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I'm over 30 and lost...what am I doing wrong?
February 3, 2011 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm 33 years old. I obtained my BA in English from a respected college in 2001. Since then I have worked in nonprofits, retail, education, and in an administrative capacity. I have never made more than 32,000 a year. Currently I make 12/hour in NYC metro area as a temp, doing data entry. All of my previous jobs lead to nothing...the one promising job fell apart because I was suffering from major depression at the time and I quit so that I could be hospitalized.

In the five years since then I have worked my butt off...but never made more than 14/hour. I can't get hired anywhere. My dream job would be working as a project manager for a nonprofit, even a project assistant. Or working in marketing and public relations, even starting out as an assistant. I have a well-written resume and my cover letters are solid. However, I rarely even get interviews.

I feel like a loser and a failure. I am taking my PRAXIS soon to hopefully qualify for my teaching Certificate of Eligibility, but I don't think I'll get a job with the C of E alone, there are so many other requirements and classes. I'm going to try regardless. However, that is not going to happen overnight...in the meantime I would like just a GOOD JOB. Not even my dream job, just one that pays a living wage. If it wasn't for the support of my partner, I simply couldn't survive on 12/hour and no benefits.

Has anyone ever been where I am? What would your advice for me be?

Thanks.
posted by urania to Work & Money (27 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
I feel for you man. Have you considered exploring some kind of manual trade? My brother, who is just entering the career phase of his life, is having lots of success in an apprenticeship program for electricians. Others than come to mind are carpentry, welding, etc... I think one of the casualties of the information age is lack of respect/attention paid to these trades.

Paralegals make decent money in NYC.

Are you skilled at sales? Companies are always willing to pay you as long as you can sell more product.

Any chance to relocate? I live in NYC as well, but am from the Midwest. I know for a fact that life in some states is just plain "easier." That is, $14/hr IS a living wage in some parts of the country.
posted by gagglezoomer at 2:33 PM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Take it slowly. You're doing fine and making a reasonable wage. You just need a lucky break, which will eventually happen by law of shear mathematical probability as long as you keep trying. The lucky break would, I guess, be to get hired by a large organization (maybe after working for them on one of your temp gigs, i.e, they decide to offer you a position). At that point, you start to get benefits and you start to get yearly raises which slowly but surely build up your salary.

As it is, you're doing better than an awful lot of people just by working at all and you will do even better when you get a better job. Don't judge yourself--destiny is so fickle and things change so fast when you get a different job and your confidence starts to build up. There's no great talent people have who have good jobs--you see all kinds of useless people in large corporations ensconced in pretty high paying jobs.

....In a few years, after getting the kind of job you want and working at it for a while, you might end up submitting a meta-filter question about being burnt-out and wanting to work less and live more simply ;)
posted by Paquda at 2:54 PM on February 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Your CV and your covering letters are kind of irrelevant here.

You need to start talking to people and expanding your network. Identify 10 places where you would like to work, figure out who the decision maker is, and set up an interview. Use LinkedIn. Follow people on Twitter. Just get more info, and start talking to people. It's the only way.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:57 PM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry to hear that you haven't had any career luck so far. It's rough out there, and I know plenty of people your age in NYC who are making similar salaries. Eventually you'll get to where you want to be.

I freelance, and I've learned that being friendly and genuinely interested in new people I meet has been my single most effective money-making tool. Friends give friends jobs. So get out there and start meeting people in your field.

Ways to do this:

- Join a Meetup. A quick search of non-profit meetups in NYC turns up four pages of results.

- Volunteer. A lot of non-profits have events for 20- and 30-somethings and recruit volunteers for these. You'll get to know the staff at the non-profit as well as fellow peers with similar interests (and their own set of connections).

- Consider working part time at an organization you'd prefer to work for full time (some PR positions are on a part time/consulting basis). If you don't get offered a full-time position, it at least gets some relevant info on your resume.

Good luck!
posted by bethist at 3:09 PM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're not a loser and a failure, the job market just sucks ass right now!

If you want to stay in nonprofits, learn grantwriting! If you can bring in money you'll be in demand in the nonprofit world. This is a great book to get you started:
Demystifying Grant Seeking: What You Really Need to Do to Get Grants

You may have to establish a track record of success before you can get a paid grantwriting gig, so pick an organization you like that is small enough to not have full-time development staff and talk with them about how you can volunteer help them raise money through grantwriting. It will probably take you about a year of volunteering to accumulate enough of a track record to credibly establish yourself as a grantwriter, but at least you'll be working toward something instead of just spinning your wheels.

Since your bachelors degree isn't that marketable by itself, you might want to consider going back to school for a Masters of Public Administration or Nonprofit Management. You can get student loans to pay for tuition and most of your living expenses while you are in school. Stafford loan limits are quite high ($20,500/year) for graduate students and there are also Graduate PLUS loans available if your school's financial aid office's estimate of a typical student's total cost of attendance (including living expenses) is higher than that.

Meanwhile, Congress recently reformed the student loan system as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. When you graduate you can make very reasonable Income Based Repayments and after 10 years have any remaining balance on your student loans forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (assuming you stay in the nonprofit sector for those 10 years). The key is to only get FEDERAL student loans -- NOT private loans. (Most horror stories you hear about student loans are either about private loans or are from issues stemming from before the 2007 reforms.)

Good luck!
posted by Jacqueline at 3:22 PM on February 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Relocating isn't an option due to my partner's job, nor is going back to grad school (unless paid for by an employer), as I currently have defaulted (federal) student loans (another discussion for another time).

I don't get how my CV and cover letter are "irrelevant," KokuRyu.

I do understand the importance of networking but it's difficult with social anxiety, depression and feeling like crap about myself. I like your ideas of volunteering, Jacqueline, and bethist. I have done a little of that here and there but it hasn't really gotten me too far.
posted by urania at 3:43 PM on February 3, 2011


I don't get how my CV and cover letter are "irrelevant," KokuRyu.

In tight job markets, the conventional wisdom is that very few people advance in their careers through answering job ads/job postings, especially in non-quantitative fields, and that networking is key to finding opportunities. Yes, it's necessary to have a strong CV and cover letter to make the first cut, but the issue is making the second and third and fourth and fifth cut these days.

Have you thought about seeing a career counselor?
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:06 PM on February 3, 2011


I have thought about seeing a career counselor but I am not even making enough to pay my bills. 12/hour is less than 400/ take home a week. I can't afford a career counselor at the moment, no matter how fabulous of an investment. It took me four months to save up to take the Praxis.

I can appreciate conventional wisdom but I think saying a resume and cover letter are "irrelevant" is harsh, incorrect and unhelpful.
posted by urania at 4:19 PM on February 3, 2011


You're not alone. I've basically worked as a project manager at non-profits for the past 5 or so years and I'm barely cracking $35K in NYC, despite doing everything "right."

I totally second the suggestions of considering a development/grant writing position, as those are always in demand.

Volunteering is another great idea, especially since most non-profits are quite strapped right now. Many orgs would love to have some help from an adult with experience, as opposed to a college-age intern. I would add that you should look for volunteer opportunities where you can do some project management and actually take a leadership role in something. You don't want to be doing more administrative tasks.

Are you checking Idealist? Are you on twitter? Why not follow the orgs where you want to work and strike up a twitter conversation with the employee who's doing the social media. It's a great "in" for those of us who aren't as confident with real-life social networking.
posted by pourtant at 4:24 PM on February 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


You might find reading What Color Is Your Parachute? 2011: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers and following its job-hunting / career planning strategy to be helpful.

At a minimum, read the author's web page on the effectiveness of different job-hunting methods. Then decrease the amount of time you spend on methods with low success rates and invest that time in trying the methods with higher success rates.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:37 PM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can appreciate conventional wisdom but I think saying a resume and cover letter are "irrelevant" is harsh, incorrect and unhelpful.

The thing is that having a poor resume or cover letter is a strike against you, but having a good resume or cover letter isn't a plus, these days; it's just what you need to get into the mix. That's absolutely correct, however harsh it might be.

So the question is, how can you improve your attractiveness to employers without investing any money in training--and how can you identify what skills you should target to improve your hireability without investing in career counseling?

Let me suggest a couple of options: Young Non-Profit Professionals of New York City has a bunch of free and low-cost seminars and events. The Foundation Center offers free trainings, seminars, and events.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:41 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now, you say you have crippling social anxiety and can't network effortlessly because of it, yet you're making careers you aren't suited for your targets. I'm not surprised you haven't been promoted at these places; it's their way of telling you they don't want you. It's not that you're doing anything wrong, it's that marketing, PR, and being a CEO of a nonprofit (which demands lots of schmoozing and charisma to get ppl to open their wallets and donate) don't gel with having social anxiety, depression, and lack of confidence.

I have a colleague who worked in PR before attending an expensive grad program in international development and she told me that even though she went to an excellent college and had a near perfect GPA, she had to intern for a year before getting an assistant position of this extremely famous PR company. Then, despite being the one who successfully pitched stories for their major healthcare client, a girl who had been there for less than a year (and had a sub-3.0 GPA and a degree in Communications or Journalism from a school known for its huge drinking culture), who could hardly pronounce the drug's generic name and misspelled the brand name in emails, could not write a press release, and (I couldn't believe this part) didn't know who Condi Rice was, was promoted. My colleague said it was that event that made her decide to apply to grad school in something totally different because it was so incredibly insulting. She said later that she initially thought it was because the girl was pretty and fashionable and looked the part of a PR person, but she thought later that maybe her manager thought she was a possible threat and that the other girl was too dumb to be a threat.

A lot of people wrongly think that business is a meritocracy, that if they work hard enough and spend tons of time, they'll get rewarded with promotions. It doesn't work that way. If you don't have the requisite relationships and charisma and ability to make people feel like they want to know you, then people with the ability to make friends and exude charisma will always have the advantage. Especially if it's a job or career that only requires a bachelor's degree that isn't specialized in a demand area like accounting or engineering or nursing or information management.

I don't think someone is going to look at your resume and say "Oh, he volunteers and does all this stuff, we should hire him." They're going to want to meet you and want to feel like you would be nice to be around then they'll be willing to hire you and then you have to make them feel like they want to help you move up, unless you can find a similar job at a different place that can boost you up a title and pay you more. But if they don't like you enough to promote you within the company, then you'll have to find another company and move up that way. Eventually, to be successful and get promotions and good stuff and pay raises and everything you deserve, you have to pick a job opportunity where you think you and the manager will have a very good relationship and can be a mentor. And that's not easy to find.
posted by anniecat at 4:42 PM on February 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


Jesus, the first line is not "yet you're making careers you aren't suited for your targets. "

I mean "You're targeting careers that you maybe aren't really suited for, personality-wise."
posted by anniecat at 4:44 PM on February 3, 2011


Now, you say you have crippling social anxiety and can't network effortlessly because of it, yet you're making careers you aren't suited for your targets. I'm not surprised you haven't been promoted at these places; it's their way of telling you they don't want you.

I never said crippling social anxiety, I merely said social anxiety. Which is a result of ten years of failure and the last few years of fully manageable with meds and therapy but currently untreated due to my lack of benefits depression, to be quite honest. I hardly expect networking to be effortless. I know it takes work. I can handle work. I am actually very outgoing when I am NOT at the end of my rope, and have been successful in my non-profit and marketing/pr jobs, unfortunately they didn't GO anywhere because of the financial limitations of the organizations -- couldn't afford to make a part-time position full-time, etc. I guess I have just had bad luck.

If volunteering isn't a sufficient form of networking, what do you recommend?

Jacqueline, thanks for the links.
posted by urania at 5:02 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's that marketing, PR, and being a CEO of a nonprofit (which demands lots of schmoozing and charisma to get ppl to open their wallets and donate) don't gel with having social anxiety, depression, and lack of confidence.

I used to make a boatload of money at doing those things, and I experience all of those issues. It is harder when the schmoozing doesn't come easy, but not impossible.

The thing is to create your unique selling proposition. Pursuing free training might be a good start, even though it adds another task to what probably already feels like an exhausting, underpaid work week.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:16 PM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


You sound really frustrated, OP.

I never said crippling social anxiety, I merely said social anxiety.
I am actually very outgoing when I am NOT at the end of my rope,


But the problem is that you kind of ARE at the end of your rope, and trying to advance in a highly competitive market. I think that's what anniecat was pointing out. So it's no wonder you don't have the social energy to invest in these positions that require social energy. It's possible this frustration you are showing here is being picked up by potential employers, and, well, giving you the desperation stink.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You might find it beneficial to free yourself of the constraints you are trying to shove yourself in (not changing location, etc.), and look at the problem again. You are seeking fulfillment through the solution of a better, more suitable job. Break that down: you are seeking fulfillment. Is a certain sort of job only in NYC the only way to get that?
posted by griselda at 5:29 PM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have a feeling that what I say here is going to be ignored, but what the heck I am trying to procrastinate from completing my own work project right now (temporary entertainment for me).

The CV/resume is just a tool, and one part of toolkit. At the moment, if you are being paid the salary that you suggest, your resume may automatically put you back in the pile, so something about that CV/resume needs to change, but we will talk about that in a minute.

I have also had a really, really hard time networking at many times in my life. I don’t want to bother people and I feel like an idiot (perhaps I can come close in terms of anxiety). Here is what you can do, but YMMV

Instead of thinking “well,my anxiety and depression are going to stop me, I will not do options A-M” –look at your unique strengths, weaknesses, and work around finding a way what you need to do. So for example, I, too, would hate calling up a stranger or talking to someone that I don’t know. However ,there are other tools available to find people to connect with. Linkedin is great (for me). Or maybe look into your university and see if they have a list of your former classmates in your area (or other alumni). I actually resorted to google when I wanted to shift into a new career and googled “desired job title” plus “common trait” plus “NYC” to find people. So generate your list of people that do what you want to do. Now email them (it doesn’t take any bravery whatsoever..they will ignore you if they don’t want to help). I usually said something along the lines of “I also have X. I am interested in learning more about your job and ways to get a similar job. We both share X in common (perhaps your alumn/Uni?). Would you be interested in talking to me – at your preference – email, phone call (10 or 20 minutes only), or meeting in person…whatever you prefer. Lots of pple replied; think about it, a lot of people do want to help. You are not asking them for days of activity, just limited time. Plus you are curious about what they do and the info they have – how can that not be flattering? I’m saying all this to help change your mindset about why you can’t network and at least reach out by email.

Now why it is really important to network. These are just a few reasons:

1) You need to really know if their job is or is not for you. Some of the jobs you mention already probably are earning a similar salary to what you have now (and what of the posters does in fact say that). When you talk to the person on the phone or in person, do ask about daily life at work and salary (or a range). I did this before and believe me, I eliminated some jobs based on this research. Also, from what you describe, some of those jobs may be a poor fit for you.

2) How do you position your CV/resume. Okay, your CV is not just “wow, nice typing, words…tada, you are hired” – HR people may weed you out (or in) based on keywords. People who do the job that you want to do can tell you this (key words taht soemone will want to see, or format). Believe me, I did get a new job several years ago from having these conversations with people. I did ask a few of the pple that I met in person to glance at my Cv and let me know the format for the desired industry.

3) They need to see a face…and it may open a door. I’m not putting you down, but do look carefully where you are right now. Your CV probably says “I can only earn X, and do these basic skills.” You probably have the potential to do more and possibly the passion for other areas. If someone meets you, they will remember that …and someone will point to you and give you a break. Perhaps someone will say “OP went to this uni, too, and said that she is interested in this job.”

4) You do need to get into the door during an interview. Conversing with strangers helped me practice a bit so I came across a bit stronger in interviews. Just enough to make small talk and look bold for a few hours.

I’m not criticizing, but just another point of view. You have to think outside the box or someone will throw you and put you in a box, especially if you do the same thing the same way over and over and over again. So I would consider the other points of view in here.

Your response seems harsh to one of the posters above, and that poster had a very valid point. For that reason, I'm not reading any followups, but it will be hard for pple to help you if this is your response. Why argue with everyone? Either try these things, or ignore the ones that don't apply.

Back to work for this puppy - but I do wish you good luck, OP, in all honesty, in whatever it is you are seeking.


posted by Wolfster at 5:32 PM on February 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I guess I have just had bad luck.

Possibly. But you're arguing with people who are trying to help you here, which is...problematic. And which I imagine comes from the "feeling like crap about myself" place. It sounds like you need to focus on getting right with yourself. It seems unlikely that the personal issues are not getting in the way here, and fixing them will have to come before getting right with the career. (Speaking from some experience -- really, there is not an alternative to taking one's lumps after having derailed thanks to depression. You will be a bit behind your peers for a bit, but so what?)
posted by kmennie at 5:41 PM on February 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


I can't help you find a job (sorry) and I definitely believe that depression should be treated by a professional (which you seem to have already covered) but I would recommend that you read the book "Mindset" by Carol Dweck.

This book has revolutionized my thinking about what failure is. I have been searching for a permanent job for over 5 years now. I have had moments of feeling like a failure, but I'm trying hard to change my mindset and learn to grow from my failed attempts at finding a job.

Good luck!
posted by achmorrison at 5:44 PM on February 3, 2011


I have always dismissed What Color is your Parachute? as being too obvious/corny, but I am reading it right now, and let me tell you - it really sounds like it might be useful for you to go pick up a copy from the library and sit down and read it, or parts of it.

The best part to me is the advice about interviewing - which is stuff that is sort of obvious, but it's great to have it all in one place in clear way, basically: here is what the hiring person is thinking. Here's what they want to hear from you. Here's how to craft a clear, positive story that you can tell about your own skills. etc

He does say that having a good resume and cover letter are just first steps, and unlikely to yield a job by themselves. He has a few concrete proposals for networking and trying to sniff out places that might be hiring.

He walks through how you can figure out what types of jobs you want to be looking for, and in the process this helps to develop a little narrative of your own strengths and preferences and so on.

He also gives a good pep talk, and it sounds from your question as if you -- like so many of us -- could use a good pep talk. I'm sorry you're going through this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:18 PM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am actually very outgoing when I am NOT at the end of my rope, and have been successful in my non-profit and marketing/pr jobs, unfortunately they didn't GO anywhere because of the financial limitations of the organizations -- couldn't afford to make a part-time position full-time, etc. I guess I have just had bad luck.

If volunteering isn't a sufficient form of networking, what do you recommend?


If you were successful at those jobs, then maybe you can ask your previous managers for recommendations and see if they have heard of any openings. Surely they know people in the same fields.

Another thing you can do is be a freelance PR/marketing person. There are probably loads of websites that have job offerings for that online. Do that on the side (like writing press releases or writing copy or whatever) and say you've been freelancing when you interview for full-time positions.

But in all honesty, I think you should go to a community college and do coursework in accounting or something that isn't flooded with everybody with a 2.7 in Communications. Most people without competitive degrees go into marketing communications and public relations and advertising, and there are tons and tons of those people because it doesn't require a lot of training and it looks fun.

I used to make a boatload of money at doing those things, and I experience all of those issues. It is harder when the schmoozing doesn't come easy, but not impossible.

Sure, but the difference between you and the poster is that you made boatloads of money doing it and your hard work paid off. You might be socially anxious but something about you not only enabled you to get the jobs, but also make a boatload of money. You're probably just instantly lovable=)
posted by anniecat at 6:43 PM on February 3, 2011


I dug up my notes from my own career counseling sessions and here are some ideas for you:

- Articulate the type of role you want. Be able to state your goal in two sentences and develop a 30-second "commercial" (for when people say "what do you do/want to do"). Create a "brand" for yourself. This could include developing a personal website, blog or LinkedIn profile. It's handy to be able to say, "here's my website, here's what I can do."
- Maintain your own network. Get on LinkedIn, reconnect with former employers, let everyone know you're looking. On LinkedIn, recommend people you've worked with and try to get people to recommend you in return.
- Have a list of target companies (and take steps to meet people who work there)
- Do informational interviews. Tap into your alumni database and look for people who are working in your field of interest. Don't go in looking for a job, but just try to get some ideas and contacts.
- Attend meetups and events at professional organizations in your area of interest. Don't be a "panhandler" at these events, just go in with the goal of meeting people. The goal should be to create mutually beneficial relationships, if possible. Think about what you might have to offer. Maybe that includes volunteering or assisting with outreach efforts. For example, I manage events and do a lot of grassroots outreach. I'm always sending announcements to people and hoping they'll spread the word. The simple act of forwarding an invitation to your network could be a great help to a non-profit.

The other major thing I learned from the career counseling was that merely sending off resumes and cover letters is the hardest way to get a job. The counselor said that you need to think like the employer.
This is how most companies would prefer to hire a new employee:
1. Hire somebody who's already worked for you (as an intern or volunteer).
2. Hire somebody you've worked with on a project (maybe from a partner organization, etc.)
3. Hire somebody you know, but who hasn't worked for you.
4. Hire somebody another employee knows and can recommend.
5. Hire somebody you've never worked with and do not know.

Going through cold resumes is usually the least preferred way to hire someone new. So if you're only doing this, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage. It's not impossible. Resumes and cover letters are still very important. But you'll want to try to targeting certain companies and making yourself known to them.

I'm job hunting and this stuff is a huge challenge for me. I'm not saying it's easy at all. But it's what any career coach would tell you.
posted by pourtant at 8:13 PM on February 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


Age, and education wise, we're identical. I'm also 33 with a BA in English. I spent my first 5 years out of school working in the retail book/rare book trade. It was pretty enjoyable, but the pay was terrible and there was more or less no chance advancement or it turning into a "career".

I had a friend who had been working at a Public Relations firm, and was able to get me an interview. Basically, all the things you learn getting an English degree (reading well, comprehending, analyzing, writing) are the skills needed to work in PR. Although I never had any formal training, I've always been a big computer geek, so I knew my way around a keyboard. I scored an entry level PR job, at that firm.

The first two years were tough. The pay was low, and the hours they expect at a PR firm when you first start are pretty brutal. However, I found the work fascinating, I was never bored, and I learned a LOT of usable skills really quickly. After two years, I jumped to another firm, at a higher level. The pay was better, the hours were great, the work was interesting and there were a lot of perks (travel to places you actually want to visit, tickets, clothes).

At this point I've been doing PR for 7 years, I'm a partner at a small firm, and I really enjoy the work and have reached a place where the pay is pretty decent. From what you've explained, I don't think it is unrealistic to think you could score an entry level PR job with the skills you have. As long as you think of the first 1-2 years, as a learning period, with the idea you'll move up, you should be fine.

I say go for it. I was in the exact same situation as you, and it worked really well. I'm also in the NYC area, so send me a message and I can point you in the right direction. Best of luck.
posted by EvilPRGuy at 8:22 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get how my CV and cover letter are "irrelevant," KokuRyu.

As marketing tools, they do little to differentiate you from anyone else. The human element does.

I'm not a big fan of volunteering as a way to get a job, mainly because people usually do volunteering wrong. They volunteer to man the registration table at a conference. Prospective employers see them sitting down and doing grunt work. Meh. People also volunteer several times a week at what they hope is a prospective employer, thereby devaluing their work.

If you are going to volunteer, do it in small chunks, and make sure whatever you do as a volunteer is valuable. Create a marketing strategy. Create a project plan. Do fundraising (that's the best way to get a job). Just don't hold the door open or answer the phone.

Of course you can do the menial things as a volunteer if your chief concern is helping the org, but in this case your chief concern is getting a job. Brand yourself as what you want to make money doing.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:27 PM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does the career center of your alma mater offer its services to alums? Many do.
posted by oceano at 8:38 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Late to the conversation, but FWIW: I found Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters to be a great asset.

And even though you already have an idea of what your 'dream job' would be, don't rule anything out. I'm always amazed at how many stories I hear of people who take a job they know little about and end up loving it. There are a number of positions that could be a great fit for your passions, interests and skills in fields you're not considering, and possibly not even aware of yet.
posted by blazingunicorn at 5:29 PM on February 4, 2011


I am NOT at the end of my rope, and have been successful in my non-profit and marketing/pr jobs, unfortunately they didn't GO anywhere because of the financial limitations of the organizations -- couldn't afford to make a part-time position full-time, etc. I guess I have just had bad luck.

If you want to let someone go quietly and without a fuss, you simply put a time limit on a job, renewable if more money is available, and then explain that the money isn't available for the position to continue at the end of that time period. I'm not saying this is DEFINITELY what happens to you all the time, but you have to be willing to at least consider that possibility.

But if you really were successful at those non-profit/marketing jobs, then you should speak with your old employers and ask if they have any recommendations about any other open positions in the industry. Certainly they would want to help out a colleague of theirs by sending a successful employee like you in his/her direction.

My dream job would be working as a project manager for a nonprofit, even a project assistant. Or working in marketing and public relations, even starting out as an assistant.

Ask yourself why these are your dream jobs. You sound like this has been your focus for quite a while, but it obviously hasn't worked out. Consider something else. I know a lot of people with a good 10 years of experience under their belt in the non-profit sector and, honestly, I can't say I'm so impressed with their career trajectory. Ponder where you see yourself. Get in touch with your alma mater's career counseling office and consider something outside the non-profit sector-- seriously. My suspicion is that the "culture" of your academic background fed people into the non-profit sector, so even though it wasn't necessarily a good "fit" for you, you went in that direction because that's what "all" your successful peers did. Try to look outside of that box.
posted by deanc at 1:00 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


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