JOB SEEKERS: Watch This Space!
Over the course of discussions on the Patch and in day-to-day communications, employment continues to be a key issue. There continue to be a number out of work who need jobs, and the job market has morphed dramatically in my over 40 years of work life (I’ll soon be 60). Elders among us who have decided they want or need to return to the working world will find employment practices have changed considerably. On the one hand, you have online instant access to information about thousands and thousands of jobs. On the other hand, for every job posted, there may be hundreds, if not thousands of candidates applying. How do you stand out to get an interview, and, if selected, what do you need to be prepared to do?
You may be wondering why this topic is important to me. The child of divorced parents, my father regularly took me to museums as a little girl. They were free, educational, and gave us some place to spend quality time together. I grew up loving museums and, after nearly two decades working in a for-profit corporation, I gave serious consideration to seeking employment in the museum world. I joined a discussion group with museum professionals and aficionados and was regularly amazed by the information they shared on things like preservation and archiving. I considered seeking employment in development. I had both hands-on experience and training received online and through coursework at UCLA, Citrus, and PCC. But I found the market narrow; it required a hyper abundance of education, and minimal compensation. Accordingly, I sought and acquired employment elsewhere, but stayed in touch with my museum friends.
Then 9/11 hit. You may recall planes were grounded, and people were suddenly afraid to fly. The tourism industry tanked dramatically, and visitation and support of museums declined at a rapid pace. People I had grown to love were suddenly faced with trying to find ways to sustain their organizations and themselves. In addition, competition was stiff because colleges and universities continued to crank out fresh batches of students on a regular basis. Students in the arts quickly learn you work in that profession because you love what you do, not for the money. College debt is high, and ramen often becomes the staple for many an aspiring museum professional. The job search often takes up to 2 years, if not longer.
My friends were struggling. I wanted to help. I had studied employment topics on the path to a job transition and had info to share. As the need grew, I became something I never aspired to be, a list mom. I created an online group for museum personnel and encouraged them to follow. They were provided direct and indirect leads (an indirect lead allows you to learn and/or sustain some of the skills necessary to work in a museum while doing something else so that you get paid and can pay down that egregious college debt, put a roof over your head, and can afford more ramen). I did so knowing some people would opt to stay in the other type of employment, leaving the museum jobs for those who would consider nothing else. I expanded the search data to include planetaria, aquaria, zoos, libraries, state parks, universities, archaeology, anthropology, and more.
If you build it, they will come. Where once I marveled when there were 100 on list, 10 years later, there are more than 3800 members. Educational institutions send their students to MuseJobs such that, at the start of college sessions, we get a fresh infusion of members. Some stay till they find a job and return on the quest for the next. I was asked to speak on the topic of employment at a museum conference that was canceled at last minute due to a little inconvenience known as a major hurricane. Though it has been suggested I should, I never charge for this pro bono service, and I never will. I am also blessed to have a couple of great assistants who contribute regularly, and my co-moderator is from the University of Leicester in England (we have members in the US, Canada, and UK). Some institutions regularly post their listings directly. The best notes I receive are those from grateful members who, at long last, have successfully been placed, thanking my nom de plume because I largely do this anonymously.
I am not an expert in human resources but, through life, training, and experience with our vets and people from the disabled community, I have acquired a wealth of knowledge on the subject of employment and, over the course of the next few days or weeks (depending upon my ability to compile the data), I plan to share it with you so that if you or those you love are in need of employment, it will help. If you have high school and/or college students in your purview, please share with them. Some of these are tips I wish I had known starting out.
Subjects I plan to cover in this thread include:
Where to look
How to read a job ad
Negotiating a job offer
Hiring the Disabled
Filing for unemployment
Stumping Your Own Search
When to look again
Please check back in that there may be additional topics as the thread unfolds.
And now, for your first morsel, here is info I received in a tweet this week (@Indigo_Nights). It’s about a job fair to be held in Duarte. I have no more info on this one than provided.
Get Back to Work Job Fair @ Comm. Ctr, 9/9/12, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm. Free & Open to the public. Some 20 employers on-site. 100’s of jobs.
If you have questions about employment and would like them answered, please include them in the comments section, and, if I can, I will try to get you an answer or give you the best experience based opinion on hiring. Perhaps there are others with additional expertise who can chime in. But please do the job seekers a favor, and include comments about politics or other distractors in another thread. We all have opinions as to why things are as they are. There are friends and neighbors who need our help. This is intended for that audience.
LOOK FOR THE NEXT THREAD IN THE TOPIC: Where to Look for a Job!