11 August 2008

and so it begins

Today was day one of my job search. Although the uncertainty of the process makes me very nervous, I have been looking forward to this stage for a long time. I am more than ready to take a break from academia, if not to leave it entirely. I may one day return to do a PhD, or to do some specialized course of some kind. For now, however, the time is right to leave my comfort zone of books and journals and chapters and papers and pulling my hair out and feeling guilty if not working on my thesis... yes, the time is clearly right.

I have one remaining task before the completion of my MA, which is defending my thesis. Brian and I have our defenses on the same day (kindly synchronized by my supervisor/program director, who did so to let us "party together afterwards). So, after August 28th, if my defense is successful, I will really and truly be finished this program.

My backup plan is to take a French course. In Quebec, there are courses available that are heavily subsidized, and cost only $40 for a full-time, two month program. That seems to be a reasonable option.

And though I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this, I've just completed the very helpful and relevant job hunting guide What Colour is Your Parachute? I don't know why admitting this makes me so sheepish, as it is actually a really good book. Maybe I'm judging the book by the terrible clip art on its cover? Anyways, in addition to its search strategies, the book provides a handful of exercises that help you really sort through your passions, skills, and desires, as well as urging you to figure out what you do not want to do.

A while ago, I mentioned on here that I had an interview for a makeup artist position. The interview went really well; the employer seemed great, and I was asked back for a second interview. Actually going for the interview and checking out a career that I'd always considered pursuing was really instructive because I realized through the process that I did not want the job. I decided this for a variety of reasons, and now prefer to keep makeup artistry as a sideline job.

If I hadn't actually gone for the interview as a way of gathering information, I would have always wistfully regretted giving up some secret dream to be a makeup artist. Now I know for certain that it is not the career for me, at least not in the salon capacity.

So that's a start, right?

From this point on, I am putting all inhibitions aside and applying for anything that seems like it might be interesting. My rough areas of interest are: writing (journalism, copy writing/editing etc); marketing and/or communication; international development & social justice; art & design (photography, layout, digital art, freelance art of any kind); performance (occasional paid gigs as a singer in any capacity besides jumping out of birthday cakes at bachelor parties — I already turned down those types of offers when I was 17*); event planning.

That being said, those realms are just a starting point. At this point, I am open to any possibility within reason. If any of you employed people (I revere and envy you all) have any advice to offer about the job hunt process, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it!

*I may even take up my former job as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. Squeezing into satin dresses and whispering songs wouldn't be that hard to get back into. Or would it? Oh god, am I really willing to go there?


Jess said...

I've heard really good things about that book, and it's funny that you mention the cover, because it was used as a 'what not to do' cover design at the book publishing workshop I was at last month! The terrible cover does the book no justice, they told us. I've yet to see it, but I'm sure it's glorious.

If Fernwood had some extra cash flow, I'd hire to to do just about everything you listed there. Except maybe the performance. Unless you'd be into entertaining us at lunch? I kid, I kid.

Good luck with the job hunt. I'm no expert, but it seems to me that you're on the right track, figuring out what you don't want to do as well as what you want to do. My only bit of advice is if you come across any career-selecting services (through Concordia maybe?), do them. Matt went and met with a career counsellor through the U of Winnipeg and said it was the best decision he's made.

Break a leg!

Emmett said...

fyi, you'll rock the thesis defense,

Christopher Crighton said...


A lot of people never think to check the UN for job postings but there are always lots available. Granted, many of them are specifically to engineers or doctors but there are still enough in other fields that you could find some avenues to pursue.

Good luck!