Home Science Communication Sadly, I have very little pen-cataloging experience

Sadly, I have very little pen-cataloging experience

by Eva Amsen

My thesis is moving on okay, but a new kind of panic is starting to set in. Let me illustrate it with a dream I had this week:

“Dream: June 23rd 2008
I was offered a job at a university: my office was a tiny dark supply cabinet, and my job was cataloging the supplies (paper, pens, etc.) I had to sign a contract on the spot, and I did.”

Oh, hello, subconscious. Did you want to tell me something?

I know exactly what this is. It’s not that I really think that I’m only good for cataloging pens (in fact, I’d be terribly bad at that). It’s the university part. I really like academics, and I would love to be able to teach undergrads, or think about the ways in which research is carried out, but I really don’t want to run my own lab and be forced to do the things I love only on the side. But there are so few lecturing jobs and so many people who want them, and I shouldn’t even start thinking about the “thinking about research” part, because once I graduate I’ll just be a random person off the street who has absolutely no business thinking about what goes on in labs around the world. The only people who are qualified to do that are the people who work in research full time and have no time to think about it — at least, that’s what it feels like to me.

I saw some ads for TA positions in science communication and I want these jobs so badly, I’m scared to apply. I won’t get them – there are too many applicants and they’ll pick someone who isn’t that close to graduating and who has had more previous TA experience. I don’t think it matters that I’ve had experience in science communication because that part goes on the CV and they probably won’t even get around to reading it. They’re pretty busy. Maybe they’ll need someone to catalog their pens and paper.

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Cath Ennis June 25, 2008 - 5:42 PM

Feel the fear and do it anyway… and write a block buster cover letter to _make_ them read your CV!
I always say that it’s better to regret doing something, than to regret _not_ doing it. And what have you got to lose?

Eva Amsen June 26, 2008 - 6:49 PM

I just wrote “see CV” on the application form somewhere. My CV had not been updated since 2006, and I think that time I also applied to TA jobs in that department. It’s frustrating, because the department was actually recommended to me by various people as one that really, really, really needs people to TA or teach, and when I got rejected last time I felt like a bit of a failure.
This time I’m also afraid that the fact that I’ll graduate in the middle of next semester won’t make me allowed to accept TA jobs. I don’t really know how that works, though, and maybe I won’t be done until December anyway.

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