Readings, and Related Inspirations

Career Confusion


The links posted for tomorrow’s guest lecturer aren’t working. And I don’t know about all of you, but I tried and tried to figure out how to access the articles we were to read, but gave up and went for the scotch (not really).

In honor of my inability to access anything class related this week, I have decided to post about how confusing our career path is turning out to be.

I have wanted to get my PhD since I was very small. I didn’t care what it was in – I just knew I wanted one. I’m not even sure how I knew what a PhD was. I grew up in a beach house on stilts (very short stilts, but stilts nonetheless) and the idea of going to college was not much of an option for my parents. My father was a Datsun mechanic (70’s much?) and my mother was a mom, with a short stint as a cashier at a place called Leisure World Market in Seal Beach.

As you can see above – this does not involve some kind of weird theme park. It is in fact a rather upper crust retirement community. If you’re thinking about retiring in the future and have a little dough to blow because you, unlike the rest of us, were not confused about your career, you may want to visit:

Leisure World

But I digress.

I’ve been in college a long time. Once I took a break to wait out the unfairness that is federal college funding (as though the fact that we have funding opportunities at all is unfair), I got a ‘real’ job. I was a secretary for a guy that went to prison for a very long time (totally different story). But I didn’t have to look for that job. The guy I worked for went to church with my parents.

Fast forward to going back to school (which I couldn’t do fast enough) and graduating with my Masters degree. I thought I might look for a job while I awaited all my PhD rejection letters. But what to do….

Where to start…

No idea.

And for some reason – my school didn’t come with any resources on how to get a job with an English degree. Well – there was some laughter at my grandiose idea that I could actually get a job with this qualification. And a couple of people told me I should just get married while I still had my looks. I have a thing for science majors… why not? Because dating the physics department is not all it’s cracked up to be, that’s why not.

I didn’t have access to MLA job postings back then. And it turned out that the jobs available on The Chronicle of Higher Ed website were not for the likes of a Masters degree. Not any more. Check the page out – there’s a link. It may say Masters degree, but they don’t really mean it.

So I thought – I have a secondary ed degree and training… why not be a teacher? Never mind that I can’t really function before 8AM (I really mean 9 – let’s not kid ourselves). Never mind that I’m not really that into children. I decided to go to Alaska. Because there they have some jobs.

Did you know that Anchorage Alaska is a bustling metropolis with really good micro-brews? Did you know that the summers are gorgeous and that the tourism industry is booming? Did you know that you can get paid more than 2wice as a teacher from what you can make in the lower 48?

Did you know that the winters can kill you, or that moose and bears wander rather freely in the city picking through garbage and being kind of aggressive? Did you know that the reason the school systems can’t keep people staffed is because most of their teachers can’t handle the stress of teaching throughout winter with practically no light?

I made that last one up, but I’m pretty sure that I could find some kind of seasonal affective correlation somewhere on the interwebs.

Anyway – even though I got to adventure to Alaska looking for jobs (and make friends with some pretty awesome Ukrainians while I was there), I didn’t actually have to get a job. Thank God for GSU’s good taste in me.

Now I have to worry about what’s going to happen when I have to do it again. Will there again be no guidance from my mentors? Will I again be told I should probably just get married? Will I wonder why I decided to get smarter? Is it so I could be MORE aware of what I don’t have?

I guess the moral of this story is: if I want to get to Leisure World, I’d better learn to play golf. Or… harness the power of my resources here at college and figure it out.

I’m sure glad that Dr. Lopez is coming. And that we had that great localized job search luncheon the other day. I learned a LOT about what I need to be thinking about to make my stay here in the South as fruitful as possible. Peachy.



4 thoughts on “Career Confusion

  1. Hmm I fixed them all this morning after seeing your note and they’re working for me. And the articles mentioned in my post are on the Ulearn site in the usual folder. So… I truly don’t know what’s happening here for you.

  2. I save your blogs for last, Valerie, because they’re just so delightful. I know you’re always good for a chuckle. Although, I do feel this response was highly influenced by massive amounts of caffeine. (Not sugar. I know you don’t eat that.)

    I honestly think there are only a FEW people who are in grad school and actually know what the heck they want, why in the world they are here, and where the hell (yes, I said it) they’re going after they leave. And we hate those few people.

    I was actually told by one of my undergraduate professors that I just wasn’t cut out of grad school, and perhaps I needed to consider other possibilities for my future. I’m glad GSU didn’t talk to him while my application to the MA program was pending.

    Oh, and I should add that the very same professor actually wrote one my recommendation letters for the PhD program and then asked me to be on a conference panel with him at SAMLA this past year. Funny how that works out.

    But as much as we want all these answers to come to us in nice, neat, little packages (kind of like the JIL), this just doesn’t happen. And I think that’s a good thing. If I had to pick a job/career/degree from a list, I probably wouldn’t have been happy. We’re forced to talk to people, attend events, research, discuss, (fail?), and talk to more people… and that gives us a clearer idea of whats out there than any list could.

    Thankfully, we have a wonderful group of Rhet/Comp Faculty here that support this. Quite honestly, they’re a better resources than any article or list I’ve ever come across.

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