So I had my first day of work at the new job today. It went pretty well, although it was of course mostly spent filling out paperwork. The level of bureaucracy involved is somewhat annoying, but it’s nothing compared to the Park Service, so it really wasn’t too bad. Everyone I met was really nice, and I think it’ll be a good working environment for me. Hopefully I’ll get a better sense of it in the next few days.
August 27, 2012
July 15, 2012
So, the interview I mentioned in the last post went really well, and they offered me the job. It’s a great opportunity, and of the three jobs I have interviewed for it was definitely the one I most wanted to get, so I went ahead and accepted it. I had to negotiate a bit on the start date, since my current internship officially goes until September and they wanted someone who could start sooner than that, but we managed to compromise on the last week of August, by which time I should be able to get in all the hours I really need for the internship. So, yeah. I’m glad that my general impression that Alaska is a great place to look for jobs has been confirmed by the ease with which I was able to find one.
June 28, 2012
I’ve been liking my position at the Park Service, and for a while I was trying to find ways to get hired on into a real job when my internship ends, but while at one point it looked like there was a good chance of that happening it now looks pretty unlikely. I’ve therefore begun looking for other jobs. At first I was mostly looking at federal jobs all over, but due to budget constraints and other issues there aren’t a whole lot of those in my field. I was feeling fairly frustrated for a while and not very motivated about the whole job search.
Then I thought about it some more, and decided I would really prefer to stay in Alaska and that I’m not actually all that wedded to the idea of a federal job. Once I started looking at private sector jobs and those at other levels of government, it became apparent that there are actually tons of jobs in my field (broadly construed) in Alaska, which is doing much better economically than most other parts of the country. There are construction and infrastructure projects going on all over the state, and along with them a need for planning and environmental compliance. So I started applying for jobs with private firms, local governments, and various other types of employers, and just in the few weeks that I’ve started doing this I’ve gotten three interviews, one of which is tomorrow morning. The nice thing about these, in addition to the fact that they are totally unexpected and for jobs that I thought might be kind of a stretch for my qualifications, is that I still have a couple months before my position ends and I really need to find something, so I’m not in any rush and the interviews are pretty low-pressure from my perspective.
So, yeah. I like Alaska for a bunch of reasons, but the fact that there are so many jobs available, many of which I even seem to qualify for, is a big one.
March 29, 2012
Today marks the first six months I’ve been in this position. Since it’s a one-year internship, that also means I’ve got six months left until it ends. It’s been a great experience so far, and I’d ideally like to be hired on as an actual employee when my internship is up. It looks like there’s some chance of that happening, but it’s still up in the air, and if it’s going to happen the process needs to start pretty soon. I’m taking off the next week to go to Philadelphia and New Jersey, and hopefully I should know when I get back whether staying on is a possibility.
If it isn’t, and really even if it is, I’m going to have to start furiously applying to jobs again. I’ve been monitoring job posting sites for a while now, and I’ve begun sending out a few applications, but especially for federal jobs the lead time is such that to have something lined up in six months I have to start applying in earnest now. There have been a few interesting jobs I’ve seen, and hopefully more will start to be posted in the next few weeks.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed my time in Alaska so far, and it should only get better when summer comes and I’ll start going out to parks. Even if I only get the one year here, it will definitely be a memorable one.
December 26, 2011
When I moved up here my mom gave me my dad’s old copy of What Color Is Your Parachute? I just finished reading it, and it’s quite good. It was an interesting read in that my dad’s copy is the 2001 edition, and there was some stuff in it that was clearly written in response to an idea at the time that the internet had totally transformed the job search such that books like it had become obsolete. There was something of a defensive tone to some of the discussion of the internet. As it turns out, however, the internet didn’t transform the job search that much, and what Bolles says about it in this edition has stood the test of time fairly well, which is more than can be said for the more extreme online triumphalism from that period.
In any case, I found the book quite helpful. I have already more or less stumbled into what seems to be the ideal career for me, in part by independently arriving at some of the conclusions Bolles advocates, so I haven’t actually done any of the exercises or anything, but I may in the future, especially if my current path doesn’t end up leading me anywhere. For people who are still flailing about trying to find a path in life, as I was until quite recently, I’d say this is a very helpful read. I’m sure there are other equally helpful career guidebooks out there, but this one has attained its iconic status in the popular discourse for a reason.
August 23, 2011
So obviously I didn’t end up chronicling my cross-country road trip either here or on any other blog. I did make it to Albuquerque, though, and saw a lot of stuff along the way. Being in Albuquerque again is interesting in some ways, and I’m glad I have the ability to stay here with my mom for a while, but it’s not really a place I would want to stay permanently.
Luckily, however, I don’t have to. Soon after I arrived here, I finally heard back from an SCA internship I had applied to back at the beginning of July. They interviewed me and then offered me the position, and I took it. It’s with the Alaska Regional Office of the National Park Service in Anchorage, and specifically with their planning division, so it’s actually a planning position (a rare thing among SCA internships). This is exactly the kind of work I want to do, and this position will give me some great experience to use as a stepping-stone to a permanent position afterward. The position itself is for a year, starting in mid-September. It pays a stipend and provides housing and health insurance, so it’s really ideal for my purposes. I’m very excited about this opportunity.
I’ll be in Albuquerque until September 13, when I leave to drive up to Anchorage. I figured I should have a car up there, especially since I do in fact have a car and would have to figure out what to do with it if I didn’t bring it. I hear Anchorage is the sort of city where it’s really best to have a car, and it would also mean I could take all my stuff with me instead of having to ship it, which I’m sure would be extremely expensive. The easiest (though probably not the cheapest) way to go is on the ferry, so my plan is to drive from Albuquerque to Bellingham, Washington (where we happen to have some good family friends I could stay with), then take the ferry from Bellingham to Haines and drive up through Canada from Haines to Anchorage. There is a ferry that goes across the Gulf of Alaska almost to Anchorage, but it’s all booked up for vehicles through at least the end of September, so only going as far as Haines and then driving seems like the best way to go. It should be quite the adventure.
So anyway, things are going great for me right now.
July 30, 2011
I haven’t had any luck finding a job so far, and my lease here in NJ ends at the end of July, so the new plan is to drive back to NM and stay with my mom for a while and look for jobs out there. I’ve come to the realization that I’d rather work in the West anyway, and the NY/NJ area seems to be particularly bad for planning jobs right now (which is really saying something), so this isn’t that bad a solution for me. I’m sure I’ll find something eventually, but it may take a while. The job market is really, really bad right now, and while I realize everyone knows that, I really don’t think people who aren’t unemployed right now realize the magnitude of it.
I’ve decided that rather than trying to just drive straight through, which would probably take about four days, I’d prefer to take a leisurely road trip and see some stuff along the way. There’s a lot of stuff in the Midwest and South that I haven’t seen but would like to, mostly but not exclusively archaeological sites, plus I’ve always wanted to do this kind of road trip but never had the opportunity before. When I’ve done previous road trips there has always been a time constraint, although its nature and strictness has varied. This time, though, it really doesn’t matter when I get to my mom’s house, so I’m thinking I’ll take a week to ten days to make my way across the country and just get there when I get there. It should be fun, and I’ll probably chronicle it here (and/or on the other blog) as I go.
April 25, 2011
I graduate in less than a month, so I’ve been applying for jobs like crazy. The problem, of course, is that with the economy the way it is there are very few jobs being advertised, especially in planning, which is a field that very closely follows the real estate market, which hasn’t come close to recovering from its epic collapse a couple years ago. This isn’t actually that big a deal for me specifically, since I don’t have much interest in doing the sort of local government land-use planning that is particularly closely tied to real estate and that still forms the heart of the profession. The kinds of planning I would like to do, mostly environmental compliance and so forth, don’t seem to be doing all that well either, however, and there I’ve been running into the additional complication that a lot of the jobs, especially in the private sector, that do get advertised seem to really want a science or engineering background rather than a planning one. And why not? Planning is very much a generalist field; anyone can do these jobs, so if someone with a technical background wants to, that’s so much the better for the employer. Pretty tough for me, though. I’ve been applying particularly to federal jobs, but those are few and far between and I hear that a lot of agencies have been increasingly contracting this stuff out to the private sector, which does indeed seem to be where most of the jobs are.
So, it seems networking is really the way to go, since so few jobs are being advertised. This is unfortunate for me, since I hate networking and am pretty bad at it, but I’ve been doing my best. I got some business cards printed up and have been giving them out to anyone who seems like a plausible connection. I’m sure I’ll find something eventually, but I’ve increasingly resigned myself to just having to hang around here for a few weeks after I graduate to focus on the job search. Which wouldn’t really be that bad, actually; my lease on this apartment runs through the end of July, and I have enough money saved up to live on until then, so it might not be too bad to just be able to focus on the job thing without having to worry about school. Especially now, at the end of the semester, school is keeping me very busy, so I can’t focus as much on finding a job as I would like to anyway.
So anyway, that’s what’s going on with me, in case anyone was wondering.
December 31, 2010
- Albuquerque, NM
- Highland Park, NJ
- New York, NY
- Philadelphia, PA
I keep thinking I must be forgetting something, but I’m pretty sure those are the only cities I’ve stayed in. School’s been taking up a lot of my time.
In other news, I’m finally going on Birthright next week. I’m getting close to the age limit, and my mom’s been strongly encouraging me to do it, so I figured while I’m in school and have this convenient break I should just do it. I remain skeptical about Zionism and I doubt the trip will change that, but I’m currently rationalizing my choice to go by saying that I don’t agree with the Zionists’ ideology but I’m willing to take their money. In any case, I think it’ll be fun. The trip leaves on this coming Sunday. Since it’s right in the middle of my break, I didn’t go back to New Mexico but was here in New Jersey for the break so far. It was a nice, restful vacation, and we got a big snowstorm which added some excitement and snow.
Overall, 2010 was a very good year for me. I feel like I’ve developed much more of a sense of what I want to do (and, perhaps more importantly, what I don’t want to do) with this degree once I get it. I’ll start applying for jobs in January, since I really want to have something lined up before I graduate in May. Right now I’m mostly looking at federal jobs, and maybe private-sector environmental planning stuff. Geographically I’ll be looking all over the country, partly because while I know I’m tired of living right where I do now I’m not quite sure what I would most prefer instead (and also to keep my options open, of course). Sometimes I think I would prefer to live in a bigger city, on the east coast or elsewhere. Other times I think I would prefer to go back west or somewhere else entirely. So I’m mostly just leaving it up to chance and following the jobs wherever they lead. Other aspects of my life are also very positive, and I’m much happier and more confident than I have been at some points in the recent past. So yeah, things are pretty good for me right now.
April 12, 2010
So yeah, I managed to get a job for the summer helping out on a research project at my school. It’s pretty much exactly the type of job I’ve been looking for, and it’s a very interesting project that fits particularly well with my background and interests, so I’m very happy about it.