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Cover letters. Applying to jobs. Every other day.

Are cover letters necessary? Couldn’t one just forward a CV? Well, in my case, I feel the need to explain why I’m still competent even though I’ve been stuyding for a PhD.

Yes, even though the PhD. It seems as if a doctoral degree is like krypton to commercial employers. I’m beginning to think I should leave it off. It seems weird that 10 years of media/corporate editing experience at some pretty good firms counts for nothing in the face of the stupidity of pursuing a research project for a little less than 3 years. Now I know what those mothers who took breaks to look after the kids feel like. Except, ironically, I never took a break to look after the kids. I never even took a break from commercial work, I kept freelancing throughout. But I guess the fact that I got accepted into a programme for abstract thinkers that very few people get accepted to makes me untouchable now?

And why do I want to go commercial again? Well, because academia will qualify you but not employ you. That is, all the jobs want teaching experience even though you just got your qualifications. It seem impossible to get even a part-time teaching job (which by the way pays less than my PhD stipend) without teaching experience. That old chicken and egg thing. The way around this is to know someone. Basically, many positions aren’t advertised, and when they are, it’s a formality and they already have someone in mind. Yet, the ad makes the poor sods out there who don’t know enough people think they actually might have a chance and so you apply (‘to the void’ as my colleague put it because noone ever replies). The only two gigs I’ve secured are through people I know, which should make me happy but makes me sad instead. These gigs pay so little there is no point celebrating them,.

Forget part-time teaching, I have not heard back from teaching assistant jobs. Maybe because it might make the actual teachers who are not PhDs insecure, I suppose.

Okay, to be fair, I still don’t have a PhD (I haven’t submitted and done the exam yet). Though honestly a PhD as a part-time teacher is overqualified. But okay. Fine. Maybe all this will miraculously change when I have that piece of paper.

But what won’t change is how little they pay. After spending 3 years, at best (at worst 5-7) on this thing, you have to spend a couple more doing part-time work or if you’re lucky a postdoc before you can actually get a job that basically pays less than my previous job correcting people’s English.

This makes me feel so angry that I want to chuck the whole dream posthaste (and I would if someone would offer me something else to do. See part on commercial sector cold shoulder). The poor pay, exploitative working conditions for part-time staff and general lack of transparency makes me want to smack the next academic who starts sanctimoniously critiquing the commercial sector.

Because you know, in the commercial sector, if you apply to advertised positions, you actually stand a chance of being considered based on your resume. Well, it seems like a better chance than in academia which really does seem to run on influence at the lower levels anyway. And that sector pays better. And you get nice tea in the pantry. For free.

This morning when I was reading a story to Mimi I was thinking that I could apply for a teaching assistant job. At a kindergarten. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

By the way, those are the jobs that seem plentiful. The teaching English. At all levels. That I am not actually qualified for, because I don’t have TESOL qualifications, but I know that doesn’t matter in the lesser institutions, if you’re the right colour. Which I’m not. Too much cafe in my au lait.

I really should have gotten a TESOL qualification if I wanted to diversify my career path (which I didn’t. I thought of the PhD as a passion project and that I would get back to editorial work after. Except the blemish of the PhD it appears is overwhelming).

When I started this job hunt, I was wracked with indecision about what I wanted to do. Ha! Now I’ll take whoever will have me.

 

 

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