Thursday, February 05, 2009

Mid-Career Crisis

Seven years of post-secondary education in English and Philosophy. Where will it really get me? I know I'm good at it, but that doesn't mean I'll get a job at the end. If I do, it may not be the kind of gainful employment necessary to pay off the massive amount of student debt accrued getting that employment.

This is the basic concern of just about every graduate student I know. At least in the Humanities. But what is to be done? Also like the other grad students I know, I have contemplated other career options - I have even gotten as far as coming up with careers I may even be passionate about (though theory and reality don't always match up, like when I first realised that being a prof meant no 9-5 hours). My naivete aside, other problems appear.

A part of me desperately wants to work for Environment Canada or Canada Wildlife Service. I blame my newfound interest in ecocriticism and resurgence of a longstanding infatuation with ecological/wildlife concerns. Sounds fine, except that the logistics of retraining are ridiculous.

I am in debt, so I can't pay for retraining. I'm 26, so being unemployed into my 30's is pretty intimidating. I've delayed entry to the labour force for so long that employers may hesitate to hire me. I've earned 3 degrees so employers may hesitate to hire me. My skills are so applicable to every job that no one asks explicitly for them, thus very few job applications seem to apply. My skills are so applicable that they are simultaneously without specific application, so few job applications seem to apply.

The biggest problem though is that there is no right answer. I am left facing a choice that affects every portion of my life and there is no advice, no epiphany, no knowledge to be had over what I should do and what I shouldn't. I almost went and had my tea leaves read to see if a complete stranger (and possibly grifter) had any insights into my career options that may have eluded me.

I hear the biological clock ticking. It has nothing to do with babies and everything to do with education, money, seniority and retirement packages.


Blogger Bette said...

Ditto. I had an epiphany over the holiday break. I realize now that being a prof is not the only career that would make me happy. I want to be a mother, so as long as I do something that I enjoy--director of a nonprofit org, adult community education, open a sweets shop--I'm fine.

Keep your chin up! You are charismatic and highly intelligent. Somebody somewhere will kill to have you work for them.

9:39 a.m.  

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