Oh Great Dark Lady of Snark Whose Chic High-Heeled Footsteps Shake the Very Foundations of the World;
Your Snarkishness, I
'm near finishing a B.A. in English and I really feel that I've had it up to my aureola with writing interminable essays and dry research papers. My hope is to someday work in the book business (agenting, editing etc... I don't care, I love books and want to work in making them happen).
I've read somewhere that you don't need more than a B.A to make it in the field. On the other hand, my dear mother is applying quite a lot of pressure to make me move on to a Master's degree immediately after I'm done with the B.A. She is adamant that nowadays, a B.A. will at best get me a job as the assistant to the secretary's secretary. I've always done as she told me (I mean...she's the one who pays for it all after all...) but just the thought of writing a 40+ page thesis makes me want to rip off my feathery white wings and join the pot-smoker behind my metro station...
Is she right? Should I go on to a Master's? Or will it hinder more than help me? Will I be stuck in the lower echelons if I don't? Or will I stand a chance to hope to reach the top (perhaps as high as the great and powerful Miss Snark?)?
I bow to your superior knowledge and am humbled in the light of your flaming hair,
Far be it from me to tell your dear mother she's all wet, but hand her a towel and say "Miss Snark says hello".
The point you're missing is that you don't have to get an MA directly after your undergraduate work. In fact, you'd be very very very smart to get a couple years of experience, then decide about your masters.
You're going to start out in the mailroom (or job equivalent) no matter how much education you have.
Some publishers will pay for employee's education as well, and there are publishing certificate programs at NYU and Pace that are pretty valuable without costing what an actual Masters does.
Short answer: get a job.