Humor by Greg Schwem

I crept up behind my daughter as she sat at the kitchen table, slumped over her MacBook.

"What are you doing?" I asked.


I had no idea "Facebook" could be used as a verb. "Why are you on Facebook?"

"Because my homework's finished. That's the rule, right? I can Facebook after homework."

Suddenly "Facebook" had become an action verb. "Well, as long as you're on Facebook, why don't you join the actuarial science newsgroup? And check out the Actuarial Bookstore in Greenland, New Hampshire. It has a Facebook page, too."

"Dad, what are you talking about? What is actuarial science?"

I pulled up The Wall Street Journal on my iPad and thrust it in her face. "Read this article, 'From College Major to Career.'"

"How come?"

"So you won't be sitting around the house Facebooking in seven years."

Using 2010 census data, the world's leading business newspaper explored how various college majors fared in today's frightening job market. Actuarial science, commonly referred to as risk management in insurance and financial circles, received an unemployment rating of zero percent. Still, it was the 150th most popular major. Business management and administration topped the popularity list, in spite of the 6 percent unemployment rate.

The low ranking for the actuarial profession didn't surprise me. I've met, for lack of a better phrase, actual actuaries and there is truth to the joke: How do you tell an introverted actuary from an extroverted actuary? Answer? The extroverted actuary looks at YOUR shoes when he talks to you.

Other majors that assured instant employment included geophysical engineering and astrophysics, according to the article.

"Pick one," I said.

"Dad, I'm 14. Haven't you said that if I work hard enough, I can be whatever I want to be?"

"Yes, as long as it doesn't involve library science or clinical psychology," I said, pointing to the respective 15 and 19.5 percent unemployment rates for those majors. The clinical psychology statistics make no sense. Surely our nation has a demand for experts to counsel recent college grads who spent four years and thousands of dollars preparing for a career in military technologies, only to realize the profession has a 10.9 percent unemployment rating and their first job application may come from Starbucks instead of the State Department.

My daughter grabbed the iPad and began scrolling. "I guess Miscellaneous Fine Arts (16.2 percent) is out?"

"Absolutely. Who is going to hire somebody that walks into an interview and says, 'I'm really good at doing miscellaneous stuff, particularly if it's art-related.'"

"Didn't you want to be an astronomer when you grew up?"

"Yes and I should have gone with my gut. Look here. Zero percent of astronomers are unemployed."

"Where does stand-up comedian fall on this list?" she said, referring to the vocation I have held for the past 22 years.

"Comedians are self-employed. If you choose a career on this list, you'll be working for somebody."

"So maybe I should start my own business. Then we wouldn't be having this conversation."

"Great idea! You could be a self-employed actuary. The best of both worlds!"

"Dad, isn't it a little early for you to be steering me towards a particular career? I mean, mom just had 'The Talk' with me two years ago."

"How did that go?"

"She got most of it right."

"Honey, I just don't want you to major in something that isn't going to bear fruit once you're out of college. You don't want to be like that kid down the street who graduated last year and still can't find a job. What was his major?"

"Medieval history."

"Right. Who's going to hire him? Harry Potter?"

"Here's one with a zero percent unemployment rate. School student counseling."

"Now that's perfect! You'd be good at that. Think how rewarding it would be to give advice to students. What's the first thing you would tell them?"

"When your Dad approaches you with an iPad, run."


Greg Schwem is a stand-up comedian and author of "Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad


Article: Copyright © Tribune Media Services

Humor & Funny Stories - Humor: "My Children Will Become Actuaries | Humor - Greg Schwem"