They say, in all those job-getting advice books, that networking is the key, and that most people find jobs through their "weak connections." I've been telling everyone for about a month now that a) I am in need of some sort of work and b) I am trying to move out of academia, and I'm actually seeing results of this tactic, with one major drawback.
First off, I will point out how extremely difficult it is for me to admit to having troubles or tell people I need help. So I am doing surprisingly well in telling people that I am in job difficulties and admitting that I am leaving academia. And friends and work colleagues are now talking to me about it and passing along little leads or articles and helping me out in all sorts of wonderful ways. But.
While I'm actually getting a lot of leads and offers, they are strictly of the temp/part time/an hour here an hour there variety. Like, go research this and do a lot of photocopying for a professor for two days, or here's someone who wants private tutoring once a week, or here's my contacts for doing editorial work for that journal when I move. And I am highly appreciative of all this help, but it is not going to get me into a full-time job.
Part of that is because my "weak network" consists of grad students and retired people who are working part time. And if I was still a grad student needing just to eke out my ta stipend, this would be just fine. But none of these things are permanent or offering very much in the way of hours, and I wonder if I take them all on I won't have time or energy to do an actual job search.
Of course, on the other hand, I'm not really getting interest in my permanent-position apps, so soon I really will be needing these types of jobs to make rent and whatnot. Well, right now I'm about to have some spare time, so I should just suck it up and try to translate as many of these into actual paying gigs as I can right now, and I can cut back later.
Another suggestion someone made to me was to try the temp agencies, so that I would have more recent administrative/clerical experience on my resume and could that might make it look more impressive when I send it out to admin/staff type jobs. And they also might be able to give useful advice about my resume and cover letter. While that may be good advice, a) I loathe the idea of meeting new people and interviewing with them and working new jobs every few days and b) I work every weekday, but part time, at my biggest part time job. So I don't know if I have the flexibility to go for that right now ---- I don't think they'd be interested in someone who could only work mornings. But they might.
Would having some more recent secretarial-type work make my resume look better? I don't know.
And another thing: I hate salary qualifications. I won't apply to anything that demands to know what my current salary is --- why should I have to embarrass myself putting down my minimum-wage jobs on your application? Why should I admit to my hourly rates and thus have you take that as the basis for this new job's wages? I don't want to lowball myself like that. And I also hate positions that don't at least give a salary range in their ad. The same ad usually does both, too. Bleah. Some of the positions are scandalously low-paid, too, like a couple for a private school in SF that were paying barely 19k for full-time work. That's not really livable in downtown SF, people. And I wouldn't have known that from the ad --- I had to poke around on other web sites first.
Let's see, what are some of the interesting postings I've found so far? Besides a call for someone to catalog and manage the Greatful Dead papers at SC, UCLA had a posting for costume shop manager for their theater and film department. How fun would that be! Of course, I have none of the proper degrees or qualifications or abilities (like being able to operate an industrial sewing machine), but it just sounds cool. I don't even picture it in terms of work, just someone standing in a costume-filled room, wearing a tiara, maybe, and saying, "dude, I'm surrounded by all these cool clothes!" Probably it's not that easy of a job, heh.
There are lots of science and medical-school type administration jobs open right now, almost all of which require a BS or medical billing experience I don' t have. And the listings are surprisingly sparse in the entry-level arena ---- The Elf Queen kinda snorted when I mentioned this and said, "yeah, they downsized all the lower-level positions in order to save their own hides during the budget cuts!" which kinda sucks for me. Now all those downsizers appear to have decamped for greener pastures, and their positions are being advertised not the opening ones, which makes it extra hard for me to break in to another field, as the Elf Queen admitted.
She agreed with me that I'm not really competitive for any positions where I'd be managing a team, as I don't have that kind of management experience, and she helped me decode the I, II, III type classifications for postings --- I was right in guessing, by salary range, where I might be able to break in or not. Likewise, all those "five years demonstrated experience" lines that want grant or fundraising or management experience kinda cut me out, so we had trouble finding jobs on the lists that I could realistically apply to, as opposed to just apply to. And she had much more advice, although some of it I had already heard.
Sigh. I don't want the old advice or info I can glean for myself off the web. I don't want to go through the work of actually applying for a job; I just want someone to hand it to me --- that's why I've been telling people everywhere, so that I can get some sort of connection or deal that will just magically land me in a job without all the tedium and hard work and scary talking to strangers stuff. I just want to magically be employed.
Preferably somewhere I can wear a tiara.