what are some steps that I can take towards my ideal career set-up?
September 26, 2014 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I have an idea of what I think would be my ideal career set up (involving social, ethnographic and/or market research in China) , but am not too clear on the next steps to take. Can you help?

Recently it dawned on me that there is a career situation I would love to have. It goes like this:

I travel to/live in China for several months (no more than half the year) where I interview various Chinese people on a certain cultural or lifestyle topic (perhaps for ethnographic, social or market research). I then translate and write up a report (s) about my interviews and research- this part does not have to be done in China, so I could return to the U.S. to do it, or perhaps another country. This would be done independently, something like a freelance or contract basis (i.e. I wouldn't be working in a corporate office environment and having 9-5 office hours, but I don't have a problem with collaborating with others or writing the reports for clients).

I believe I have the skill set/experience for this- 9 years spent working and studying in Mainland China, fluent Mandarin, and several years' experience as a translator and now interpreter. I enjoy talking to people, especially one-on-one. I also am decent at writing and enjoy it. I have a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology.

What I am not sure of is how I could look into this, where I would look, how to apply, etc. I know that people do this kind of research for graduate degrees, but I don't really want to enroll in a whole program and take classes in order to be able to do this work- but if you think applying for a graduate degree is the best way, feel free to let me know.

Otherwise, if any MeFites can think of companies, institutions, organizations, fellowships, etc, etc, to contact, or any other methods or ways to be able to do this kind of work, hopefully in the context of the situation I outlined above, I would be very grateful!
posted by bearette to Work & Money (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have a friend who did exactly what you describe for her PhD. She got it in political science from Sciences Po, I think, but I can imagine you could find similar research work in any number of PhD programs.

Not sure this is the best/only way, but it's definitely one surefire way.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 12:58 PM on September 26, 2014

Best answer: I know several people who do this type of research in the U.S. for design firms. They have varied backgrounds; I think there's a chance you could get this type of job without another degree. Here's an example of a current job listing with one U.S.-based design firm, IDEO, in Shanghai. That particular job asks for experience, though (no particular degree, however). You might try reaching out to a smaller firm like this one to see if you could get some contract work to begin with.
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:05 PM on September 26, 2014

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