Welcome To The Bitchery
Welcome To The Bitchery

It's the wee hours of Friday in the US, and who wouldn't want to spend their Friday night thinking about employment for a stranger!

I'm currently in a PhD program for Humanities, in a field that flirts with social sciences (as in, I'll use some statistics and anthropological theory for my dissertation) but not really. I am hoping to write my dissertation and finish my PhD, but feel more and more strongly that in the end, the whole academic career path might not work out for me. Alas, I'm also pretty clueless about the alternatives. So I have questions: What kinds of jobs/positions do you think might be a good fit for me? What is involved (because when I hear "administrative assistant" or "analyst", I don't really know what it means in terms of day-to-day routines)? Importantly, is there something I can do during my dissertation phase (with limited time available!) to make myself more employable, and what aspects of my training could I use both on the job and to market myself?


Here's what I care about/don't care about:

  • learning/teaching and challenging myself. This is the big one. I don't mind routine tasks for part of the day, but doing the same thing day in day out is the fastest way to depression for me. I love research (just not enough to only ever do it) and teaching (but only college students/adults), and am quite good at both. I want my job to be challenging and varied.
  • task-driven work vs clocking in and out. Ties in to the above, but the most miserable I've ever been was in a job where I had nothing to do but had to sit and pretend to work for eight hours a day. I enjoy working hard and pulling long hours, but I want the reward of feeling like I'm working towards a clear end goal, after which I can take a bit of a breather.
  • people. I can take them or leave them, to be honest. I work well in a team, but like to have a fair bit of autonomy. Someone constantly breathing down my neck and trying to do my job for me would not be ideal.
  • improving the world. I could probably work quite happily for any corporation, but in the ideal world, I would feel like my work was improving the lives of others. I'm interested in social justice, reproductive rights, well-rounded/fact-driven media coverage, for example.
  • a salary that is liveable (I currently happily exist on $20,000/year; if I could make double that, I'd be stoked - in short, money is not a huge issue as long as I could afford rent for a studio and food on the table.)
  • location: I prefer big cities, but don't really care which continent I end up on. I also love travelling and meeting people from different places, so something internationally flavoured would be fantastic.

Here's what I'm good at:

  • research
  • teaching
  • writing
  • synthesizing
  • sustained thinking and diligently chiselling away at problems
  • multitasking, but only if none of the tasks requires heavy intellectual lifting (in other words, I can juggle many balls, but when I'm in research mode, I can't hop in and out of it productively)
  • keeping calm
  • getting along with people
  • tolerating and even thriving under pressure (although there are limits to this)
  • languages
  • organizing

Here's what I'm bad at:

  • thinking quickly/on my feet
  • "pitching" or selling things
  • delegating (although I'm getting better at it)
  • children
  • aesthetics/visual arts
  • advanced math (I can do basic/intermediate, as well as basic statistics, but am no whiz)

Thank you in advance, my darling hivemind!

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