Against The Grain: Graduation and the job search

That's Master Brower to you - Jeremiah at his thesis defense.

Jeremiah Brower

by Jeremiah Brower, Geological Oceanography Lab

Greetings from your resident geologist blogger, who I’m happy to say is recently graduated!  This last year has consisted of me going to conferences, writing my thesis, RE-writing my thesis, RE-writing it AGAIN and then finally defending my thesis to the MLML faculty and my peers, parents and friends.  There was a lot of frantic writing followed by long periods of downtime while I watched the clock tick by and the end of the year get closer –  but overall it was a great experience and a incredible relief to finally get the thesis done!

The thesis was the main focus of my life for nearly 4 years and the defense on October 4th went incredibly well, but I have to say it was a bit anti-climactic to have a four year project summed up in a hour.  I also had to run back to work immediately after the defense, so the reality of my situation didn’t really sink until several weeks after the event. So the question now becomes “now what?”

I’ve been attending conferences and job fairs and flooding the market with my C.V. since the beginning of the year, but aside from interviews nothing definitive has come my way yet. There are a lot of jobs out there for someone with a Masters Degree in Marine Science, but the irony of living in Monterey Bay is that this area is already over-saturated with people like me searching for (or desperately clinging onto) marine science jobs. Having a large number of marine science institutes locally makes this both the best and worst place to search for jobs in my field, so I’m going to have to move early next year (because it is also a very expensive place to live). To top it off, a number of the larger government agencies tend to post jobs on-line simply because they are obligated to when a vacancy arises, but the truth of the mater is that they may already have someone specifically in mind and so don’t consider outside applications. Finally, the ultimate frustration is realized when a number of these jobs require a Masters plus 2+ years of work experience (education won’t count as a substitute). How do I get 2+ years experience without a job?!

Jeremiah at the American Geophysical Union conference.

Still, I remain optimistic that I’ll to land a job related to geology or marine science in general, and the fact that I’ve gotten interviews means I’ve been in the top 5% for some of these jobs, so something will come my way. The nice thing about having a general Marine Science degree is that I have a wider knowledge base then just geology, so I am hirable for a number of different higher education jobs, including teaching. That’s the great thing about working at MLML: you get a great broad background in marine science that does prepare you for future employment. Maybe I’ll go for a PhD. in 2012, but for 2011 I want to get a steady, full-time job so I can start paying off my loans. I have no regrets, but no illusions of an easy ride from here on either. All I can do is continue to flood the market with my C.V. and be flexible enough to travel to jobs outside of the state (or the country). Also I’ll continue to present my research at conferences, which is always fun and a great way to make connections.

I’ve had a great time at Moss Landing and I’ll miss it badly when I leave, but all good things have to come to a end, and as I end this chapter in my life, I stand ready to  write the next one. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the lab and those who walk its hallways, and I plan to visit for Open House and for some of the great defenses yet to come. Some good friends of mine put together a fantastic post-defense party for me in October (they even rolled out the red carpet!) and I definitely plan to maintain my connections to all my great friends at the lab. Okay I’ve talked enough here. Despite the temporarily poor job market, our economy is improving and Marine Science remains a great and vitally important field to get into ­– just don’t walk into it thinking it will be a easy ride!

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One Response to Against The Grain: Graduation and the job search

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