Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rejoining the living

I think the experience of completing that massive deadline date on Friday sent my poor overtaxed brain into a zombie-like state.  I haven't been able to do fuck-all for work since Friday; I spent measurable hours this weekend screwing around on the internet like a cubicle drone whose boss is out.  Perhaps I should deal with that.

But in fact, there's more pressing stuff to deal with.  Today begins the spring semester, and as of this writing, there is no funding forthcoming for Prof. Koshary.  I don't see any point in sitting around, hopefully waiting for a call from our coordinator that something came up, so I've taken to the first refuge of the desperate (read: Craigslist) to find some kind of non-academic work.  If I can score health benefits, that would be awesome, but at least I'd like to earn enough cash to cover the cost of an individual plan, and maybe sock away a little so that I won't be thrown out of my apartment in June.

I must admit that I barely know what normal-world resumes look like by now, although I have some old ones from my pre-grad school days that I have continued to tweak as needed.  Do employers want to know about my publications?  Probably not.  Do they need the full list of languages I read?  Eh, depends on the gig.  Service work?  Not a chance.

More seriously, I barely know what the hell I'm qualified to do, and that I could reasonably get.  DOU is a huge public university that, in many ways, dominates the town.  One side effect of this is that there's a pretty constant supply of recent BAs, MAs, and even PhDs who need to put food on their tables, and have essentially the same sets of skills.  It chills the blood to see that, in the eyes of those who don't stalk the halls of academia, English majors, an MA in sociology and a prize-winning philosophy PhD are all variations of the theme of potential "office drone."  My jaw drops when I calculate how many people in town could probably do the same jobs just as well as I could; I believe that I actually have better odds of landing a tenure-track job in my field.  Jesus fuck.

In my life before grad studies, I worked in law offices as support staff of one sort or other, so I'm looking at those.  But I have to think that they'll be curiously unsympathetic toward that bizarre years-long gap in my employment history.  Actually, 'gap' isn't really the word, since I haven't held a non-academic professional job in...er, let's call it a bloody long time.  (I'm assuming that my years of teaching as a grad student get me nowhere outside an educational setting.)  There's a publishing job or two out there, which is actually more in line with academic work, but again, I'm hardly the only smart young thing in town who could handle the work.

So, as I comb the want ads, does anyone who has been in a similar position have any good advice for me?  What fields should I be looking at that I may have ignored unfairly?

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