Presidential Candidate Says Psych Degree Means Fast Food Job

People take to Twitter to answer Jeb Bush's claim that we work fast food jobs.

Posted Oct 25, 2015

Whether you're on the political left, right, up, down, north, south, middle, or Middle Earth, check your facts. Also, consider who you're demeaning for no good reason.

"Universities ought to have skin in the game," former Florida governor and current presidential candidate Jeb Bush said at a South Carolina town hall meeting Saturday morning. "When a student shows up, they ought to say, 'Hey, that psych major deal, that philosophy major thing, that's great, it's important to have liberal arts … but realize, you're going to be working a Chick-fil-A.'" Psychology and philosophy weren't random examples used to put down all college education because he also bemoaned a shortage of, among other things, information technologists and teachers.

Okay, right after I got my B.A. in psychology, I cooked at Long John Silver's for two months. It seemed like so much longer, but it was only two months. Then I went to work for the Department of Children and Family Services — first as a case manager, then as a child abuse investigator. All of that came before I added the graduate degrees. Two months at Long John Silver's did not amount to something a university should warn me about and certainly was nothing upon which I should have altered my life decisions. It was good experience, actually. I'm glad I did it. If that candidate ever eats fast food, even once a year, he shouldn't belittle the industry's workers. (Maybe he only meant to belittle Chick-Fil-A, but given its top execs' conservative positions, I doubt that.) Regardless, a two-month blue collar job before moving on to white collar was no horror I should have changed my life to avoid.

Before our university website went through several overhauls, I used to keep a list online of more than 800 jobs I knew of people getting with bachelor's degrees in psychology. This motivates to track down that information and recreate that list.

Separate issue: He also appears to be disparaging the value of psychology itself when he makes remarks like "We have huge shortages of electricians, welders, plumbers, information technologists, teachers." It does seem ironic how many people who take such views also try to blame modern problems like gun violence on mental illness. Logically, then, we need to support occupations that might address mental health issues.

Online, people have started answering the candidate's claim by sharing their own experiences. Look for the #ThisPsychMajor hashtag and see what develops. Watch Dr. Ali Mattu's video (embedded here), see some of the responses I've found, and then please, share your own whether good or bad. We do need to know.

@DrS_Reynolds: Hope you enjoy this @JebBush. #ThisPsychMajor …

Please note the title of the Guardian article Dr. Reynolds linked:
"What makes psychology and geography grads the most employable?"

@babyexpert: @AliMattu @JebBush @GUPublicPolicy report says psych grads have relatively low unemployment: 8.8%  #availabilitybias

@ilikecomicstoo: #ThisPsychMajor worked with Latino families to help their children succeed, and now keeps one of the largest online social networks safe!

‏@heyyyjuddd: #ThisPsychMajor is getting an amazing education in psychology and research to help children & hopefully make the world a little less dark.

@JLSkillings: #ThisPsychMajor won't ignore metal health stigma from @JebBush or @TGowdySC.

@babyexpert4u: .@AliMattu @JebBush @GUPublicPolicy's graph (2013) suggests #architecture bachelors face high unemployment rate

See graph: 

@JohnCMohl: #ThisPsychMajor wonders whether there are any I/O psychologists at Chuck-Fil-A and how they feel about the remarks made by @JebBush

@sarahperhaps: #ThisPsychMajor got her PhD by age 28 and can totally analyze why @JebBush disparages people earning an honest wage in the food industry.

@tarasamples: #ThisPsychMajor is teaching, researching and providing therapy to college students and my rural community. #mentalhealth

@jasoneggerman: Hey @JebBush #ThisPsychMajor teaches research methods and stats so people can think critically about how to evaluate bogus claims.

@EllePricee: #ThisPsychMajor is working to reduce suicide among older Veterans. @JebBush Liberal arts creates thinkers, communicators, and good citizens.

@APAGradStudents: #ThisPsychMajor is an appropriate field of study! Health care and science are well served by #psychmajors

@cmhaakenson: #ThisPsychMajor is doing research to elucidate the neural mechanisms of auditory perception.

@IanAGutierrez: #ThisPsychMajor advocates for #paidleave because "family values" means supporting working women, stay-at-home dads, and infant health

@stopENtalk: Jeb really stepped in it picking on psych majors. Someday when he decides to learn impulse control he'll wish he had #ThisPsychMajor around!

@ShakeyWaits: #ThisPsychMajor supervised psych majors who now work @ Intel, H-P, Google, Go Daddy and US Air Force

@BrianNosek: #ThisPsychMajor started a non-profit studying implicit biases  and another to improve science 

@psychoBOBlogy: #thispsychmajor is the first college graduate in his family, started a successful company, and mentors other college students to do the same

@ProgressPilgrim: Hey @JebBush #ThisPsychMajor is a fire department paramedic and a priest, so...

@JohnCMohl: #ThisPsychMajor has students present at professional conferences and get published in journals...and they're still in high school.

@digitaldraco: .@JebBush #ThisPsychMajor is a union member who believes these people deserve our help, not our disgust & derision.

@NicoleMStettler: My fellow students are researching critical issues - how to address suicide, PTSD, MH disparities in marginalized groups... #ThisPsychMajor

@digitaldraco: .@JebBush #ThisPsychMajor helps people w/ significant mental health issues find a way back into the local community from locked facilities.

@NicoleMStettler: My husband went on to work in the online marketing world, a job he loves. #ThisPsychMajor

@JLSkillings: @TGowdySC #thispsychmajor earned a PhD, saved many lives in my job in heart transplant @SpectrumHealth in Michigan, and adopted 4 kids.

@MandyJensenDoss: @JebBush, #thispsychmajor works to make mental health services for children better.

@Yume_Kai: #ThisPsychMajor helps young adults who have been bullied their entire lives to find some confidence to be better citizens.

@NhuAn: This non-psych major uses psych research to help kids grow smarter, stronger & kinder. #ThisPsychMajor #SesameStreet

@NerdRage42: Hey @JebBush #ThisPsychMajor... Support the jobs/educations that support others.

@LewisChuang: #thispsychmajor has supervised engineering, computer science, biology, and cognitive science majors in their PhDs.

@meretravelteach: #ThisPsychMajor Is a National Board certified teacher with 3 different certificates, a masters degree, and 15 years educating young minds.

@DrCesarGonzalez: #ThisPsychMajor saves lives, teaches hlth providers, plays a role in public/pop. hlth & doesn't demean others 4 what work they do @JebBush

@schoolsyke: #thispsychmajor makes a difference in kids lives by influencing the academic and social skills they need to be successful after school

@emilyphd: #ThisPsychMajor knows there's nothing wrong with #servicejobs. I had opportunities to choose a #differentnotbetter path.

@Superherologist: #thispsychmajor was a child abuse investigator before grad school and a professor afterward. And now knows Batman. 

@jasoneggerman: Hey @JebBush #ThisPsychMajor teaches research methods and stats so people can think critically about how to evaluate bogus claims.

@AliMattu: "Here's to the psych majors. Go do something. Be someone. Change the world." - @heyyyjuddd #ThisPsychMajor

Check the facts. Check the lives involved. If he meant those remarks in any other way, he should have spoken more carefully when those words can reach impressionable students prone to thinking he means what he says.

Tweet me a "hello": @Superherologist.

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