Philadelphia Phillies first baseman, home-run slugger and all-around nice guy Ryan Howard just signed a new five-year contract with the team for $125 million. Our first thoughts?
- What a tremendous amount of money.
- He’s such a nice young man – and a good catch. (By that we mean he’s single!)
- His mother must be shepping nachas (that’s Yiddish for reaping joy and taking pride in one’s child), though she might call it something else.
Ryan’s mom might get goose bumps when she says, “My son the MVP,” just as scores of Jewish moms are thrilled by the words “My son the doctor . . . the lawyer. . . the accountant.” But the times they are a-changin’. Anyone who’s picked up a newspaper lately (oh no, wait, sorry, they don’t exist anymore), we mean googled a blog, knows that with stingy insurance companies, tort limitations and Wall Street woes, those three classic career choices are no longer the sure thing they once were.
The Word Mavens have four children currently enrolled in institutions of higher learning. Our kids are each pursuing their eclectic interests with nary a medical dictionary, law tome or spreadsheet in sight.
But for those young adults who are still checking “undecided,” there are a slew of new degree options that we never dreamed of. Such as:
Turf management at Mississippi State University. The college says that this major will prepare you for a career as a golf course manager or a football field fixer upper. Though we don’t know the salary range, we do know that graduates have a 90 percent job placement rate (and a decent chance of bumping into Tiger Woods at the office).
Fishing Sciences and Management at Colorado State University. This could be the ideal career for a sushi lover, who will be able to make sure the supply is plentiful for Rainbow rolls.
Comedy Writing and Performance at Humber College, Canada. Perfect for the kid who was the class clown. We believe this was Groucho Marx’s major. Harpo’s was sociology.
Even with all these new-fangled careers, when we did a little research we found that an old standby still stands. When our parents nagged us to pay attention in algebra class, we should have listened because, according to the experts, math is where the money is.
A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which tracks college graduates’ job offers, found that the top 15 highest-earning college degrees all have one thing in common — math skills. “Math is at the crux of who gets paid,” said Ed Koc, director of research at NACE. “If you have those skills, you are an extremely valuable asset.”
Often, math skills add up to careers in engineering. The same study pointed out that petroleum engineering is the top earning degree of all. But do you really want to encourage your kid to work on an oil rig in the North Sea?
Better he should be a baseball player. You’ll know when he’s working nights, he’ll always wear a hat, and you’ll know who his friends are.