Despite being ‘useless,’ no regrets

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By Bryan Marshall

I am useless.

In fact, I am useless twice over.
That’s according to rankings recently released by The Daily Beast, an online partner of Newsweek Magazine.

The Daily Beast ranked the 20 Most Useless College Majors.
Some included agriculture, fashion design, music, chemistry, art, literature and psychology.

Of course, being ever so lucky, journalism fell at number one.
To add salt to the wound, English, which I also majored in, was listed at number 19.

I guess I should just pack up my things and quit now to find a new line of work.

But before that, let’s take a look at how the rankings were determined.

The blog generally asked two questions when coming up with its list: Was my degree worth it and what do I do now?

The main focus was on job opportunities available from a college graduate in a specific major and which majors end up paying the least.

For journalism, the median starting salary was $35,800 while the median mid-career salary was $66,600.

I’m not sure exactly where these numbers came from, but I would be happy honestly with making anything near that amount.

You don’t get into journalism for the money.

That’s something you reconcile with yourself early on or you won’t last long.

They next estimated that the number of journalism jobs available from 2008 to 2018 would decrease by 4,400.

That actually seems kind of low to me.

It seems like every month you hear of another major paper, whether it’s the Lexington Herald Leader or the Kentucky Enquirer, is laying people off left and right.

A community paper like The Grant County News is probably one of the safer places of employment in the field of journalism.

The staff is small and no large paper or major Web site is going to be able to cover the community like we do.

I can’t disagree that this field that I have chosen is not an easy one.
With the majority of people getting their news from the Internet, social networking sites and TV, newspapers have challenges of how to provide accurate information as quickly as possible.

That’s why The Grant County News now has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

Some people just don’t want to hold a paper in their hand when they can satisfy their craving for 24-hour news with the click of a button.

At 32 years old, maybe I’m getting too old, but there is something nice about flipping through the pages of a paper or magazine.

I think what makes me the most annoyed by the “useless” rankings is the word useless.

It belittles my years of hard work in high school and college and the dedication I have had for nearly 10 years in this business.

Am I supposed to believe that the last decade of my life was a waste?
If the rankings listed the least profitable majors, then it would have been fine with me.

As I said before, no one is getting rich in journalism.

But, despite the long, varying hours, the time away from family, the lack of appreciation and the less than adequate financial compensation, I would not change a thing.

Being a part of an editorial team with a single mission of providing news, entertainment and at times, lasting memories, for the community is worth more than anything measurable in a ranking.

Walking through the halls of Williamstown Elementary and hearing kids tell me they remember me and see them get excited about being in the paper is a great feeling.

Life is too short to make everything about money.

Having a job that I enjoy immensely, when many people struggle to find one, is priceless.

(Bryan Marshall is the staff writer for the Grant County News. He can be reached at bmarshall@grantky.com or call 859-824-3343.)