Tag: research

Where’s my job?

If you’ve read any of my posts lately, you likely know that I recently completed a PhD program and I’m currently looking for a job.

I’ve read much of the employment research and I purposely tailor every cover letter and resume to each position. I also apply to positions that I believe I would actually enjoy doing, in places that I wouldn’t mind living.

I assist others with writing cover letters, resumes, CVs quite often; yet, my supplemental application materials needed some serious help!!! It’s extremely difficult for me to highlight myself in a succinct way.

To combat this issue, I started reading my cover letters, CV, and resumes as if they belonged to someone else…someone I was assisting with presenting their best self to an employer! I know it may be strange, but this has definitely helped me write better supplemental materials.

Now I know that the materials I am submitting in this phase of applications are quality and they highlight me! As I’ve told you before – I am great!

I know, I know, you wonder how do I struggle to highlight my best self and fit for a position when I constantly remind my readers that I am great on this blog? It’s quite simple really, my blog posts are really informal and although there’s a chance that employment can arise from this sphere – that’s not the intended purpose!

Plus I absolutely love writing and the idea that someone, somewhere is reading my thoughts is quite flattering, to say the least!!!

Back to my job search…as you may know I’m acutely interested in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in higher education, access to higher education, and social justice and diversity related issues as a whole and believe it or not my job search highlights some of my interests.

I’ll explain in a moment; however, it’s imperative that I point out that when I think of underrepresented groups, diversity, social justice; I think that these constructs are dynamic. I believe these constructs are dynamic because for instance, depending on where you are located who is underrepresented in higher education changes. Also I believe that there are many types of diversity and the construct is short changed when we only focus on one aspect of diversity and/or social justice.

Of course, as a researcher I’m well aware that in order to complete a project scientists often have to pinpoint particular characteristics to study…however…it’s important that we remember that there’s more to these constructs than our operational definitions.

Ok so I’m always good for a detour! Now back to how my job search highlights issues of access to higher education and etc!

It goes without saying that I apparently had access to higher education since I have a PhD so that’s not my point.

Sigh! This is not one of those arguments lol!

As you’ve read, I’m living in the rural town of my youth in Midwestern USA. One of five of the adults in this town live below the poverty line and less than 12% of the population has attained a bachelors degree or higher.

Why does this matter? You may ask and what does it have to do with my job search and/or higher education access?

If you’re so inclined take a moment to get to know the population demographics of an area and then examine the type of jobs available in the area. Take it a step further and look at the types of education available in the area. Then ask yourself is this related to access issues? And if you had a PhD in said region, what type of job is available to you?

Even when I look at some social mobility programs, they often cater to more urban areas with less infrastructure issues to combat. Unlike the rural area in which I call home, many of these areas that receive an influx of services, programs to improve social mobility have existing resources to address transportation issues and they actually have high speed internet access!

I do not have the answers of how to serve my community with my education while still making a modest income. I’m not sure if there’s a job in this area for me, but I definitely want to use my skills to help my hometown in some way. Even if that means I will join in with others who are researching higher education access and the rural communities.

Where’s my job? I don’t know, but I know that it’s out there!

Illness and Doctoral Programs

Since I reached my adult years, I’ve had only one career goal in mind…I wanted to be a researcher. I wanted to research how diversity was included in helping professions, I see this as an important topic because helping professionals work with a diverse population. Technical skills and knowledge are not enough and it is my belief that curriculum in helping professions historically focused heavily on the techniques and a little on the people who will receive treatment.

I wanted to become a researcher, so I pursued an advanced degree…in other words I am currently in a doctoral program.

This is great, the education level leads directly to the type of career that I have desired for years; however, I am also chronically ill.

This is problematic, very problematic. I am considered an enlightened thinker by many of my professors, peers, family and friends. It is not shocking for me to be told that my writing is superb and the way that I “think” is unique…it is thought that I would be a valuable asset to the research world.

But I am chronically ill…many of the illnesses that invade my body are exacerbated by stress. Remember I am in a doctoral program, and regardless of discipline, this level of education prides itself on being stressful. I am quite certain that many may disagree with me as to the stressfulness of doctoral programs. For a fact, there is likely some who feel that these programs are only stressful to those who are not quite cut out for it. Bear with me for a moment, I am not suggesting that doctoral programs are stress filled but trust me when I suggest that they are stressful.

Doctoral programs are stressful because they venture away from the normative education process that we grow up with. You reach a point in a doctoral program where you develop your research agenda by creating a project. This project should add to the existing literature in whatever your topical area may be. Additionally, you are supposed to use the knowledge acquired through coursework in this project.

There is nothing wrong with that…but I am chronically ill. Doctoral programs are difficult for individuals without illness, but I am chronically ill. Remember, I have the intellect, willingness, and the grit to complete the doctoral program and I am certain that anyone exposed to me would agree…but I am chronically ill.

My chronic illnesses makes my journey through the doctoral program difficult and makes me question what I want to do for a career. I have always wanted to be a researcher, one who researches how helping professions can improve services through education.

I am chronically ill; however, I am determined to find a way to have the career I dreamed of. My chronic illnesses teaches me adaptability daily…doctoral programs are not designed with me (and the many like me) in mind; however someone (why not me?) must make a path for those to come.

Soon I will finish my doctoral degree, but I will never forget the challenges caused by my chronic illness throughout this process. Now my research agenda has expanded to include ways to improve the process of receiving and utilizing doctoral degrees for those like myself who are otherwise qualified, but chronically ill, disabled.

I will likely always be chronically ill, since at this time there is no cure, but I am undefined by illness alone.