Hard to get a job in anthropology:
Once when I was studying commercial art and design a teacher said, “If you graduate from this school and do what we are preparing you for, don’t expect to get paid enough to send your children here.” 

I wasn’t really planning to support myself as a commercial artist.  I just thought that one day I would have something important to communicate; I already was comfortable with writing but had no formal training in graphics.  I made straight A’s in the courses I took, but I still find text is my preferred medium.  But his words did strike me as odd.  Graphic art is well enough loved so people do it at a loss.

Then the governor of Florida announced publically that we don’t need any more anthropologists in Florida.  (Ann Gibbons An Anus Horribilis for Anthropology SCIENCE vol. 338 no. 6114 December 21, 2012 page 1520) “Makes,” as Houn Dog said, “A man proud to be a dog.”  A number of observers have announced that anthropology is the worst possible major for getting a job and for being paid well. 

And yet it was ultimately anthropology, specifically archeology, that led me to the realization of just how deadly random mating in large populations is.  Untold numbers of careful workers sorted out the details of ancient southern Mesopotamia, which when combined with regular history provides what is an undeniable pattern in the survival and failure of societies.  All the work went into a compilation by one person way outside the field and it all fit together brilliantly.  And on top of that field anthropology has provided rich confirmation. 

Anthropology is the most underrated human endeavor.  (There’s a pun on “anthropology” and “apologize” if I were only clever enough to figure it out.) 

The article winds up rather wryly with the suggestion that studying the field prepares one for a wide range of career opportunities and that it also prepares one for life.  An anthropologist has an advantage in what is becoming an ever more ethnically diverse and mobile global society. 

There have been 75 visitors in the past month I guess.

Home page