexpensive.
  2. It teaches you very important analytical skills that are applicable almost anywhere
  3. We philosophy people tend to end up doing well for ourselves even if we don't end up going on to grad school.
Finally, if you do think about grad school, do what my advisors told me to do, take a year or two off, make sure you actually want to do graduate work. Grad programs actually look favorably on it. Because it shows that you've tried your hand at something else and are making a conscious decision to go back, not just taking it as the next step because you can't figure out anything better to do.
posted by thebestsophist at 10:35 PM on November 6, 2009


The funny thing is that I know four people who were sculpture majors, and all four are gainfully employed in their field. If you are good at what you do, and you are good with people, you'll have options, regardless of your major.

In other words, stop focusing so far down the road, and just make sure you are kicking ass at what you are doing right now. Are you getting high grades? Connecting with professors (so that they can write you recommendations a few years from now)? Doing something cool with your time in the summers? Planning for overseas travel? (A short trip is better than nothing, but a year of study abroad or a couple years post-graduation as a Peace Corps volunteer or similar is better.) Hanging out with great people who are doing amazing things with their lives?

Doing those kinds of things now will give you options later. But spending a lot of energy planning your life thirty years ahead and forgetting to do anything cool now actually kind of does the opposite.
posted by Forktine at 5:18 AM on November 7, 2009


> I wonder if cognitive science is really more marketable than philosophy, or is it just hiding behind the word "science"? (Like bioethics, another seemingly interesting subject.)

Clear Yes on that one. It's not a single well defined field, but an interdisciplinary mosh pit. With a good grounding in cognitive science (that demands interdisciplinarity) you get to be philosophically tickled, and have potential access to work in a very wide variety of fields, including robotics, HCI, education, anthropology, etc. Discipline boundaries are not terribly helpful in your situation.
posted by fcummins at 5:46 AM on November 7, 2009


Here is something that I don't think has been clearly articulated in this thread: your undergraduate degree is irrelevant. Liberal arts education is not vocational training. After you get your first job, nobody will ever ask you about your degree again, so it's important that you have it, but not important what it's in.

Statistically, you will change careers five times over your life anyway, so I really wouldn't get too sucked into this issue now. If you had asked me in college what the chances were that I would grow up to be a web designer, I would have looked at you like you had two heads. I studied philosophy as an undergrad, got my certification to teach pre-school, worked in non-profit fund-raising, and have done this for more than 10 years now. Life changes, circumstances evolve, and you roll along with it.

So, enjoy your liberal arts degree education, stop looking at it as job training, and worry about your career as you move into your senior year. And just as a hint: real summer jobs, internships and projects you do on your own count a lot more with employers than your specific degree so think about those things, too.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:07 AM on November 7, 2009


I got a degree in philosophy and now work in an unrelated field and don't regret it. Most undergrad liberal arts degrees help you hone particular mental abilities. With philosophy it's how to parse arguments and explicitly express latent mental assumptions. These sorts of skills are applicable in most any field.
posted by nangua at 6:07 AM on November 7, 2009


I thought a quarter life crisis hit AFTER college?? (maybe you're an older student, I didn't have mine until I was 26, so you're way ahead of the curve).

My first advice though is don't go to grad school and go into (more) debt until you have a few years to stumble around and explore, unless you a SURE of it. It's really OK to take it year by year, or month by month for awhile. If you lock yourself in too soon, it'll be harder to dig yourself out of it later.

I'm just now realizing what my interests are after 5 years post college of not knowing at all what I want to do, including a stint at grad school that I didn't like at all. I thought I wanted to be a writer, then a social worker, now I want to run a business and make some money. But I certainly didn't know that when I was 20.
posted by Rocket26 at 6:46 AM on November 7, 2009


BTW, I don't know if this will help you remember what else people have done with their lives besides just teacher/lawyer/construction etc, but it helped me think outside the box! (it's my link, but it really did help)
posted by Rocket26 at 6:51 AM on November 7, 2009


An undergraduate degree is philosophy is one of the best possible degrees in part because of its flexibility. You'll be attractive to a wide spectrum of employers, as opposed something like a business finance major who is trying to fit slot A into tab B career-wise. What if all the tab Bs go out of business? What if it turns out that you hate tab B? I encourage you to pursue an undergraduate major in philosophy if you enjoy it.

As you seem to be aware, philosophy grad school is a different kettle of fish. Professional philosophy is a lot like professional sports: even the benchwarmer on the worst team in baseball was almost certainly the very best baseball player on every team he was ever on until he got to the major leagues, or the high minors. Are you the very best undergraduate philosopher at your school? If not, graduate school in philosophy is probably not for you. If you're not at least the third best or fourth best at a really big, really good school, or second best at a smaller or less good school, graduate school in philosophy is almost certainly not for you.

Even this is no guarantee of success: plenty of big-fish small-pond grad students wash out along the way. I was one of them.

The important thing to realize is that you are very young, that you don't actually have to make binding career decisions right now, and that the difficulties involved in pursuing a career in professional philosophy are not reasons to avoid a philosophy major.
posted by Kwine at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2009


Ok, so...

FRESHMAN YEAR

I came to college thinking, ok, I NEED to choose a professional career NOW. I know, I'll be a diplomat! That sounds so cool and glamorous!

Oops, I took a class in international politics and hated it. What am I going to do?! I'm having an existential crisis! Ugh, maybe I should just suck it up and go to med school.

La la la, fulfilling requirements... oh my god, this random anthropology class I took to fulfill my science req is AWESOME! I'll be an anthropology major!

SOPHOMORE YEAR

Hmm, I like this major but I don't want to be a professor, really. Hmm, I like writing. I'll double major in journalism.

JUNIOR YEAR

Hey, I like these classes but I hate having to interview people, and I feel like my creativity is being stifled. What else can I do in the journalism school, since I already got in and have taken a bunch of classes in it? Hey, the advertising track looks cool! These classes are really fun and I like the work I'm doing, even if I don't really want to do advertising for a big company.

Meanwhile... wow, these anthropology classes are exposing me to all kinds of social justice issues I never knew about. I'm especially compelled by my urban anthropology class, where we talk about citys and city planning in a social context.

I still need another class outside my major. This environmental policy class looks neat, but I never would have thought so before that anthro class. Wow, learning about transportation issues is way more fun than I expected.

SENIOR YEAR

Wait... I know from my ad classes that I love working on big group projects where we are given lots of info and told to come up with a concrete product. And I am very compelled by urban social issues. MAYBE I SHOULD GO TO GRAD SCHOOL FOR URBAN PLANNING OR PUBLIC POLICY!

That's where I'm at now. I just arrived at that last conclusion a month or so ago, and I'm a senior! And, hey, I might change my mind again. But I just wanted to show you that, despite the fact that I am very excited about urban policy all of a sudden... if someone had told me this would happen as a freshman or sophomore, I would have laughed in their face. It was a series of totally unrelated classes that brought me to this point.

Take classes that seem fun without thinking of what kind of job you might get from them. Because that's a way to find out about weird jobs you might love! By taking fun classes, you will be exposed to professional opportunities you never knew existed. And you will be excited about them, because you were excited about the class material.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:44 AM on November 7, 2009


Just wanted to add a few short notes.

I get angrily passionate about...the overuse of technology...not helpful, is it?

You're still young. Getting passionate and angry about abstract concepts and the like is simply something people go through. When I was still in college, I used to get extremely angry about family and religion's "inappropriate" influence on real life (people who have kids are cut tons of slack in the workplace, people preferentially hire buddies, friends of the family, fellow churchgoers, etc.) -- you just grow out of this and accept it. Technology is reality and it's going to be more, not less, integrated into day to day life going forward. You will get used to it and one day look back and wonder why it was an issue for you.

Here is something that I don't think has been clearly articulated in this thread: your undergraduate degree is irrelevant. Liberal arts education is not vocational training. After you get your first job, nobody will ever ask you about your degree again, so it's important that you have it, but not important what it's in.

This is a pretty common assertion but I completely disagree with it, at least as far as the world of academia and white collar industry goes. It's one of those things people like to tell students along with the whole "be well rounded" yarn. It has not been true for years if it has ever been true.

Your degree determines your first job. Your first job is EVERYTHING in terms of your career path. If you make a lengthy false start there you lose lots of time and are at a comparative deficit to others in terms of practical experience. This is as true for academics as it is for industry -- the academic that decides to go teach at some podunk school will have a much harder path getting an appointment at a top 10 school than someone who gets into a much better (but not top 10) school.

Your academic performance may or may not ever be questioned (I've encountered it only once, and it was in applying to an "old school" research lab).
posted by rr at 10:29 AM on November 7, 2009


Take classes that seem fun without thinking of what kind of job you might get from them.

... in highschool and the first year or so of college. Otherwise, you are basically delaying the decision and pursuing an indirect route. As a result, either grad school or a follow-on bachelors [done serially, costing you time] becomes absolutely mandatory.
posted by rr at 10:31 AM on November 7, 2009


Statistically, you will change careers five times over your life anyway, so I really wouldn't get too sucked into this issue now.

Cite?

I think it would be most interesting to know what they're counting.

If they're taking a career path like going from an individual contributor to a manager and then to a director and then back to individual contributor [this career path is not unusual] then the statistic is extremely misleading to the point of being meaningless for the point you were trying to make -- what's not changing at all in such a career path is industry, context and experience-driven skill set, personal network and role.
posted by rr at 10:36 AM on November 7, 2009


I know several philosophy majors -- none of them ever worked in academic jobs. Off the top of my head I can recall a lawyer, two programmers, and an accountant. I only ever spoke in detail about the subject with one of the programmers, and he seemed to think that his background had been quite helpful.

My point isn't that you should become a programmer. My point, in looking up thread a bit, is that I disagree completely with 'rr' above. Your first job is not EVERYTHING in any sense except the most basic sense: that it determines where you live, the people you interact with, the situations you encounter and the experiences you gain. Radical job changes are rare, I expect, but changes within a certain radius of your current job are not rare at all. What works to get jobs is not a resume but connections, and you gain and leverage your connections by being smart, efficient, etc., in whatever your current job happens to be.

If you can keep that in mind, it takes some of the pressure off. It's idiotic to think that you're capable of determining your career over the next 50 years when you're 21 (or whatever) years old.
posted by lex mercatoria at 10:58 AM on November 7, 2009


that it determines where you live, the people you interact with, the situations you encounter and the experiences you gain

OK, I'll grant that this is not everything, but it sure is most of it. You have just described:

job availability (location) and type (location)
professional network
experience (situational)
experience (direct)

Those factors pretty much dictate your future career path unless you choose to reset one or all of them.
posted by rr at 12:02 PM on November 7, 2009


You know, reading through your responses and what you're really lighting up about, have you considered a career as an ethicist? They exist, they're hired by major corporations, they make real money, and it sounds like something that you could potentially pursue.
posted by KathrynT at 12:21 PM on November 7, 2009


What about teaching highschool? From the way it sounds it wouldn't surprise me if humanities teachers in highschool make more then people who do the whole gradschool/PhD/teaching thing.
posted by delmoi at 1:31 PM on November 7, 2009


I considered private school (just so I wouldn't have to teach "to the test"...less likely to get assaulted...etc) ... but I can't handle kids, I think. I don't really like them.
Maybe it's because I'm so close to their age though; when I mellow out, it will probably be a good option.

KathrynT: Ethicist? That sounds interesting. I've never heard of that; how would one go about getting hired as such a nonspecific thing?
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 3:36 PM on November 7, 2009


OK, I'll grant that this is not everything, but it sure is most of it.

My point was that this will happen whatever you decide, so don't sweat the decision. Admittedly, my zen-like approach to career counseling may not suit everyone, and certainly if there were a particular job a young person had in mind then it'd be best to target that job to whatever extent possible. But our OP here seems to be in more of a "what should I do with my life?" sort of mode.
posted by lex mercatoria at 4:49 PM on November 7, 2009


Humanities teachers in high school do make more than most adjunct college profs, but these are also some of the most difficult jobs to obtain. there are about 200-400 applicants for a literature or social sciences teaching position in the private school setting, just to give you an idea.

I am totally for the pursuit of academic interests. I have an M.A. in renaissance art myself and don't regret one dime or minute of it, but I never really expected to get a job from it. If you are a critical and engaged human being, you will find a job that manages to meet your interest to a certain degree, but school should not always be a direct path to a career.
posted by shrimpsmalls at 6:23 PM on November 7, 2009


My point was that this will happen whatever you decide, so don't sweat the decision

You should sweat the decision if you care about jumpstarting your career. It is true that we'll all be working for 50 years, but it is also true that your ability to establish credibility and connections is all about what your opportunity looks like (and some luck).

It's OK to try and reassure the OP, but let's not trivialize the situation. It rarely makes sense to take a big investment like an undergraduate degree and treat it like it doesn't matter much ("your undergraduate degree is irrelevant") -- in your specific case your lack of early decision making appears to have obligated you to grad school. That's not a ding, but you should ponder the implications.
posted by rr at 10:25 PM on November 7, 2009


I've never heard of that; how would one go about getting hired as such a nonspecific thing?

I have absolutely no idea, sorry. I met someone at a party who was a professional ethicist, and she was absolutely the most interesting person I'd spoken to in ages. All I know is that some places have an ethicist on board (usually law firms, hospitals, research institutions, or other large entities that have an ethical plank in their mission statement), while others hire ethicists on a consulting basis if they find they need to. It's fascinating; an ethicist's job is basically to advise her clients on the ethical ramifications of various options they may be considering, or to highlight their ethical obligations in a given situation. But I didn't ask her how she got the job.

However, googling "How do I become an ethicist" and "ethicist career" both turned up some pretty enlightening links.
posted by KathrynT at 12:50 AM on November 8, 2009


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