Doing Something, Playfully
It might seem too early to be thinking about what is to come after the Masters, since we’re only in Week 3 of teaching here at Essex. But it’s not. Time moves fast, and the Job Market is close to not moving at all.
It might also seem odd to be talking about Job Markets in a post that starts out by asking you to ‘play’. But that’s the beauty of environmental studies. You still need a job, or some way to pay the bills and live your life, but equally, being introduced to new subjects and new ideas all through the year means that you’re also playing, a lot of the time. You’re putting together puzzles, and finding your way through a maze 😉 and playing hide-and-seek with insights.
Finding a job can also be about playing. You don’t have to follow a set path. You can move from one field to another, one job-role to another, in pursuit of a goal that is deeper and wider than just a paycheck. In fact, if you’re doing environmental studies in such a multidisciplinary course, I will assume that you want more than just a job. You want to play around with different things, and gain a sense of satisfaction and adventure and challenge.
Having said that, it won’t feel like much fun if you don’t combine that sense of adventure with a plan so that you are actually doing something at the end of the course. That’s why part of Ariadne’s Thread is to develop some kind of personal plan so that you can do both: play within this really exciting and diverse field AND ‘do’ something.
How to start planning, while keeping enough flexibility for change (you might learn something next week that completely changes your life and moves you into a totally new field 🙂 That’s the magic of this course)?
One way is to set your sights on people who inspire you, rather than on specific job roles. For example, in this post, Jacquelyn Gill writes: “I often look at the CV’s of researchers whose careers I admire to get a sense of their trajectory, and to build a rough road map of goals and objectives.”
Is there an environmentalist (of whatever description – that word includes scientists, researchers, journalists, NGO workers, people getting together in groups to plant a tree!) who inspires you, or whose career you admire? Spend a couple of hours looking through their career path (the magic of research on the weird and wonderful internet!). Find their CV if you can, and see what they started with, and how they moved from one thing to another. See what skills they have, what experience they have.
And bring it with you next time we meet!