On the evening of Thursday, May 5, the English department hosted an opportunity to bring together the Loras English community from all walks of life: professors, students and alumni alike. The English Careers Dinner is hosted by the Literature Society and the English faculty annually in the spring. This year’s dinner took place at Lina’s Thai Bistro, beginning at 6 p.m. The guest of honor was program alumni Lauren Milam, who currently works as a Benefits Service Representative for insurance at Cottingham & Butler here in Dubuque. As a surprising career for an English major, her story goes to show the wide variety of jobs that are open to those who choose to major in English and the humanities.
Milam spoke about the path her life has taken and how it was so different than what she planned while earning her undergraduate degree. She began with a goal of becoming a teacher, but Milam realized after some time working in this field that she wanted to explore a new path. Subsequently, she worked at the Dubuque Arts Center as an events coordinator, a customer service representative at Prudential Financial, and an account manager at Kendall Hunt Publishers, all before arriving in the position she holds now at Cottingham & Butler.
The guest of honor credited the numerous mentors for some of the wisdom that she has received throughout her life. Through both their advice and her personal experiences, Milam learned about how important it is to be challenged in one’s line of work. She talked about the process of trial and error, and how it is important not to get too discouraged when entering and leaving various positions while attempting to find the right fit.
Some career experts now say that the ideal time length to spend in one job is approximately two years. Career coaches say that your likelihood for a raise could increase by 15 to 20% if you switch positions this often. The length of time spent working one job is much lower than it was in decades past. Advocates for this two year number say that it keeps things fresh and people motivated when they switch jobs this often. It creates a circulating pool of people and ideas that bring in a wider perspective to a company.
Milam concluded her story with encouragement to her English major audience to not limit themselves in their career choices. She said that things work out how they do for a reason and to not be afraid of veering off their intended path.