I was at a conference a week ago and I met this woman who works as a policymaker for the Commonwealth Secretariat. In our conversation my lack of post-graduation plans came up. She seemed intrigued and excited by my research, something I’ve frankly learned not to expect from people who work in politics (or maybe it’s just graduate students who study politics…I don’t think they like anthropologists very much for some reason.) I gently mentioned that I was afraid people won’t take me seriously when I graduate given the subject I study (Egyptian dance and globalization for those among you who do not follow this blog regularly). She told me, basically, that the kinds of skills I have as an academic should be transferrable to a number of different professions and that employers don’t care so much about your subject matter as they do about skills like (in her case) report writing, networking, and policy analysis. My careers service advisors have been telling me this for years, but it’s easier to believe coming from somebody who works in the job market! She also encouraged me to think in a concrete way about the skills I have in order to be confident in them when I am ready to start searching for jobs.
So I did do this, but then I started thinking about the kind of job I would like to have. What would make me a happy worker, rather than a highly skilled but unhappy one? Here’s my list:
1) Writing. I love doing it and I am good at it.
3) Flexible working hours. I work much better when I can set my own schedule.
4) A stumulating work environment with the ability to do more than one type of task or work with more than one group of people. This one and 3 sort of go together–I won’t need this if I can have flexible hours, but if I have to show up for a 9-5 workday, then I don’t want to be tied to the same desk the whole time.
5) a reasonable salary (measured by my ability to afford living on my own) and health benefits.
So those are the things that I want. I’ve been trying to think of jobs that would fit that description, and so far I’ve come up with:
1) becoming the next Bill Bryson-style travel writer.
2) speech writing for the President.
3) museum curator (?)
Clearly this list is not long enough. If you can think of any careers that would match my (relatively modest) demands, I would love to hear them. Especially the wacky ones, because somebody’s got to do it.