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Interest in going back to school for a career switch.

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I would like to hear some feedback. I'm not exactly 100 percent sure if going back to school for another degree would be my best bet, but I'd love to hear your opinion. 

So, I graduated with a master's degree in English back in 2014. After graduating, I wanted to apply to the PhD in English, but I'm not sure if that's the best goal for me. I know the job market is really tough, and after four years of teaching secondary education and the community college level, I've realized that I don't want to teach anymore. :(

I would love to find a job that allows me to work more closely with books and writing. These were the fields I was interested in: journalism, book publishing, and library science.

For library science, it does sound like a wonderful opportunity. For me, if I were to get an MLIS, I would be more interested in becoming a specialist in literature, or perhaps an academic/research librarian. I do know that I need to go back to an ALA-accredited school, but I'm not 100% sure if I should do library science.

As for journalism, I have no interest in reporting the news, but I do love writing. I would love to do something like narrative journalism, or reporting about the arts. My dream job would be to review books! But since I have no prior experience, I feel like I would need more education. Do you think a journalism certificate would suffice? Or perhaps some classes? 

Lastly, it would be an honor to work in book publishing. I have applied to some internships, but I'm worried that I don't have any experience in this field either. All my experience is in secondary education. 

I'm not sure if I should go back to school. I will be resigning from teaching in June, so over the summer, I will have more time to apply and explore, but I'd love to hear your advice.

Thank you so much, everyone! 

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Hi! I also got my English MA in 2014, and I've had a lot of similar thoughts to you on career trajectory, so I completely understand where you're coming from on all of this!

In all honestly, unless you decide library science is what you want to do, I don't think you need to go back to school! Book reviewing is a great field that you can definitely break into without a specialized degree- though, it won't happen overnight and you'll probably have to build a "brand" online before you can monetize it or get a "real" job out of it. Here's a super duper millennial suggestion- get involved in the online "bookstagram" community. Start a profile and a blog and start engaging with other book bloggers. Once you build a following, publishers will form relationships with you, and through networking, you can probably find a way to turn that into a job. Networking is everything in the corporate world!

This also might be a good way to get some experience in how publishing works. It's one of the most competitive fields, especially for humanities majors, and it really helps to know people on the inside. Since you had internships, maybe you already have that, or know of people who you could reach out to for advice, etc. I will say that a literature-loving friend of mine worked in publishing in NYC and ended up quitting after a few years because he felt really disillusioned with how corrupt the industry is. That's obviously just one person's view, but it's always been in the back of my head when I've considered career changes.

Another cool idea would be to work somewhere that is literature adjacent- like a museum or non-profit with an emphasis on the arts or literature. It's definitely worth doing some digging to see if you can find an institution you like, and maybe reach out to someone who works there and ask for an informational interview. That might help you figure out how to transition into a new industry (and make a new connection!).


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Hi! I graduated in 2014 as well and have been working in publishing! I’ll be leaving the field to go back to school to teach actually! Feel free to message me to chat more if you’re interested but:

i did get a degree in publishing and it was very not worth it! I know for some, getting a certificate in publishing is helpful bc it a) gives you a reason to move to nyc where most pub jobs are and b) gives you connections!! For me it wasn’t worth it— I was already in nyc and had had internships, but it is what it is!

publishing is hard to break into, especially editorial, so sometimes you just have to take whatever job to get your foot in the door

If you’re applying for assistant positions or internships, it’s not bad to not have pub experience!

Something to potentially look into is a job on the pub side that sells to schools and libraries, to combine your interests? Just a thought! 

Good luck!!

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