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When I started this little blog, it was so that my friends all over the country could see what I was up to with work and life but without me having to write\email to each and everyone.

At the time, I had a job in Archaeological Computing, played a lot of xbox and did some knitting. Roll forward a few years and I’m currently unemployed (though not signing on, thus ruining Camerons pish statistics), the xbox is now shared (not equally!) but I’m still knitting. A recent healthkick has meant less baking too.

Which leaves me with a dilemma – change the blog name to make it more relevant or keep it in the hope that my next career move takes me back into Archaeological Computing?

I know what I’d rather 🙂 I love my computing and I love my archaeology. Unemployment for the meantime does mean that the xbox is now mine all mine! Well, during the day at least. Right, who’f for some LA Noire?

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So a new year, a new start. True, it might be enforced rather than through choice but it has to happen all the same.

I’ve been looking for a career type job since the end of June 2010. Obviously, I’ve done some paid work since then including excavation, watching briefs and a stint in Game. All of these were (in various doses) fun, dull, warm, cold, exciting, mindless but money is money and the mortgage doesn’t stop just because work does.

So if I’ve been after a computing and or archaeology career advancing job since June why am I ranting now, 6 months later?

Well, because an otherwise perfectly decent saturday morning was ruined by the arrival of a letter informing me that I haven’t reached the interview stage for a post I really wanted. Not only did I really want the job but I could have carried out all the essential tasks blindfolded and handcuffed, presuming my fingers were free to type. I hear you saying that these things happen all the time and there are more fish in the sea etc (unless you’ve been watching the channel 4 fish season and I recommend that you do). However, the fact that the letter kindly informed me that a shortlisting officer had reviewed my application made me nearly spill my now tainted by letter opening cup of tea. What kind of job/person is that? Does that mean that my application didn’t even make it into the hands of someone who could understand the value of my experience and past work? Some HR monkey who couldn’t see context, only keywords? The same organisation turned down my application for another post a few months ago, so that HR person can expect a fairly stern phonecall this coming Monday asking why I wasn’t shortlisted. Grr!

Cheer up! you might say. Well thanks and I will shortly when I get some vino. In the meantime, I am left to ponder my future in Archaeology/Heritage/actually caring about our past. I have specialist skills. I have 5 years of varied experience. I can dig but I can also write book chapters and arrange international conference sessions about it. I think, if I do say so myself, that I am sometimes pretty bloody awesome at this stuff. Let us return to reality though, and the aforementioned mortgage. I can’t hold out for a career job forever. It’s been 6 months. I can go another 6 if I can pass the time with temping etc.

After that I fear that the discipline in which I have honed my considerable skills will lose me to a something else. I’m not sure what at the moment, but probably something that can guarantee me work for more than a month at a time and pays even half decently. I’ll probably pimp my computing skills out instead. I’d be really sad, angry and worried to leave archaeology to Camerons daft idea of a big society, which I suspect may happen as more decent archaeologists succumb to pay cuts, job cuts and downsizing. The Scottish government cuts won’t even kick in until later this year, so that’ll be something exciting to look forward to as well, not. I want to find out how many of the people I did the IFA placements with actually have clung onto an archaeology job in the long term, and I don’t meant went into further training or phds. I mean actual careers. Their website doesn’t say, maybe it is too embarrassing? Who knows? If we all have to bail out of archaeology then the skills deficit the bursaries sought to heal won’t be changed at all. Which would be a shame, not to mention a possible waste of pennies.

2011 will be the year that decides a lot of things for a lot of people, I’m just hoping that this time next year I can still call myself an archaeologist/heritage person, not some sort of suit wearing corporate drone. Albeit one who is now an elected fellow of the Society of Antiquaries – hooray!

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As well as being the first of June, today is the first day of the last month of my contract at the the University. I have very mixed feelings. It has been a wonderful job to have in many ways, but recently I’ve felt like I could do so much more. The old brain hasn’t been really challenged for a while.

Like last time I was in this postion (see also this post from last year) I am feeling disillusioned with Archaeology as a career. I love it. Absolutely love it and its all I’ve ever wanted to do (ask my P1 teacher) but there just aren’t the jobs. I know I’ll have to do something else to earn money until a career job (like something awesome in archaeological computing or publishing or archiving) comes up to apply for.

I know that I’m in a better position than this time last year when living in Loughborough where they didn’t seem to want to employ anyone who can read or write lest they upset the be-tracksuited masses.  At least now I live in a proper city with potential jobs, even gap-filling ones. I also know that we’re lucky to live in a house that is cheap and we won’t get booted out of if I can’t find something.

However, as parents have recently been fond of pointing out, I’m not getting any younger and if I want to start a new career, as opposed to just a job, then I should probably do it sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I shall religiously check BAJR, museum jobs and jobs.ac.uk as well as the Royal Commission, NMRs, SMRs and libraries etc with my morning coffee until I find something. At least I’ll have more time for knitting and baking – maybe I could time travel back to the 1950’s and become a housewifey? :p