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If you can't find a job teaching creative writing, should you open your own business?

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More teachers are trained than there are jobs available, except in fields that require talent in math and certain technical fields and specific science fields. That leaves various liberal arts graduates who wanted to teach in high school and community colleges having to train for other types of work, and those who do get adjunct teaching jobs part time are left without teacher's retirement perks, pensions, and health insurance, unless they're dependent upon a spouse's job perks.

This particularly applies to women who took time off to be stay-at-home homemakers for various years and to many of us temporary workers who substituted in community colleges, especially those who couldn't afford the PhD tracks to enter university teaching except in adult education and extended study courses/temporary work. How many people were left in their older years without contract or tenure, filling in for a day or two in community colleges?

For example, in California, the California Community College Credential was eliminated decades ago, leaving those who worked so hard for that credential left to teach in sporadic adult education classes that closed as soon as the number of students in attendance dropped below 19. For those of us who taught in senior centers, as the student attendance waned, the jobs were closed, and the teachers were out of work.

In my graduate class the older women who wanted to teach in community college (writing courses) found work part time teaching memoirs writing courses in senior centers, a place where there was no tenure track in these adult education, off-campus courses, when what they were really hoping for were tenure-track jobs in community colleges where they could use their M.A. in creative writing to teach in the English departments, a wish that for many of us older teachers who returned to graduate school in middle-age and beyond, never arrived. Telling students to stay in school for that master's degree doesn't always pay off in higher lifetime earnings.

My income always has been below the poverty level with the M.A. If my M.A. was in teaching calculus instead of teaching creative writing (fiction) or teaching business communications/journalism, I would have had a better chance of a tenure-track job in community colleges or high schools. The degree value and lifetime income possibility really depends upon the need for the subject in the public schools. This affects the lifetime income of a person, particularly a woman whose interests and achievements are in language arts rather than in the ability to pass math courses at higher levels above the 5th grade.


The moral of this story to students is to pick your specialization in training so that the skills can transfer to the changing markets and needs because your income and lifestyle, social status and even the type of house you live in can depend upon your skills and people you meet in your line of work and hobbies. A person with a degree in biomedical engineering most likely will get more job offers than someone with a major in creative writing. Then again, job offers are more likely to be made to someone younger than over 75, even though the person over 75 has an income below the poverty level.


There aren't many jobs for ticket takers in quiet museums that a lot of older people might want, as long as they could sit down when they want to in their glass bubble cubicle. Then again, they might not want to expose themselves to the masses of people during the flu and cold seasons. But how many jobs online at home pay enough to live on at middle-class levels? And would most people prefer part-time work if they had waning energy for work at various times of life? It's an individual preference, since people have different levels of energy.