10 February 2007

Career Considerations

Have been thinking a lot lately about part-time work, volunteering, internships and my career as a graduate.

I have found a term-time job as a telephone interviewer for market research at Serrula Ltd, a company located in the City, right in the heart of London's CBD and not far away from the characteristic cucumber building (more about that in my next post). They require me to work for at least 3 x 8 hours per week which sounds quite challenging considering my schedule and coursework and stuff. At least, there is not so much stress from the work itself like at CCC and it therefore doesn't drain all my energy.

That settled (and hopefully my last Dinwiddy instalment), my next obstacle is The Summer. As a student in her penultimate year I should definitely gain some relevant work experience in a related field, such as human rights or a development NGO or something like that. And since this is what I want to do not only now but also once I graduate, there is a bit of an urgency for me to get my foot in the door. So what is the problem? My financial constraints don't allow me to work three months for free even if gaining invaluable skills and insights into really interesting fields. I mean, if I wanted to get rich I would not study Anthro or Dev but Economics or something the like but some of the requirements in the job descriptions are just ridiculous!

Take WorldVision for example, they are offering traineeships (that is, for graduates but still I find it illustrates the job situation quite well) to applicants who have spent at least (!) six months (!) in a country of the south or working with a related NGO (!).
Or the summer internship at CARE Austria, where they only consider potential interns who would be willing to work for at least 30 hours per week for at least two months. Of course entirely voluntary, only travel expenses are paid.

So this got me thinking and it seems that it is always the same class of people who work in these areas. As Kostas said, voluntary work is a luxury! Of course preconceptions of class thinking won't stop me trying (à la, I will try to live forever or die in the attempt) what do is within my reach of power but it still is quite frustrating to start from a disadvantaged situation.

And finally, I would like to mention some things from my career chat with Kostas who is currently acting UG tutor for anthro (means he is sth like a FAQ resource and a contact person for academically related problems and references) this term. I pointed out to him that part of my panic might be traced back to a misconception of the british job market system and graduate opportunities and strategies. His opinion is that since there is a low graduate rate in the UK (and I believe the workload of study supports this view), a good degree is what is important (meaning 65% +). Also, not a lot of people pursue a Masters, so if you do that, you are even more distinguished. And since this is SOAS, you probably end up being the elite of the elite of the elite. Or you don't.

So, how does one get a good degree? Let me put it into a simple formula:
Final grade = 2nd year grade + 3rd year grade
2nd year grade = 20 % essays + 80 % end of year exams
3rd year grade = probably same as 2nd year but I don't know how the dissertation is going to be weighed (in English, a dissertation is not limited to a PhD, it is a piece of work in order to obtain a degree). Of course, deductions for late submissions apply in any case.

What does this leave me with? I am writing a couple of applications for paid work in the summer but also my preferred internships in relevant organisations just in case a miracle happens. What I really wanted to do was to Volunteer for the Visayans in the Phil's or walk the Great Wall of China for charity. Let's see. Also I have to think about cheap accomodation for next year. AAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!

3 courageous comments!:

natascha said...

i won't start spreading random statistics, examples or reasons about why graduates from other fields of studies might face as much or even more difficulties finding a job in the relevant field than you. just in case anyone is interested in my colletion of data about unemployment rates concerning graduates feel free to contact me. ;)

natascha said...

oh, another random detail: people would rather study business administration. ;-P

Heidi Jahn said...

if my mum is right, then the thing to do to get a job after graduation is to become a nurse! "Child, why don't you become a nurse instead? It is the job of the future!" - "MUM! Stop it!" *rolling eyes*