So I have this blog, but only post stupid things. I figure I might actually include some substance.
I’ve been pretty bored lately, having just finished a post-grad program and moved back home. That’s because I can’t seem to find a job! I did find one at Stokes, a retail store specializing in kitchen and housewares, thanks to my aunt being bffs with the manager. I got the job because I was more than qualified, having over 4 years in retail in addition to my unrelated B.A in archaeology and the PG Certificate in Culture and Heritage Site Management. The problem I was having was getting noticed, which is the problem my aunt solved for me. The problem is that it is retail, and while I really enjoy the job and the people, its not making use of my education.
In University, they don’t tell you “there’s tonnnnnnnnns of jobs out there for you”. They just fill your head with as much information as they can. And they did. I took 5 years to do my B.A (honours) in Archaeology, and truthfully the actual learning to conduct archaeology was about 2 days worth of instruction on field school. The rest of the 5 years was just learning things about past cultures, complex societies, timelines, some fun lab work involving cataloging and identification, and at one point the complete processing of a duck carcass. I thoroughly enjoyed the full 5 years, even when the work load was overbearing.
At College, they told me “don’t worry, there are soooo many jobs out there for you”. And that’s about it. I’m sure I learned some things, but I can’t think of what they were. I better understand bookkeeping, but that’s not much and I probably won’t need it. I went to the classes that told me nothing I didn’t already know, and I did my placement where I learned that what was being said in class is what is being said in the sector. But basically the whole program could be summed up as:
- funding is a huge issue, and therefore non-profits don’t have a lot of staff
- conservation guidelines are important, but not always met
- visitors and volunteers are paramount, but hard to attract
- Social media and the internet are going to be more important going forward
- some college profs aren’t actually qualified to teach anything, and shouldn’t even be allowed in a classroom
I didn’t even go to the convocation for the PG because the whole thing was a joke. My classmates and I have all been searching for jobs since before the end of the program, and its not looking great. Some people have gotten jobs, and that’s fantastic.
I moved to Kingston, because that’s home, and it is a huge player in the Arts/culture/heritage sector. Since March, there have been 3 job postings here. One was through Young Canada Works for recent graduates and was an internship at the Museum of Medical History. I thought it was weird that I had never heard of them despite growing up here, but whatever. I found the posting on CHIN, but when I checked YCW, there were zero results for Kingston (Good job government). I applied anyway, and surprise, I wasn’t even acknowledged.
The next job posting I went after was only sort of related, but perfect for me. It was a Camp Leader for the Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation’s Can You Dig It summer camp. I am an (unemployed) archaeologist, and the CARF is also part museum. I applied, I was acknowledged, then informed they had to cancel the camp. This was in mid-April. A week ago (ish) the entire organization closed down. Balls. They had been my aim for the entire PG program.
The 3rd posting was for the Kingston Arts Council, doing basically what I did at my placement and as part of my role in our program’s symposium. Again perfect. I went to the social services office near my house and tried to get some help with resumes and cover letters. I didn’t get it. Instead I was told to make my resume into some barely there thing more suitable to retail, where employers don’t care about anything other than if you are competent. The woman who was helping me asked what the job title was for the job I was looking for, which immediately told me she had no idea what she was doing with me. With so few staff and resources, there are no real job titles. The people who are hiring have to make it up, which means there is no one title. As an example, the KAC was looking for someone to work their social media, maintain contacts and mail lists, and help compose their newsletters, so a mixture of community outreach and regular office work and they called it “Office Administrator”. I applied anyway, and when I heard nothing back I assumed I wasn’t picked for an interview. Then I received an email that they were restructuring to fill the position internally.
So where am I at?
I have no idea what my competition is in Kingston, as I have yet to actually have to compete. I’m not even entirely certain my resume is good enough, despite spending days on it with my placement supervisor. And there aren’t enough jobs or funding as is evident for the lack of actual hiring being done by these organizations.
The real kick in the pants is this: There are plenty of Archaeology jobs. I was even contacted for one in London, but because I didn’t have my own car at the time, it didn’t pan out. The problem I’m having with them, is that they require me to relocate, which would be fine, except my dad is dying and my brother has just had his first child, so I feel pretty obligated to take a break from being out of touch and spend some time with them. I don’t really want my niece to be scared of me when she sees me, and despite my issues with my dad, I am sucking it up and playing the nice daughter he wishes he had for that last bit before the end.
So I’m sitting here, reading my zombie horror books and drinking too much coffee, looking for job postings, and hoping something turns up soon, so that I can get on buying my own car and paying of the incredible amount of student debt I have.
On the bright side, the stress fat I gained in school is finally disappearing. Now I just have to get rid of the other “away at school and lazy” fat. I suppose it’s ironic that my current situation is less stressful, but it’s true.