A few months back, I wrote this question
about what kind of job I should be shooting for as a recent graduate with a master's degree and a few years of experience. Well, I recently finished my program and began job hunting a bit more intensely. Currently, I have a number of jobs in the works, although none of them feel like "perfect" options. Actually, I am not really sure what a perfect option would look like. My ideas about what I want to do with my life have generally been fluctuating wildly lately.
Anyway, because of this, I have kind of been taking a shot gun approach to applying for jobs. The job in question is for an organization that I really respect and have felt for a long time is doing really good work, for a department whose work that I find particularly interesting and kind of dovetails nicely with some of the research I was doing the past year or two. However, it is a lower level job that is probably about the same amount of responsibility as the position I held before graduate school, and is largely administrative. After stalking people on linkedin who had held the position before, it is apparent that I definitely have more experience and education than they did.
So far, I have had a phone screen with the HR person, and yesterday a shorter conversation with the department head. The theme of both of these conversations was "this is a largely administrative job, are you okay with that?" I feel like I did okay answering that question with the HR woman, saying that I was not sure if I wanted to do more program management/administration type work or more research/advocacy type work (which is what the organization does a bit of and part of the reason I am interested in the organization) and so thought this position might be a way to look into both at the same time. And in fact, that is the truth. In all reality, I don't know what exactly I want to do with myself. I have done both research and administration in the past and have enjoyed both of them. After having just finished my graduate degree, a part of me yearns for more substantive work, and would like to get back into the research side of things, but that is just how I have been feeling this past week - and a couple of days ago even, I was considering applying for an entirely administrative job and it seemed appealing to me. Before I went into grad school, I was doing administration and thought that that was what I wanted to do with my life, or what fit me best.
So, sorry about the long explanation, but I guess that the bottom line is: I am ambivalent about what I want to do with my life and what kind of job to pursue. The work of the department that this job would be supporting is super interesting to me, and I would stick around for at least a year or two if I got the job, I think, though I also think it is possible that I would feel frustrated with not having higher-level work after being at the position for a while.
In the interview yesterday, I was told right off the bat that I was one of the top candidates. Then we had a pretty nice discussion about the work of the department, although in retrospect I am kind of unhappy with a few of my responses to the questions posed, or think they could have been better. I am also a bit worried that I gave off the impression that I was less than enthusiastic about the administrative side of the job, which the interviewer asked about a couple of times. I gave him the same explanation that I gave the HR person, but he asked a couple more times in different ways about this and I feel like I was only able to muster a monotone, "That's fine, I am fine with that." He did say that they would be in touch shortly about the next steps in the process, so maybe I didn't completely bomb the interview, but I have been feeling like it could have gone better.
Anyway, I was considering sending a "thank-you" note. Do you think this is a good idea? If so, what would you suggest putting in it?
Also, okay, bonus question: in this situation, assuming that the process continues, what kinds of questions should I ask to gauge if there will be any chance for upward mobility after I have spent a while in this position? And how can I ask more about what kind of substantive work this position might be doing without sounding like I have a problem with the lower-level admin work?