Instead of hating Gov. Rick Scott, anthropologists should quit being lame and prove him wrong. Beef up career resource centers! Frame anthro as a job skill!
Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, recently proposed shifting tax dollars away from anthropology schools, and toward “degrees that have the best job prospects.” (Armario, 2011) Although I detest the notion, as a business anthropologist, I regretfully admit to understanding his position. Gov. Scott’s a professional VC, anthropologists often have misleading job titles, and anthropology schools really do need to step up their career resource centers.
Gov. Scott, of Richard L Scott Investments LLC, is a very specific type of businessman called a VC, short for venture capitalist. VCs professionally invest in growing businesses, usually in return for equity, hoping to earn an ROI if those businesses take off. In essence, VCs are very, very well educated gamblers. Therefore, VCs look for safe bets, rarely invest in startups outside of high-technology, and usually wait to invest in humanitarian businesses until after they’ve already achieved some scale. (Allen, 2009, p. 367) Put bluntly, it’s not the VC’s responsibility to be creative or innovative, nor is it the VC’s responsibility to generate new jobs. That’s all entrepreneurs’ work, not VCs’. Therefore, it makes sense that a conservative VC* like Gov. Scott would overlook the value of anthropology and other humanities.
Because anthropologists can fill many different job positions, we often have misleading job titles. For example, anthropology encompasses the entire field of archaeology, making all “archaeologists” anthropologists, both of which drive entire archeo-tourism economies. (Archaeological Institute of America, 2008) The Disney Company offered me, as a business anthropologist, work as a “consumer research specialist.” Other corporate anthropologists sport titles like “evaluator” and “design research specialist.” (Walsh, 2008) (IDEO) This list of titular misnomers goes on, and it gives the false impression that anthropology students don’t fill many job positions.
Putting aside my previous points, however, anthropology schools really do need to step up their career resources. Although I learned a great deal from my anthropology school, professionally speaking, I felt a tad forgotten upon graduation — and my career resource center has won awards. Hopefully, if Gov. Scott’s proposal somehow passes, I hope anthropology schools everywhere invest their energy, not in complaining, but in proving him wrong.
What are your thoughts on anthropology, business, and the job market? Of course, any other comments are welcome, too! Oh, and also, I PUT A LOT OF THOUGHT INTO THESE POSTS, AND I SURE DO LOVE IT WHEN PEOPLE LEAVE COMMENTS. EVEN SHORT, STUPID ONES. SO BE AWESOME AND SAY SOMETHING. NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED, YAY FREE SPEECH!
END NOTES ————————————
*Although, VC or not, please note that flooding the market with competitors for preexisting jobs won’t necessarily fix a recession.
WORKS CITED ————————————
Allen, K. (2009). Launching New Ventures. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Archaeological Institute of America. (2008, August). A Guide to Best Practices for Archaeological Tourism. Retrieved 2011, from Archaeology: www.archaeology.org/online/features/guidelines/index.html
Armario, C. (2011, October). Scott: State doesn’t need more anthropologists. Retrieved October 2011, from Miami Herald: www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/11/2448886/scott-state-doesnt-need-more-anthropologists.html
IDEO. (n.d.). Sr. Design Specialist. Retrieved October 2011, from IDEO: www.ideo.com/careers/human-factors-specialist-india
Walsh, S. (2008). Corporate Anthropology: Dirt-Free Research. Retrieved October 2011, from CNN.com: www.anthro.utah.edu/~cashdan/tig/corporate_anthropology_CNN.pdf