How to choose, specialize, and job hunt

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Raire, May 9, 2015.

  1. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    I've come to a point in my life where I am recovering so well, that I can concentrate on my career. I'm working on my health (eating habits, exercise, physical therapy for my knee), and on my prospects (taking Portuguese classes and getting used to doing things again, organizing my inbox, organizing old files for taxes and receipts so I can respond to issues more promptly), and working on keeping my stress levels low (this is the hardest, as I tend to procrastinate on the breathing/meditation/self acceptance mantras, but I am optimistic about making this a part of my routine). It feels like time to get a job and work on my career to, in the far future, get a phd in ecology.

    1) Issue: How to choose an area within the broad scope of Ecology

    Let me level with you: I fucking love so many things and they are all cool. I like doing field work and collecting samples in sweaty conditions (though that does require me to get into better physical shape than I am in right now), I can scuba dive, and I find things other people find weird or disgusting fascinating (my senior project in college revolved around collecting deer poop to germinate the seeds in it that survived the digestive tract). I love the ocean, can scuba dive, and like the interaction of different systems.

    I have no idea how to specialize. EVERYTHING IS AMAZING. The Amazon? OH HELL YEAH. The Andes Amazon? FUCK YES. Mangroves? WOO HOO. Marine Ecology? AMAZING.

    ... You might be able to see my problem here. It gets so overwhelming to chose which area to pursue jobs in, much less where I would want to specialize for a PHD. (One possible endgoal would be Biology professor in a nice liberal arts college, doing my own research but also teaching).

    2) Issue: How do I job hunt?

    I can send emails, if they take me lots of effort, and cover letters are a pain, and there seems to be an etiquette I don't get, and how do I find the right place, and my parents are helping me network but at a point it gets overwhelming.

    ... There was more I was going to write, but I can't remember, and if I don't post this now I never will!
  2. Lissa Lysik'an

    Lissa Lysik'an Dragon-loving Faerie

    I don't know anything about jobs in ecology, but in most fields there is room for "consultants" - people like me who go from one thing to another for short term "we need an expert for this one thing but we can't afford to hire them permanently" contracts. I've worked in everything from basic business applications to 3D military simulations. I get to play with everything I like and don't have to specialize in anything other than creative problem solving :)

    Job hunting is best done by professionals, especially when your brain thinks the background screen of the job application is too interesting to waste time filling in the data fields. Recruiters are a life saver, and most will also offer guides on how to find work in your preferred area since the rules on how to interact vary a lot by field. Some types of companies want you to bug them about your resume - shows 'initiative'. Others will trash your resume if you so much as call back to verify they got it - shows you 'need hand holding'. A recruiter can navigate that minefield for you.
    There are recruiters that specialize in placing newbies.
    BUT - like really big BUT - do not EVER pay anyone up front to get you a job. You shouldn't really pay at all, but if you need to, make sure it is a contingency - they get no money if you get no money. Most recruiters are paid by the hiring company, not the recruit. Some cheat and try to get paid by both.
  3. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    I have considered consultation type stuff, but even that would require more experience than I have, and unfortunately doesn't work if I want to do actual scientific research (which I do, too). Right now, I asked dad if any of the reasonable oil companies here need someone to do biological surveys, but not sure how likely that is to pan out.

    I am... a bit concerned about whether such recruiters/job hunters exist here. Peru is pretty developed and has a bigger economy than a lot of the neighbours, but... I certain have never heard of job hunters for anybody beyond like, the really top notch people (headhunters?). I'll have to see if I can google something up.
  4. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    Do you know any profs in the field you could ask for advice?
  5. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    Not in the country :/ frankly I might go volunteering in the Amazon first since it might open the space for networking
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice