I just thought I should give you a quick rundown on my job situation. I know I complain about it a lot and I know that a few people have offered me advice and I don’t want to appear as if I’m ignoring it so thought I’d just bang a few things out to try and make things a little clearer about the position that I’m in.
I work as a research assistant in the social science field.
What does social sciences mean? Basically anything that’s not real science. So anything to do with communities or life in general. Some would call it touchy feely. Some would call it woolly. You know when you hear someone talk about “community cohesion” or any of those other buzz phrases? You’re looking at my field.
I have been doing this job for about 3 years and have been working for the same company for 4 years. I fell into this role completely by accident when someone heard that I had done some research work for my Professor when I was studying for my MSc at university. I work for a charity. In the North. Wages are never going to be high and I have accepted that, I really like what I do, I’m just not enjoying the place I do it for at the moment.
I am more than happy to move away from Hull. I know I talk about how much I love it but it's a love borne out of necessity. I’ve been trying to get out of Hull in the 4 years that I’ve been back here. I don’t know how much you know about the region but Yorkshire and the Humber is not a happy place to be if you’re looking for a job. It’s an even less happier place if you’re looking for a job in research.
For the past year I have been looking for a new job. And when I say looking I mean actively looking. I mean I check job websites every. single. day. In that year I’ve lost count of how many jobs I’ve applied for and have managed to get 2 interviews. In a year.
You know how people say “There are no jobs out there”? It really is true. Especially in my field. Social sciences is not spectacularly well funded at the best of times. Real science gets that honour. In the current climate, despite Mr Cameron’s lofty ambitions for Big Society (which technically should benefit me because there’s a lot to research there) there is even less funding for jobs like mine.
Going back to my roots in Economics I shall take you back to the basics. What do we know when the supply of something diminishes?
The demand gets greater.
The first job that I interviewed for had over 75 people apply for it. The second job I interviewed for had over 40 people apply for it. And not just “people”. Over-qualified people. People that I wouldn’t normally be competing with for jobs are now battling me head on because they can’t find employment either. I am living in an unfortunate world where even a Masters degree isn’t enough (the last job went to someone with a PhD)
So when I complain about my job don’t think I’m sitting here passively whining that it’s not good enough and waiting for the job fairy to throw one into my lap. I am out there. I am applying. There is literally no more that I can do.
Please don’t say “You’ll find it” or “You’ll get one eventually” or “Keep at it.” I know all these things. I say them to myself a hundred times a day. But when you say them to me it conjures up an almost irrepressible urge to rip your head off and smear your entrails over the wall.
And that, my friends, is that.