TL;DR in advance: English MA grad, wondering what to do with his life. A lot
posted by exlotuseater to Work & Money (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I am in my later thirties, and went back to college after years of being a sort of Iohannes fac totum (metalworker, woodworker, salesman, theater tech., waitstaff, retail, you name it). I finished an AA, then BA, then I earned an MA in English, and was very involved with the English department at my university. I taught Comp. and Rhet. and was a Grad Assistant for a couple years. I excelled in that environment—it was a really supportive department, with brilliant teachers, and a sense of collegiality I haven’t found elsewhere. (I have been in school for the past eight years, non-stop.)
Then, I thought, “I love teaching! I should be a teacher!” So I went for another Master’s—this time for Secondary Education. I am almost finished with the program, and recently had a very, very bad experience with student teaching. I certainly own part of that, but I had a “mentor” who was unhelpful, unsupportive, and it devolved into naked hostility at the end. It was enough to move me to pull out temporarily for the semester with the intention (maybe) of returning in the spring.
But this whole experience has attuned me to some messages that I was not maybe aware of before, and I don’t know that I do want to teach public school. I loved teaching at the university, but I am older, and the PhD track isn’t for me, I don’t think. (I missed that boat, job outlook is really bleak for humanities, etc.) I don’t think that I can live comfortably on an adjunct’s salary.
I do proofreading and copyediting on the side, but that’s not an established business—it’s really been work for colleagues and friends, though I might be able to expand. Despite the disjointed nature of this question (writing as process?) I write and communicate very well in general, and could work in any job that required me to write copy or be creative with language. (I wish I could make money off of poetry!)
Another piece of the puzzle is that I live with my SO, we’ve been together for 7 years, and she is essentially doing the exact same thing as I am, only one semester behind. She is finishing up her degree and currently working as an adjunct. We both are coming to the realization that we have a lot of misgivings about public education (as a failing/failed system, teaching within that system, and all of the other “stuff” that is part of teaching.)
We joke about running a small press together (like Leonard and Ginny Woolf!) but honestly, I do not know what to DO with my life. (my SO either!) We’re night-owls, we like flexibility (but we’re open to “regular” 9 to 5 jobs), we are in love and want to make a life together. We are really smart people—we’re simply unsure how to direct those smarts. We obviously do not have to do the same thing, but I’m including this because I think it may potentially open up suggestions to things we can both do, as a team.
There are a lot of people on MeFi that have cool and interesting jobs, and many who have similar educational backgrounds. I’m hoping some of you can help guide me (and maybe my SO) in the right direction! (I'll be stopping in to respond and clarify, and will take any private responses via MeMail, if people want to respond that way)