Throughout K-12 education, essay writing has always been at the forefront of English class. They follow a progression whereby your early essays (TOK essays, exemplification and argumentative essays, etc.) are fairly barebones to the essays of high school where they have citations and opinions backed by evidence. Based on the time committed to evolving such a complex skill, the question arises whether essay writing skills are useful beyond the academic sphere. To this, many people would argue essay writing skills are important in many careers, from STEM to humanities. While it is unlikely careers will have you writing essays completely similar to those you wrote in high school, the skills required to synthesize an essay would be beneficial for many occupations.
Though the general statement stands that essay writing skills are important for many careers, their usefulness also depends on the career itself. Take journalists and authors as an example. Since their occupations both revolve around writing, essay writing skills for them and any other related occupations would be invaluable. To demonstrate this further, a career on the other side of the spectrum would be one that either uses little to no writing or practices a different style of writing. At this end of the spectrum, blue-collar, for instance, work would fit the bill. For one, most of their work is done by hand meaning they are not writing synthesis essay outlines, APA or MLA format outlines, memos or lab reports for their colleagues. They may still have to engage in writing, such as for emails or internal company communication, but that is a far cry from essay writing. It must be added that this in no way is meant to disparage blue-collar work as lower than that of white-collar, but that different skills are required. In any case, a clear distinction regarding essay writing skills can be seen between blue and white-collar work.
Another factor that affects how useful essay writing skills are is the type of writing used in an occupation. Depending on the classes you take, you might have interacted with creative writing more than informative or argumentative. The statewide tests also expose you to mainly informative and argumentative writing instead of narrative. The point is, all of these types of writing correlate to different occupations. As a lab technician writing lab reports, narrative writing is unrelated to your style of writing. Instead, informative writing would be more fitting where you simply explain what the lab was using facts and data. In that same sense, creative writers would get more mileage out of narrative writing than informative or argumentative. Based on this reasoning, it is clear that essay writing skills in the workplace cannot be simply divided between blue and white-collar work. Rather, a more nuanced look at the specific style of writing a career uses is more valuable than broad strokes.
Essay writing manifests itself into far greater than the paper you turn in to your professor. The skills that were required to create a story or take evidence and create a logical thought process or explain a topic to the reader are easily applied to all career types. And that is the beauty of our current English curriculum, it shows students all types of writing. While you may be exposed to some more than others, the point is you were at least exposed to it in the first place. Plus, once you get to college you can pick if you want to take creative writing or another type of writing you want to be more exposed to. After all of this, one thing is clear: essay writing skills are utilized in any occupation, some more than others, and should continue to be a focus of English education.