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LordCirque
12-25-2010, 10:30 PM
Which just brings me back to the problem of having interests, talents, and passions that don't translate well into the job market unless they ones that are highly competitive and difficult to enter, thus, all the questions I've been asking about various other fields here, figuring out what is and is not a good option for me, and me basically feeling like I'm SOL at this point.

Matryeshka
12-25-2010, 10:51 PM
I can't help you with career advice--I'm a teacher, a profession that's supposed to be "safe", but here I am, surplussed once again.

What you might want to do, and it's something I only did recently, is register with a good temp agency. A good temp agency will give you advice on your resume and they also know better than most who's hiring, who's not, and most importantly, what skills you need. If there's any advice I can give you, it's this: skills count. As college degrees become more common, they matter less, and employers are less impressed with a bachelor's degree, no matter what the field. What employers want is for you to have ready-made skills. A temp agency will help you get those skills. Many will test you on various computer programs, and if you don't pass, the bigger/better ones will offer classes. Then, you can retake the test, pass them, et voila, usable skills that you can put on a resume and legitimately say, yes, I know them, I passed a test. It's also a way for you to see what you might/might not like. For example, I got a temp job at a bank. Even though they ultimately decided they didn't have the budget to hire me and I wasn't the best fit with the atmosphere at that office, I did kind of like the work (loan secretary/underwriting) which is something I *never* would have considered. Even better, I can now put that on a resume and EVEN BETTER, I have a good recommendation from it. Who knows what you might like/might not like, excel at/might not excel at?

I will also say that like others have said, getting a job in a creative field requires you to either be the best of the best, or know someone, or possibly both. At some point in life, most of us have to suck it up and deal and accept that creative outlets have to come in our spare time and is not going to be our career and instead we have to go out and get a job. I want to be a teacher, but hey, I'll probably end up in middle management somewhere. That's OK, I can volunteer and tutor. You can volunteer in amateur theater productions, which granted, is not Cirque de Soleil, but it is a creative and rewarding outlet.

jl
12-26-2010, 12:07 AM
Which just brings me back to the problem of having interests, talents, and passions that don't translate well into the job market unless they ones that are highly competitive and difficult to enter, thus, all the questions I've been asking about various other fields here, figuring out what is and is not a good option for me, and me basically feeling like I'm SOL at this point.

So why can't you just use your base skills to do something that doesn't tie to an interest?

Think about it. How many psychology grads, or arts grads, science grads, etc. end up doing an office job or the like that has no direct substantive bearing on what they did? Lots. The fact is, people's INTERESTS do not always have to tie into what they do as a job. A job is a job. An interest is an interest. Separate the two and find a job that best suits your ability to explore your interest and you will enjoy yourself.

I briefly describe the case of a friend of mine, who has a music performance degree from Indiana, which I've heard isn't top-tier but is still distinguished. She is very talented, one of the best pianists I have heard in person (though I also have a significant bias, but I also have played a fair bit of piano as a hobby). After a year or two in NYC, she then buckled down to get jobs as the reality hit her - talent, and a piece of paper, will not always get you where you think you want to go. So, after a while, she turned to getting a law degree and has found a very good balance. She is now working in child protection law, which can be vexing but to her rewarding. She works 40-50 hours a week, and has the time and resources she wants to go further herself in music to her dreams.

It's a great thing to have the resources and the ability to pursue her hobby, just as my own job allows me to tinker in the kitchen and host fun dinner parties. And I work in a field totally separate from cooking. It helps me have the time and resources necessary to do it when I have the energy and the drive to do it. Additionally, unlike my job, I can then cook for those people I want to cook for. I can't choose that in my job, but then, professional criticism in my job is easier to take because while I work hard, I am not pouring out all of my personality. Simply put, my job doesn't define *me*.

In all reflection, it's a very rare occurrence when one of us is great at something we're super-interested in. It's even rarer when there is the opportunity to get paid well for that skill, because that requires the right timing and luck, no matter how good someone is, not to mention the ability to sustain one's interest and passion in the field enough to keep working. In academia, the above statements almost a prerequisite to getting a position, simply due to the volume of competition. Consider this very carefully before you decide to make a choice, particularly since your economics are, by your words, quite precarious.

Also consider that there are plenty of fields that do not have a glut of viable candidates, which, due to the sheer scarcity of people having the requisite talent in them, will also become increasingly remunerated, economics being what it is. Health services professionals, technicians, engineering (the less commonly sought fields) and the like, are going to have a need for new candidates for at least the next few years. They are all challenging occupations that may not tie to your interests but will still keep you intellectually challenged.

In short, they might be the way to let you earn what you need, in order to do what you want to on the side. And in life, isn't that what's necessary? You're not going to get everything you wanted in the way you want it, but maybe you will get everything you want if you allow them to come in a different manner.

Anita18
12-26-2010, 02:44 AM
So why can't you just use your base skills to do something that doesn't tie to an interest?

......

In short, they might be the way to let you earn what you need, in order to do what you want to on the side. And in life, isn't that what's necessary? You're not going to get everything you wanted in the way you want it, but maybe you will get everything you want if you allow them to come in a different manner.
Great post! I also have to add that you can't bank on any specific skills in order to get a job, but you do have to be able to apply all of your experiences and learn from them. In that case, having varied experiences will make you a richer person, and more viable an employee if you want to think that way. :P You can add some humanity and be able to think outside the box instead of doing things exactly the way you (and everybody else) was trained to do.

I was sitting in on a panel headed by a Oscar-nominated cinematographer, and he was talking about how he started in filmmaking as a news cameraman instead of going to film school like many people did. (He eventually did go to film school, but after he had made the rounds as a seasoned documentary cameraman in his own right.) The style he learned as a news cameraman still influences him today, and he spoke very passionately about how he believed everything you do, even something unrelated to our interests or jobs or whatever, shapes you as a person and can influence your outlook and actions in a positive way.

literaryfreak
12-26-2010, 10:04 PM
Can you find a way to merge your interests with technology, health science, or education, or other fields with a good market and decent salary? At least as a strong back-up. I know you said you don't think of yourself as a math/science person, but almost anything can be combined with computer science and you may enjoy the analytical side of it. For example, my school's computer science dept is offering a course next semester called Information Retrieval - methods of gathering data and how to analyze/classify it - but it's taught by a Classics professor, so there will be mentions of its uses to solve problems in history, linguistics, literature, anthropology, etc. I don't know if this type of research is once again only among academics or if there are even companies that do this stuff, but the point is that knowing how to program is a great skill that and you can apply it to anything. IDK if you're into visual art but web design/graphic design all seem creative to me. I think programming is creative, when you get to make explore/make decisions how you're going to solve a certain problem and design your solution.

Or in the health professions, you could be a dance/art therapist. I don't know anything about them - market or salary - but I've heard the term before.

Prancer
12-26-2010, 11:02 PM
If you're already going to a community college, I would recommend doing either a two-year career degree or a shorter certificate program and then studying whatever you like AFTER you have a job. If your liberal arts major works out, great; you can change jobs. If it doesn't, great; you have a job and employable skills, as Matry mentioned above.

That's what I did. And I think it worked out very well for me. Most of the English majors I went to college with--and I went to college when the economy was a whole lot better than it is now--ended up doing exactly what they had been doing before they were English majors. I didn't end up in that particular situation, but if I had, I would have been okay; I had two associate's degrees, work experience and a weird but viable set of job skills that could be applied in a variety of fields.

More people drop out of college than finish and the most commonly cited reason for dropping out is financial problems. If school doesn't work out for you, what is your Plan B? I think all liberal arts majors should have a Plan B; it is highly likely that you are going to need one. You don't have to love a job to do it.

LordCirque
12-26-2010, 11:02 PM
I've actually thought of taking a CSIS class, just to see what it's like, and that is a very growing and in demand industry right now. The course you mentioned actually sounds like it'd be a lot of fun. I'm not much into web and graphic design, I'm not great at drawing, even on the computer, at all.

I would like to have a job I love. My career is basically going to be my life. I don't have an extremely active social life, nor do I plan on having a family outside of a boyfriend/husband, so I'll have my relationship and my career. I don't want my job to make me hate my life, since that is largely going to be my life. It may not be a practical view but it is how I view my future. I don't disagree with you that I need a Plan B, but I need to find something I am going to enjoy doing.

I'm also looking into taking some math and science classes again too, to see if that is something that MIGHT be viable for me now. I'm much different than I was 7-10 years ago when I last took classes of these natures. I'll be surprised if they turn out to be for me, but you never know. In high school, I had anxiety attacks writing research papers and now I can write them without any problem. I'm going to start from the ground up science wise, take basic bio, chem and physics again when I can, and if they go well, progress from there and see if they continue to go well. I know I'll need a strong Bio an Chem background if I want to study Forensic Anthropology anyway, so I'll go through those as part of the process of figuring out if that is an option, while I continue with my writing.

If anyone is interested, I do have a blog that has my writing on it, http://sw112.wordpress.com. Some of it is better than others, it can all be better obviously, but yeah.

Integrity
12-26-2010, 11:55 PM
I would like to have a job I love. My career is basically going to be my life.

You never know what turns your life will take. At 26 I never would have foreseen the sort of life I'm living now and very different person I have become.

Civic
12-27-2010, 12:18 AM
Which just brings me back to the problem of having interests, talents, and passions that don't translate well into the job market unless they ones that are highly competitive and difficult to enter, thus, all the questions I've been asking about various other fields here, figuring out what is and is not a good option for me, and me basically feeling like I'm SOL at this point.

Have you considered becoming a librarian? It would require that you attend graduate school since a MLS from an accredited program is required for even entry level jobs. But if you enjoy working with people and learning things just for the sake of learning them, then librarianship might be a good fit.

Prancer
12-27-2010, 12:25 AM
I would like to have a job I love. My career is basically going to be my life. I don't have an extremely active social life, nor do I plan on having a family outside of a boyfriend/husband, so I'll have my relationship and my career. I don't want my job to make me hate my life, since that is largely going to be my life. It may not be a practical view but it is how I view my future. I don't disagree with you that I need a Plan B, but I need to find something I am going to enjoy doing.

There is a whole lot of middle ground between a job you love and a job you hate, and you won't know how you feel about a job until you do it for a few years. The most interesting job in the world will get boring once you master it. No matter what you do for money, you have to please the person who signs your check and it is a given that there will be at least some of the job that will not appeal to you at all. There are a whole lot of fantastically good writers who can tell you that it sucks your soul right out of you to write advertising copy or police blotter reports or technical manuals for a living--something they started in because writing was what they loved and they wanted to do what they loved for a living.

Everyone should have a marketable skill. That's just basic survival. If you want to eat, you have to find a way to feed your stomach before you can worry about feeding your soul.

LordCirque
12-27-2010, 12:25 AM
That's not a bad idea actually and one I hadn't actually thought about really but does make logical sense. My only worry about that is what future will libraries play in our society 10, 20, 30 years from now? I don't think they will ever become irrelevant but one has to wonder.

@Prancer, yeah, I agree that no matter what I do, I'm going to have things I don't like about it. I just hope to find something that even the things I don't like, don't make me want to slit my wrists at the end of the day.

overedge
12-27-2010, 12:48 AM
That's not a bad idea actually and one I hadn't actually thought about really but does make logical sense. My only worry about that is what future will libraries play in our society 10, 20, 30 years from now? I don't think they will ever become irrelevant but one has to wonder.


Since libraries have managed to survive in various forms for more than 2000 years, I don't think they are in much danger of going out of business in the next 30 years.

gkelly
12-27-2010, 03:16 AM
I would like to have a job I love. My career is basically going to be my life. I don't have an extremely active social life, nor do I plan on having a family outside of a boyfriend/husband, so I'll have my relationship and my career. I don't want my job to make me hate my life, since that is largely going to be my life. It may not be a practical view but it is how I view my future. I don't disagree with you that I need a Plan B, but I need to find something I am going to enjoy doing.

I don't have an extremely active social life, nor a family of my own (I'm the eccentric maiden aunt), nor a significant other.

That does not mean that my job is my life.

My job is pleasant enough because of the coworkers, steady enough, and quite convenient.

But my life, my passions, aren't how I make money. Call them hobbies. Call them careers that don't pay.

You can have a fulfilling artistic life and also support yourself by finding something you don't hate and can do well enough to generate a steady income -- they don't have to be the same thing.

literaryfreak
12-27-2010, 04:20 AM
My career is basically going to be my life.

This is how I used to think (and still do sometimes, when I'm not careful) with my own field, math. I used to think that getting to study it was all I'd ever need and I'd live happily ever after in research bliss. Fast forward to now and I don't think there's anything in the world that can frustrate me the way math does sometimes. I'm not sure if it's the good kind of frustration or not. :lol: Too much of anything, even things we think are utterly fascinating and seem so satisfying, can be bad. So sometimes it may not be a good decision to do exactly what you love as your job - it can ruin your love for it if you are required to do something 40 hours/week rather than on your own terms. Just one perspective. Realizing it's not prudent to expect your job to be your major source of fulfillment is a hard lesson I had to accept. It can end in disaster all too easily, especially if there will be financial hardships/troubles finding a job. The idea of a completely fulfilling job is such a wonderful romantic ideal, it's hard to let it go.

You could also hunker down in the library and look through some books, to get ideas of whether you like math/science before taking classes. I find upper level ones tend to be more inspiring than the intro ones, personally. For example, I hate introductory physics but it's the foundation for modern physics, areas of which I think are so beautiful (except once again, the competition for these jobs is horrendous!). Personally, I love sitting between the shelves and just poring over books. I usually have to do it with math every so often to remind myself why I study it and what I loved about it in the first place.

kia_4EverOnIce
12-27-2010, 02:02 PM
The main disadvantage of getting an undergraduate degree in comparative lit is this: what are you going to do with it?


If only I had listened to such objections about five years ago!!! I studied classics (undergrad and grad), but when I finished two months ago I was like: and now?
and yet I'm struggling to find my way with that degree. Still, I must say that I really loved what I studied and I wouldn't change it for anything else!


The academic job market can and will get worse, but I hope not dramatically worse.

I think it's the same everywhere in this period: the economic crisis has dramatically reduced funding for academic and student protests have been quite strong also in UK, France and Italy...But on the bright side, it will not last forever! :)