Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thinking outside "the box"

I have gotten many tips, from acquaintances and from close friends, that thinking outside the box, insofar as searching for a job is concerned, is what I should do.

Please do not interpret what I am about to say as I take offense at such a suggestion. Far from it.

I am in favor of 'thinking outside the box,' especially when prospects of being employed in academia are horribly grim and, by necessity, As a relatively freshly-minted single mother, I need to provide for the children and me. In academia (when referring to working in academia, I mean teaching at the college level and beyond), the supply is sky high and the demand appears to be abysmally low and crazy selective. I don't suppose I can add activities such as - juggling multiple hats at once (preparing dinner, while giving a couple of the children their last meal for the day, overseeing/managing musical instrument practice of another child, and guiding yet another child whilst she works on homework), or maintaining a home whilst sick with the flu, or working (whilst spending 3 hrs a day on the road taking children to school and from school, cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, doing laundry, getting children fed, buying groceries, keeping up car and house maintenance, paying bills, etc.) - to my C.V.


Schools want a lengthy list of publications and years of teaching experience.

Great, stick a fork in me, I am done.

Nothing counts for the fact that I have a heart for my discipline of choice or that I love to teach. Right?!

Alright, alright. Though I am not ready to leave academia, to never return, I am open to other sorts of employment. But, what?

I am not planning on putting all my eggs in one basket. I am open and ready to brainstorm and pursue plans B, C, and D! But, what does that look like?

Think outside the box.

Yes, that sounds good. But beyond theoretic speak, what does that look like?

Look beyond job boards.

Again, I am open (to that). What does that look like?

Network. Find jobs by building relationships with people and providing people with descriptions of what I have done and what I have experience doing.

Perhaps my imagination has gotten a bit crusty and dry. But, what jobs will magically or miraculously appear and be in the offering, as a direct result of networking with others?!

Remember, looking for jobs takes time. In fact, looking for jobs and applying for jobs can be full-time in itself. I have four children whose well-being depend on me. So, I cannot afford to drop everything and devote all my waking moments to finding a job. So, please, I am more than willing to think outside the box in finding fruitful employment, but can we get beyond the theoretical talk and get down to (practical) business?!

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