One of us is job-hunting after quitting academia and moving to paradise. I have been looking for jobs I want, but I haven’t been finding that many to apply to–I still have enough resources at this point to be able to focus my search on jobs I would like rather than taking any job. I have applied for about 20 things and gotten 1 phone interview and no in-person interviews or offers.
What do I want? I want something sciency and researchy, in the social sciences. I am not a clinician and not a certified CRA. I am not a biologist or pharmacist or engineer and I do not use Hadoop (I could learn if I had to but it doesn’t seem necessary now). I don’t program (other than several standard social science statistics softwares and some dabbling in things like .html etc., but not like C++ kind of programming) and I don’t want to.
I have [#2: excellent] skills in data analysis, writing, editing, literature review, and many things about the research process [#2: I fully vouch for these– she reads every paper of mine before I send it out and she’s helped me a ton when stat-transfer fails me, and more than once she’s saved my rear end doing last second RA work when I was up against a deadline and I found a SNAFU. I’ve also shamelessly stolen a lot of her teaching stuff, but that’s probably irrelevant since she doesn’t want to adjunct or lecture.]! (See the second table below) I can do tons of research.
I am not an extrovert and interacting with people most of the time drains me, but I interact quite successfully in teams and research groups. I’m not interested in being a manager of people in a pure managerial sense, though I can do some and I am experienced supervising teams of research assistants.
Ever since I was a little kid, every “career interest” test I have ever taken has always come out that I should be a professor, and it still does. However, nope nope nope!
I played with this online thing for scientists and it was kinda enlightening. It tells you, among other things, about what your values, skills, and interests are in a career. Here are mine.
First, here are my values of things that are unimportant and important to me in a new career: (for these big tables, click to embiggen). I know this is a lot to ask for, but it represents the ideal.
Second, here are my scientific skills, what I think I am good and bad at:
Third, here are my interests:
The jobs it suggests for me include faculty at a research university (nopenopenope) and the things I am already applying for, such as research manager stuff. I would be happy to manage someone’s lab, although I can’t put up with a job where the ONLY thing I do is make other people’s travel arrangements. I could do quite a good job in something like research administration, if it focused on compliance and not budgets (though I can and will do budgets so long as it isn’t the *only* thing). I am good at teaching but I will never do it ever again. I love collaborating with other scientists but am not crazy about managing people.
I would like to work for a nonprofit or the VA (which keeps failing to hire me over and over). I’m not against working at a for-profit company though, especially if the pay is good and the work is interesting. Program-analyst type stuff seems to be a title I come across a lot for job postings. The site also suggests that I be an epidemiologist (interesting but I’m not trained for it), a clinical diagnostician (not trained for it and don’t want to be), and a teaching faculty (NOPE NOPE NOPE). I would be fine as non-academic staff at a university. I do not do drug testing, nor do I have any wet-lab skills.
You can be sure that my cover letter and resume are shiny, personalized, revised, and proofread by #2 [and, #2 notes, more importantly, the career office at her former grad school went over her resume when she did the change from cv to resume].
I’m not expecting to go in at the highest level, and I don’t really want to. I am definitely willing to work my way up to some extent, but not all the way from the proverbial mailroom. My retirement funds are anemic and if the job is really poorly paid, it might be more profitable to spend that time searching for a better job, rather than being tied to a job that’s both low-paying *and* boring.
Mostly I’ve been applying for jobs that I find on Indeed.com. But I need to expand. And yes, I know I should be networking more (and I swear I am networking!)– this post is part of that effort. ;)
I promise I’m not as much of a special snowflake as I sound like here; I have skills that would really help an employer if only I could convince them of that [and, #2 notes, if she could find more job openings, preferably before they’re advertised…]. Help!
Grumpeteers, what say you? How can I get a job that pays decently and is also suited to my skills, interests, knowledge, and background?