Friday, January 11, 2013

What's My Plan B?

In my last post, I discussed the "adjuncting" life and why it might not be sustainable for me (and isn't sustainable for many). This issue is one that has been addressed in articles, such as "No More Plan B," which suggest that a PhD may lead not only to the academic/research route and that institutions of higher learning should start training their students for alternatives. Basically, (as many law school grads have found out in the past few years in their own field) there are lots of people holding doctorates and few available teaching positions.  Now, for those in the sciences, such as Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory, private companies come calling, but what of those of us in the liberal arts? I give you my own many plan B's:

1. Copy editor. Did you know I wrote "Become a professional copy editor" and, then, realized that it was too wordy and struck out three of them? Obviously, copy editor material. Plus, even though my grammar is not flawless, I must be better than a lot of people. I'm at least better than autocorrect

2. Paralegal. I did this job for a few years during and right after college. I could probably do it again.

3. Episcopal priest. Now, this position would require lots more schooling and I think I'd have to live away from home to go to seminary (none seem to be local), but I could be a copy editor or paralegal until the girls go off to college and, then, enroll. Also, I would need to convert.

4. Historical Fact-Checker for TV/Movies. I'm actually not very good at historical specifics, but I have a lot of friends who are and I think they'd help me if I went to them with a question. There is always google and wikipedia.

5. Stylist. I used to cut my friends' hair in college. One of them told me that when he became rich (direct quote about his post-graduation plans, "Fly like a rocket through the free-market economy") that he would bring me with him to keep his hair in shape. As far as I know, he has not become the next Richard Branson, so this path is also on hold.

6. Politician. Except I like people to like me. I am, however, very opinionated and always right.

7. Podcaster for What You Missed in History Class. I think I could get the NPR-like patter down. I actually sent in my resume and writing samples for a freelance writing gig for the parent program and we'll see if I hear back. If I'm being honest, which why not, this one is a true dream job, not just a Plan B.  I have long been a fan of Peter Laslett and his efforts to create the UK's Open University. I love the idea of making knowledge accessible to everyone. I throw it out to you, universe. Make it so.

The core issue here is passion. I was discussing this with my sister-in-law, who is a working actress, but is considering her options because acting doesn't provide a lot of stability or a steady paycheck, but we have both spent so long following our passions that it seems silly to shift out of gear now. So do I continue to adjunct in the hopes of landing a full-time teaching job at some point? Do I just cobble together lots of different part-time jobs once I have degree in hand? Do I hope that someone from How Stuff Works comes calling?

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