I have been scared of job hunting since, well, forever, which may have subconsciously contributed to my decision to enter graduate school in the first place. But hey, self, it’s put on your big girl panties and get shit done!
And here, I am, getting shit done. Step 1: Consult all the resources available through Graduate Career Services:
The career counselor–in addition to commenting on my high degree of anxiety–suggested that I read So what are you going to do with that?, a book about finding careers outside of academia (or “academe” as the authors call it). Since I already made the decision to leave the Ivory Tower long ago, it is a great confirmation of what I’ve already been thinking: grad school is terrific…if you have the drive and passion for it. (I do not.) It also offers some good advice on how to look for jobs, the job search process, and building networks through connections. I highly recommend it to doubting grad students, especially since there is not very much support for grad students who want to leave academia.
One reason that graduate school appealed to me so much was the need to have my work vetted and validated by experts. I love getting back my work with a big shiny A or A+ on it! This is partially why the job hunt is scary. There really is no grading of one’s cover letter and resume, other than if it gets you the job. This is intimidating, but again, not something that I can let deter me.
I also have a strong inclination towards procedure and rule-following. In my mind, there should be a one-to-one correlation between what you study and what you end up doing. For examples, 100% of accredited doctors graduated from medical school, and that is fine and dandy with me! However, my dad likes to remind me often that he knows hardly anyone who ended up in a job that was related to his/her major. And I’m sure you, dearest gainfully employed readers, can confirm this, right?
So one of my biggest hurdles now is figuring out what skills and interests I have developed in the past four and a half years and how they will transfer to careers outside of my majors. As the book repeats again and again, my major will actually have little bearing on my job prospects; my skillset and interests will.
Many people have told me that finding a job is all about who you know, not what you know. This is a delightful glimmer of hope because if I am good at one thing, it is getting to know people and making them my friends. It is time for me to meet some people and ask lots of questions.
So here, I go. I can’t put this job search off any longer (and I made Fiancé-friend promise to keep me from enrolling in any more school). I am excited, so let’s see how it goes.
P.S. Thanks for all of your support on my last post. I’m really glad to hear that many of you can identify with my vain-but-not-disordered worries, though I am sad that so many women are plagued by weight and food issues.