I graduated with an M.A. in English and through luck, contracting, and family connections, came to work in nuclear power. My administrative role has changed to field work. I prefer office work, especially writing reports etc. My area in nuclear is very specialized, and due to downsizing in the industry, I feel a real need to get familiar with my prospects for other jobs and diversify my skills. However, I have no idea how to begin, research being one of my weak points. Long explanation + details inside.
posted by glass.hourousha to Work & Money (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Background: In college, I got an English B.A. and M.A. Barring a career as a writer of fantasy fiction, I wanted to use my writing and communication abilities in a workplace atypical of an English graduate (not academia, publishing, teaching, or journalism) to build a financially strong career.
Currently, I work in nuclear power. At first, I did good deal of writing, not in an official role so much as a helping position. Usually reports and other writing projects are added to someone else’s already-massive workload, while independent writing positions are usually contract only. The writing contractors also have 10+ years of experience. I’m nowhere near their level, having just started with the field work that informs the reports’ contents.
Now I’m in the field getting qualified in a multitude of technical tasks. Even when I am no longer new to them, I expect I will always have to put in extra effort, that I will always worry and wonder. My supervisors have all said that I needed field experience in order to write the reports I aspired to. They were right.
I’d like to go back to more office-based work, but I don’t think I can do it here for a long time. Any office work I do will surely be paired with tech work. It also concerns me that nuclear, particularly my department, is very specialized. I survived our most recent downsizing, but there will be others. If I needed another job, it would have to be at another nuclear plant, which I consider limiting.
What I want:
I feel a real need to get familiar with my prospects for other jobs and diversify my skills. However, I have no idea how to begin. I’ve never had a self-directed, “traditional” job search (resumes and networking) that culminated in gainful employment. My nuke power position was helped largely from having family already working there. It is my first “real” job with benefits etc.
Despite my degrees, research is one of my weak points. What I really need is a Big Catalog that tells me company names, what they do, and what kind of people they employ. There must be a more methodical, effective way than dartboarding Google (even if it’s just refining the way I search). If you can share research techniques with me, that would be huge. I’d be so grateful.
Note: I’m fine with branching out from writing to more computer-type work such as scheduling software or Excel.
I’d happily consider the following (or similar) fields: technology (Google, software, apps), construction, chemical/fossil plants, biotech, medical, or law. Obviously I’ll do the ones most like nuke power first in the hope of transferring some skills.
If you have specific companies, job titles, or general fields, I want to hear them.
Also, what can I do on my own to make myself more desirable for the kind of position I want (office work vs field work, writing is a bonus)? Things I’m already doing/on the list
read what color is your parachute
read technical writer websites online, metafilter threads
increase Excel skills
Thank you very much for your input! Please feel free to email for more details.
My education and work experience
B.A. and M.A. in English.
Writer: Independently published fantasy novel, published short stories.
Industrial housekeeper: bathrooms, office spaces, rooms with delicate machinery
Various safety roles: Firewatch. Foreign materials exclusion logkeeper. Hole watch. Email for details.
Office roles: Receptionist duties. Organized/filed paperwork, making sure it’s filled out correctly. Time keeping. Inventories. Took meeting minutes. Data entry.
Writing: Contributed department articles for site newsletter. Assisted with reports on departmental goals, problems, performance indicators. Designed Power Point presentations for Continuing Improvement program. Formatted and edited procedures.
Current nuke power field work. Email me for details. I’m being vague in case I have co-workers on metafilter, which I doubt, but you never know.
Also, I enjoy computers, though I only have a basic user knowledge (Word and other software). In college, I took C programming.