Saturday, 14 June 2014

Looking for Work

I am ideally looking for work in the field of my Dream Career.

I understand, however, that before one gets one’s dream career, one occasionally has to go out and earn money to support oneself in a less-than-desirable career. If you can’t find opportunities in the dream career straightaway, it is recommended that you find the backup career, do that one, and then take steps towards finding the dream career (by moonlighting, perhaps), once you have a bit of financial stability.

Or something.

So, since last summer (end of PhD), I have been hankering after a Job – not the Dream Career yet, but a Job, because I desperately wanted to earn some money after the arid, cash-strapped last months of PhD. A Nice Job, so that it wouldn’t make me want to vomit, and so that I would have my head clear and some spare time available in the evenings for planning the Dream Career on the side. I had a clear idea of the kind of Job I wanted, knew I was pretty much qualified and experienced enough to do it, and I went out and tried to get it.

No luck there. No-one wanted to give me The Nice Job. They always tell me, at the interview or job application stage, that they had another candidate 'with more direct and relevant experience' who was able to 'draw on it in the interview'.

So, for the time being, I did the next best thing: I went for what, for the purposes of differentiating it here from the others, I am going to call the ‘Grotty Job’. (Oxford English Dictionary definition of “Grotty Job”: a job which you do not enjoy and which occasionally makes you cry, but which you do anyway and which you are grateful to have, because it pays you money.)

Incidentally, Grotty Jobs are often easier to find than other types of Jobs, because not many people want to - or feel they are able to - do them. You go for a Nice Job, and you find yourself an unremarkable candidate amidst seventy-odd eager, well-qualified people. Many of whom (especially in the current economic climate) have already HELD a similar Nice Job, and are therefore deemed more experienced and more desirable candidates for this one.

Go for a Grotty Job, however, and you get snapped up immediately, with promises that ‘We can get you work by next week, no problem’. You smile and say thank you, but in your heart you are already wondering if you shouldn’t just do a runner.

So at the moment, I am one geological level below where I wanted to be: I wanted to be settled in a (Nice) Job, and be striving, in my own spare time, for the Dream Career. Instead, I am settled into, and feeling grateful to have, the Grotty Job (through which desperate employers keep offering me more Grotty Jobs, with the only difference being that these are permanent and full-time ones; I say no to these offers, because at least the one truly nice thing about the job I currently do is that it's part-time) – so, I am settled in the Grotty Job, striving for the Nice Job, and in the end I am not even doing a bloody thing about the Dream Career, because just to try and arrange some work experience so I can have a chance at the Nice Job is taking up all my time.*

Something’s not right here.


For your edification, here is a very clever blog post someone else wrote, which tells you how to set about getting out of your Dead-End (aka Grotty) Job.

* 'taking up all my time' - I am of course referring to the time available to me once you disregard the time I spend pottering about in my kitchen, writing blogs, eating biscuits, taking long leisurely walks, etc etc etc - generally, the time I spend PLAYING and Having Fun. (You don't need to feel too sorry for me.)


  1. You are definitely not alone there... Keeping trying to stay positive cloud 9. I know someone who had 18 interviews before they got the job. I remind myself if that if I'm feeling glum

    1. Thanks, Argggggg... It is good to know that everyone has struggled with this, and that I'm not alone!