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Posts tagged with: academia

Ashley’s Employment Situation


First, I’ve got to express my internal struggle….

I have SO MUCH I want to share with you guys. I feel like the better idea you have of my life/work/financial/debt situation, the better equipped you will be to render advice, suggestions, and just provide comments and/or support. But I also don’t want to overwhelm you with ALL of this information at once!

So, bear with me. I have planned a mix of “content-heavy” posts (where you learn more about my financial situation), and “content-light” posts (where you can celebrate some of my successes – like paying off my Capital One CC today!!!! – or get an inside peak at things I’ve been doing to save money!)

Right now, let’s talk my job status.


If you recall, I graduated in August 2013 and have been unable to find full-time employment since then. My “dream job” is to be a professor, but in lieu of full-time employment, I have been working part-time jobs in the meantime.

Currently, I work on a contract-basis (meaning, not an official “employee”, not eligible for health care, no job security) for multiple employers. My work is 100% online and gives me the flexibility to work how I want, when I want, and where I want (I choose to work in my yoga pants at home) ; )

My work is still in the area where I got my degree (teaching online and doing research). In addition to my paid work, I also work unpaid in a couple realms. First and foremost, I’m a Mom. My girls are currently in daycare 3 days a week, but I’m planning to talk to our provider about reducing to 2 days a week to save money. Either way, being a Mom is full-time and certainly requires a great deal of my time and attention. My other unpaid work (discussed below) I see as an investment in myself.

Soooo, I’m in a bit of a precarious situation currently. I have had advisers tell me that I can “free float” for one year, but if I haven’t found a job in that time I’ll basically be considered unhireable (have I mentioned the stiff competition in my field?) So to try to keep my hat in the ring, I have continued working on various projects with colleagues from my alma mater. These are 100% unpaid and do require a fair amount of time (trips to campus for meetings and to use specialized software I don’t have at home). Right now, my commitment is predominantly one of time, as my costs aren’t too significant (e.g., cost of daycare when I go to campus, nominal costs of gasoline and parking on campus). However, staying active in academia can boost my resume (we call it a “CV”) and help make me a more attractive candidate, so I see this as an absolutely imperative venture at this point (money and time be damned).

I plan to give the job-search my “all” for another full year. Remember, most positions hire in Nov-Jan for the following August, so my plan is to continue being active and applying for positions until August of 2015 (side note – There is still a tiny chance I could get hired this year…there are 2 schools left that I applied with who have not yet made hiring decisions). If by August 2015 I come up empty handed, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that could potentially be quite lucrative. I hesitate to discuss it further at this time (on the off-chance that a potential future employer stumbles across this blog, I don’t want to disclose this information). If we get to that point, I’ll be happy to open up with you at that time. But currently, I’m committed to pursuing my dream job and giving it whatever time investment is required.

So, even though my work is “part-time”, it really feels like I’m working all the time because I’ve always got some kind of project going on and some kind of deadlines on the horizon. I don’t make a ton (the majority of our household income comes from my husband), but I make a pretty decent wage considering my paid employment is only a part-time, online gig. I feel very fortunate to have it so I am able to be home with my girls the majority of the time, particularly while they are very young (they’ll be 2 in a few months!)

A couple take-home points I’d like to make regarding my paid employment, in case anyone else is in a similar situation or could benefit from the advice:

  1. Network, network, network. Even if you don’t network, make sure you never burn any bridges with the people you meet.
  2. Let people see your work ethic, but also let them see that you’re “human.” No one wants to work with a machine.
  3. Be open to outside-the-box opportunities.

I never sought out my part-time employment situations, they all just fell into my lap. This was 100% because these people (former colleagues) knew my work and my personality and, even after moving on to other universities, they knew they could “count on me” on various projects, that I am personable and easy to work with, and that I am task-oriented and will work to complete projects in a timely manner. Never did I ever think I would be here – working at home, online, sitting in my PJ pants and wrangling twin toddlers. And of course I want the coveted professor position. But you know what? My employment situation is actually pretty awesome! I consider myself lucky, for sure!

As a random aside, I also have a few tricks up my sleeve to increase my income even currently….but those will be shared at another time.