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Author Topic: Finding resources, information for changing careers.  (Read 29450 times)
greenleaf
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Posts: 41


« on: February 12, 2012, 11:13:10 PM »

I have been teaching part time for 10 years now. The past 6 years I have been applying and interviewing for tenure track positions in visual arts. I have been a finalist around 25 times now. I can't be sure, but I suspect I finished my graduate degree and started applying at an age that was too old to get hired. (mid - 40s) I was a successful professional in my field for 17 years before I went back and finished my graduate degree. I find myself primarily working for full time faculty who went to college and within a few short years were hired for TT jobs without ever having supported themselves by working in their field. They often want to hire their friends for the available adjunct positions and I never feel that I have any security, regardless of how hard I work or how good my teaching is. The years of experience I have seem to be considered worthless in the academic world. I'm going through this season of interviews again and focusing on presenting the value I can bring to the colleges. But the odds are high, and I've decided continuing the part-time teaching is not a prospect I relish. If I am not able to secure a job this year I want to find a new direction.

But how? Where can I get solid info on potential new directions, training, etc.
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womanofproperty
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Posts: 917


« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 12:07:53 PM »

OP, unfortunately there's no magic bullet or money-back guaranteed blueprint for this. However, searching for earlier threads on this topic should provide some information - you might want to look at the nonacademic job searches/experiences thread.

I was a successful professional in my field for 17 years before I went back and finished my graduate degree.

Is there some reason you can't pursue your earlier career?
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zharkov
or, the modern Prometheus.
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 8:45:39 PM »


By finalist, if you mean you have been selected for interviews 25 times, then you need to work on your interviewing skills.

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__________
Zharkov's Razor:
Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
greenleaf
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 9:27:05 PM »

OP, unfortunately there's no magic bullet or money-back guaranteed blueprint for this. However, searching for earlier threads on this topic should provide some information - you might want to look at the nonacademic job searches/experiences thread.

I was a successful professional in my field for 17 years before I went back and finished my graduate degree.

Is there some reason you can't pursue your earlier career?

Yes, my former career is something that no longer exists in any easily resumable or more importantly profitable form.

I've looked at the current thread in this section on nonacademic job searches/experiences. I'll try some additional searching.

Looking for help assessing aptitudes, skills, surveying potential fields of work that are likely to grow, skills and services likely to be in demand, how to repackage my skills and learn new ones, that sort of thing.
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yumyumdonuts
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Posts: 89


« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 10:22:14 PM »

Eventually someone on these forums will mention the parachute book, which I've read during the late stages of my PhD and found to be entirely unhelpful.

I'm now reading a couple of career books, one of which reads like a collection of Chinese fortune cookie messages (e.g., "Follow your threads of destiny to fulfill your life goals.") and the other which basically tells you that you won't know what you're good at until you actually try out the job. The latter is pitched to mid-manager/executive level types and leaves out the part about how people lower on the totem pole will actually convince employers to allow them to try out a job if they don't have the experiences relevant to the job.

Anyhow, any self-report inventory touted to aid those in career transition only mirror back what the person already knows about him/herself, skills, and preferences for work environments, so I wouldn't put any money into those.
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zharkov
or, the modern Prometheus.
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 9,567


« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 11:08:56 PM »

Eventually someone on these forums will mention the parachute book, which I've read during the late stages of my PhD and found to be entirely unhelpful.

That would be me. :)

What Color is Your Parachute is basically for career changers, and was originally an outgrowth of the (late) author's work with Episcopalian priests who were looking for new careers.  It is also critical to work through the exercises in the book, not just skim through it.  But naturally, there is no "one size fits all" about this stuff.
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__________
Zharkov's Razor:
Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
farm_boy
Professor Demeritus
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 1,974

recalcitrant and trollish loser


WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 8:05:51 PM »

Sometimes when I'm bored I'll click on the internet ad for "thousands of green jobs now!".  I type in my state and the results are "zero jobs available."
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Screw you... You're not a troll. You're just posting pathetic jerkish, troll-wannabe, crap.  (mystictechgal, Member-Moderator)
outatsea
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2012, 8:07:52 PM »

Greenleaf, sounds like we are in the same field.  Unfortunately, yes there does seem to be a timeline as to when you become "unmarketable".  (can't think of a better descriptor there.)  I do have some friends who finished their degrees later in life and landed tt jobs in the visual arts, so it is not impossible.   When you say finalist, did you do a campus visit? 
Sorry I can't provide info to your actual question about pursuing new directions :/ 
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asst_prof
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Posts: 6

Looking for a way out


« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2012, 9:11:37 PM »

I am currently doing the exercises on the "What Color is Your Parachute?" book.  I don't think it is completely unhelpful.  I am trying my best not to try to get the answers I want.  You have to be very honest with yourself for the inventory exercise to work and help.

Here are some other web sites I have stumbled upon:

http://versatilephd.com/
http://www.careereducation.columbia.edu/resources/library/cce-resources/tipsheets
http://www.escapetheivorytower.com/
http://phdcareerclinic.com/
http://www.phds.org/jobs/nonacademic-careers/
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greenleaf
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Posts: 41


« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2012, 2:43:03 AM »

Yes, outatsea, phone or skype interviews and then campus visits/interviews. 9 phone interviews and 5 campus visits so far this year, trying to stay positive and remain hopeful. Always room to improve interview skills, but I seem to generate positive responses in interviews, presentations and teaching demos. A ridiculously competitive field. One position I just interviewed for had over 400 applicants.

I did read through what color is your parachute, but between teaching and preparing for campus visits/teaching demos I wasn't able to focus that intently on the exercises, not enough to get their potential benefits I think. Thanks for the links asst_prof.
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frog111
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 11:38:23 AM »

With the heightened interest in cutting the federal budget, I hesitate to suggest it, but consider the federal government, especially if your field is STEM related.  There is considerable diversity in federal labs, with some heavily focused on academic style research, while others are more application oriented.  Even outside STEM, there are research opportunities, but on a more limited scale. 

Unfortunately, I know of no convenient guide to federal employment, especially on the research side. 

I am a research scientist for a federal agency, and appreciate the research flexibility that I am afforded. 
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greenleaf
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Posts: 41


« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2012, 4:30:47 PM »

I'm a fine artist and former illustrator, currently teaching studio art courses. Government research is unlikely to be in my future. I worked for the forest service in the summer while in college. Really enjoyed that and wouldn't mind finding a way to resume that. But I'm not a scientist. Have applied for several Interpretive jobs which my skills would be great for, have gotten the response that I was qualified, but not the most qualified and not moved on to the next level. Have not continued due to the current "starve the beast" politics and thinking returning veterans en mass may be making it impossible to get past those prioritizations.
At this point just got back from several campus visits/interviews that went well, (well enough to overcome age bias?) and waiting for word on 3 - 4 that I could be still in the running for. One, probably my best shot, won't make a decision for a couple of weeks, 2 should be offering the job to their first choice in the next week or so and one has yet to do campus visits. 2 are in parts of the country that would be a huge change, but one I am willing to make at this point. If I don't get hired at one I think this may be it for the teaching phase of my life. I'm going into debt trying to survive on adjunct work and feeling worthless about it. It's no way to live. Hoping to either get hired or move on to something more fulfilling and sustainable. But what?
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snowbound
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Posts: 1,124


« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2012, 6:02:24 PM »

25 campus visits, five in the current hiring season!!  To be very frank, Greenleaf, this suggests that you are fabulously good on paper and fabulously bad in person.  The average number of candidates that a SC will bring in for a position is three, so on average you might expect to have had about 8 offers out of those 25 campus visits. Maybe it's just an extraordinarily long run of bad luck with no common factor, but I'm betting there is A Problem. And it can't simply be your age.  Mid-40s with a bunch of relevant work experience before getting terminal degree would not make you seem too old.

Do you have any good friends in academia? Maybe they or someone you work with could tell you if there is anything about you that might be putting people off.  Beg them to be absolutely ruthlessly honest with you (something that most people are very reluctant to do, for fear of offending).  Is there a colleague you can run your presentation past? Do you know anyone who works at any of the places you were a finalist for? If so, they could ask around and find out if there is something that keeps putting you out of the running.

Do this before you give up on an academic career.  You may be able to solve it  And if there is A Problem, it may well follow you into your next career.
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greenleaf
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Posts: 41


« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2012, 7:33:59 PM »

Thanks for replying snowbound. Probably good advice, even if used in searching for jobs outside of academia. I was geographically limited by a marriage the first 3 years I was applying. I applied for 4 community college jobs, first round face to face interviews for all and asked back for a second interview for 3 of them. I don't know, but I don't think the faculty committees would have asked me back for the second interview with the administrators if there was something so horribly appalling about my personal presentation or interviewing skills. By the time I started applying more broadly I was 48. The times I've had people I know on search committees they've said I conducted myself very well and been disappointed they couldn't hire me, and in one case told me I should set my sights higher than their college. I can't say if they were being honest or trying to be kind. I've bombed a couple, but most have seemed to go well. I'm sure I could interview better, and it's possible that could have or will make the difference in such a competitive field, but it's hard for me to believe that at age 54, age is not a factor.
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snowbound
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Posts: 1,124


« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2012, 8:59:55 AM »

Yeah, mid 50s is harder than mid 40s, though many on these fora will deny it.  Either your CV doesn't reveal your age (possible since you got your terminal degree fairly recently) or SCs are not concerned about age. It's the final in-person interview that's tripping you up, which (if you really are not shooting yourself in the foot in some other way) may well be because they are put off by your age.  Age discrimination is illegal, of course, and I believe most academics would not consciously decide not to hire some simply because of age.  However, in many subtle ways, being substantially older than ones competitors does work against one.  All else being equal, it makes the person seem less exciting, less vibrant, less promising, less forward-looking, less innovative, less impressive.

Do you look 54 or older?  Could you pass for a youngish retiree? If so, are there things you can do to make you look younger?  I'm not talking about anything ridiculous like aping a 22-year-old--just the sort of thing that many women who are at all appearance-conscious do all the time. Ask your hairdresser about getting rid of the gray, and getting a haircut that doesn't mark your age so much.  Get a fashion-conscious friend to give you advice on clothes, with the emphasis on things that don't age you.  Anything that makes you look slimmer will help too, as extra weight makes a person of your age look older.  All this adapting of appearance is easier to do if you are female, of course.   
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