When a college student with a fresh new diploma in hand seeks to find work that will sustain life, the reality is that career paths may veer off into directions that were never expected. A social science graduate may find a career in the military. A sociology major who specialized in the social aspects of military matters might find a role in a civilian corporation that has nothing to do with the armed forces.
But the discipline of thought, greuling process of learning how to think objectively and quantitatively, and body of knowledge of a social sciences graduate are priceless tools for the unrelated workplace. In observing the political, social, environmental, economic, and other aspects of a place of employment, the social scientist is well suited to making objective and quantative progress toward everything from supervision and management to improving productivity and work processes.
In supervision and management, the trained mind will look for social norms, values, rules, and codes that pertain to the particular workplace, and figure out ways to understand them and to work well either to fit in or to foster positive change through small group social engineering processes. If the social scientist is promoted to a supervisory role, a host of understandings will help to eliminating bias in observing and evaluating human behavior, in determining appropriate punishment and reward, and dealing with conflict resolution, leadership, internal and external law, codes and policies.
Social scientists understand what appears to be impossible complexity in interactions, roles, variables and the relationships between variables. Good understanding of having strong internal and external validity in determining cause and effect goes a long way to finding out how to correct or to prevent problems, accidents, and failures.
Social scientists have strong understanding about program design, development and implementation, and are very effective and well controlled at providing innovation while reducing risk. Their knowledge of statistics and how they work is also priceless in an era where large database quantitative analysis calls for more than computer skills: someone actually has to make sense of the analysis and presentations.
From organizational behavior to office bullies; from complex production processes to complex economic products and tools; the social scientist is prepared for work in any field that affects humans and societies or is affected by humans and societies. And if the social scientist is not a people person, straight analytical work offers many options for working in an unrelated field while using what has been learned in college and graduate school.