Quantum Mechanic

Content from 2012-11-15 21:28:49

Reflections on a year of Job-Hunting

posted on 2012-11-15 21:28:49

The past year has been one of unending frustration and despair.  I've had jobs, sometimes even jobs in Physics, which is my favorite kind of job, but even those have paid little, been short-term only, and sometimes been in very unwelcoming environments. I feel a lot of anger and frustration, because I feel like a lot of people misled me.  I don't think they did it on purpose, and I think a lot of it is disconnection with some parts of life both on my part and the parts of others.  I think my professors didn't know what sort of world they were sending me into, and I think they generally assumed either that my classmates and I wouldn't be continuing with Physics, or that we would be going right to graduate school.

I do think many of my classmates jumped off the Physics ship as soon as they got done with college.  But I know I've felt rather lost in the last year, which feels like it has been far longer, with some significant help from my research adviser, Kiko Galvez, in terms of names to talk to and introductions, but by and large, the year feels like a random walk experiment.



Let's think about the degrees of freedom for this random walk:

Where is the available job


Moving is tough.  Trust me, I've done it at least annually for the last five years.  Once you start owning more than a bag of clothes and a computer, it becomes a serious undertaking that eats up days and requires large amounts of truck/storage space to execute.  Even then, it requires lots of planning and labor.

Understandably then, I don't really want to have to do it, and companies don't really want to help me do it because it costs them money, and, well, there's this guy who already lives here and can do the job, so let's hire them.

What is the job called, and do I know that title means "you can do this"?


This is my favorite. I have no idea what I should be typing into job search engines.  Should I be 'technical support staff,' 'assistant researcher,' 'open-rank lecturer,' or maybe a 'wind resource analyst.'

Do I use the right words to describe myself


You used a bunch of words in your job posting that I don't understand.  I'm not a black belt and I don't know what bearing that has on electrical engineering.  I think I'm far more likely than six-sigma.

I've looked these things up now, but they sound too stupid for me to ever consider signing up for a course in them.  Plus, I only need a job for a year or so, until I can get back into grad school.

You can't do Physics with a degree in Physics


I dare you to try. Apparently, what professors meant when they said "you can do anything with a degree in Physics," is "I have no fucking clue what you can do with a career in Physics.  In the realm of research jobs in Physics, I need to be in graduate school, and I wish somebody had told me two years ago so I didn't have to look for a job and a grad school at the same time.

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