Help a generalist in a specialist economy
January 8, 2008 11:57 PM Subscribe
Help this jack-of-some-trades find a job.
posted by McBearclaw to work & money (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
So, I'm graduating with a Master's degree in sociology this May (God willing). I enjoy teaching, and I enjoy research; but I really, really don't want to go through the grind of being a professor. I don't have the passion to justify working my ass off for four more years in order to do it for another six just to get tenure. So I'm exploring my options. Right now, it looks like I'm pretty well-groomed for a research job at a for- or non-profit org (market or evaluation research, for example). But the people I'm around - all career sociologists - aren't much help here; they've never done it, so they just don't know.
I turn to you, O hivemind. What jobs might I be suited for? Bonus points if you are someone who has actually hired/worked with someone with my qualifications. Demerits if you say "government" without specifying something cool.
Here's my background: I did my undergraduate work in Political Science, which I loved - but I was fairly satisfied after the BA because I realized that nobody was going to let me start designing governments. I passed the US Foreign Service Written Exam without studying, but flunked the oral exam.
After I graduated, I switched to sociology to start studying human organization in a more general sense. I also love this stuff, and have learned a lot about the parallels and differences between economic and political structures.
But (thankfully for my employability) I've also picked up some good practical skills in the last two years. I've taken classes in both quantitative and qualitative methods, and am completing a minor in Statistics. I've also taken some community and regional planning classes, including a bit of GIS work.
Wait, there's more! I'm fluent in Spanish, although a bit rusty. I'm also somewhat technologically competent: I've built my own PCs, set up secure home networks, and know how to use Office, Access, some Photoshop and Premiere, ArcGIS, and SPSS (although I can squeak by in SAS). I also know a little bit about relational databases, and enough Visual Basic to write myself a browser that extracted and loaded URLs from an Excel file, then returned typed input to the same file. I've taught discussion sections and am pretty comfortable in front of groups (even without PowerPoint!).
I love universities, and would be happy to work at one, but they seem like the least likely place ever for someone with just an MS to get a job - too many damn grad students and PhDs running around. I'd also love to work somewhere that keeps challenging me, and where moving up means learning new skills as well as honing old ones. I'm definitely not opposed to more schooling (eg, I would love to get another degree in stats, CRP, geography, or computer sci), but that's further down the line.
I'm not sure what this all adds up to, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for tolerating my verbosity. Feel free to ask for clarification or MeFiMail me.