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4 Nov

Is your field shrinking or growing over the next decade? Find out with the Future-Jobs-O-Matic machine put together by public radio’s Marketplace. This little gizmo of a website also lets you play around with similar careers or just other careers within a field. Alright, like most of these prediction engines, it’s a little simplistic by not listing perhaps the exact job you’re looking for but I think it’s a pretty slick tool that interprets some of the predicted jobs growth numbers for the next decade. Give it a go.



Craigslist Housing Special, Part 2

31 Oct

Continuing my great exchange with housing scammers, I give you the latest email… note the Nigerian phone number at the end:


Thanks for your prompt response to mail and it’s my sincere pleasure writing back to you.I do appreciate the whole time and effort you have really shown to rent from us and telling me more about you.I must confess that you really sound like the type of tenant we have been praying and fasting over to come our way,we will be glad to have you as our new tenant to be,if only you will agree to work with us directly and promise to take proper care of the apartment for us,which is the most important thing to us.

We have everything intact in the apartment and all the utilities are intact,I will like to tell you that you have nothing to be worried about if you really willing to rent from us.The keys and the document are with my husband in ( west Africa  ),my husband made me understand that he will only commence on the delivery of our apartment keys/documents to the new tenant via DHL courier service,after we have come to an agreement and after confirming the upfront advance deposit payment.My apartment is a private apartment,you will have the access to my apartment,as soon as you have my apartment keys/documents with you.

The rent per month still remain $800 including all the utilities like electricity, water, wireless Internet, satellite TV, air conditioning,dryer, washing machine, Telephone , Washing machine,security and heating.You can bring your things into the apartment if you wish,we have an extra space for that,more so I want you to have it in mind that you dealing with a God fearing and responsible folks,I give you my word that you will never regret from renting from us if only you will believe in us.I believe God has a way of working out things if only we can put our trust in him.You will have the access to move into my our apartment,as soon as you have our apartment keys/documents with you.

My husband wish to have some relevant information from you if you are ready to get this going,so you are expected to carefully fill out the form below or just simply reply back with answers to the questions.My husband will use the details to commence on the delivery of our apartment keys/documents to your address,and also to use it to prepare for the documents to your name.

1) Your Full Name?
2) Your Full Address & Phone Number?
3) How old are you?
4) Are you married?
5) How many people will be living in the house?
6) Do you have a pet?
7) Do you have a car?
8 ) Occupation?
9) What is your religion?
10) Do you smoke?
11) What date you intend to move in?
12) For how long you will stay in the place?

Answers would be greatly appreciated,so that my husband can use it for the shipment of our apartment keys/document to you.Attached are more photos of the apartment,fully furnished and well decorated .Thank for being so honest with us and God bless you too.You can reach my husband (Mr. Wale Morris) anytime on 0112347056585995 or +2347056585995.

Mrs. Kathy Morris

I wonder who actually lives in the house that this person is trying to scam-rent me?

Craigslist Housing Specials!

28 Oct

More houses should look like this!

While we’re on the topic of house hunting, my two cents is that it is as hard as people make it out to be. While I can’t imagine DC is worse than NY, here’s a quick anecdote:

If you came across this listing on Craigslist, what would you think?

This one bedroom apartment is fully furnished including:on site washer/dryer, linings, towels, silverware, china, 42 inch flat screen TV, stereo and DVD player, plus fantastic wood burning fireplace! Light-filled home in Capitol Hill’s vibrant and safe Eastern Market neighborhood.Ideal for 1 or 2 people, with Aero beds to add sleeping quarters. Nearby: everything you’d want to see in DC.

Best neighborhood in city 10 minute walk to U Street metro, Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, CVS, 3 Banks (Adams Bank, PNC Bank and Wachovia Bank). Great choice of shops, bars, restaurants within 5-10 walk:Close enough to walk: restaurants, bars, and shopping attractions like Studio theatre, Cork wine , Cafe Saint-Ex, Local 57 Jazz Bar, Point Claud Cafe & Crepes, etc. Email for more details.

Not bad, right? And for $800/month — if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is right? There are inconsistencies within the listing itself: it says it is “Capitol Hill’s vibrant and safe Eastern Market neighborhood” which actually not near Corcoran Street, which is the provided address on the listing.

So I email the listing and I get this email back (excerpted):

My husband is currently in West Africa while I’m with my in Manchester ,UK with my daughter.We have been disappointed with our apartment before, this time we decided to manage it ourselves and which I believe that God will answer our prayers with a good, clean, responsible and understandable tenant,that will take upmost care of our apartment like his/her onw.I admit you really sound like the one and it would be our pleasure to let you take over our apartment till the period of time you wish to stay,if only you will agree with our terms and conditions and ready to work with us directly. …

All documents and the keys to our apartment are with my husband is in West Africa,he will commence on the delivery of the packages to the new tenant via DHL express courier service,on next day delivery,after we have come to a conclusion. …

You can visit the apartment at your practice time to check the neighborhood and location,and when you going please mind the way you will patrol the streets, so you will not be harass by security services around.But I will say that it would be better you have my apartment keys/documents with you,so that can you have the access to my apartment.

I’m suspicious, eh? But so far I haven’t been asked for any money. This is quite the scam, if that is where it is heading. But the email is also chock full of mentions of God. Does that make it more or less credible? Then there is the fact that I looked up the address provided on Google Maps and the place is a house, not an apartment. Plus googling the address, there is another listing at the same address for $600/month.

I kinda want to keep seeing where this will go.

Time to Suit Up: I Got a Job

23 Oct

I am a suit now.

I know the two die-hard fans out there have been wondering — what the hell happened to Ryan? FYI, I haven’t posted anything in two weeks, for those who haven’t missed me. I’ve been busy tidying up my life at Middlebury so I can take a job in Washington D.C. starting in November. I will be working at the Washington Post as Interactivity Producer. Yes, I’ll be producing interactivity for a living (is that a good pickup line?).

In the upcoming week, I will be blogging parts of the process of getting the job at the Post. The two posts that I already wrote directly after my interviews at the Post: “Fun and Interviews” and “Awash in Resumes.”

I am now gainfully employed as a full-time, salaried professional. No more farting around, right? Our initial goal with this blog was to blog until we find jobs. In particular, that meant the kind of job I will start in a week: one with health benefits, 401k, a desk, a boss, etc. Sounds rosy, right? But I want to make the argument that all three of us bloggers are already employed in varying forms and that the salaried job maybe shouldn’t have been the goal of this blog when we started.

Really, a job is part of a life. And I think many liberal artists look for jobs that fit into the larger idea of an examined and worthwhile existence (sometimes people say they want “meaningful work”). The “standard” job is a big part of your life — time-wise, the eight hour work day is 1/3 of your day, 5-days a week (another 1/3 is spent sleeping and the final 1/3 is what Seth Godin is after you to improve if you’re watching TV). But in a typical case of the-grass-is-always-greener, I am already jealous of the non-traditional job-holder like my friends Leslie and Sarah.

I’d say the number one complaint in my informal poll of recent graduate-liberal artists that are fully employed in traditional jobs is that they lose a sense of creativity and expression. I often hear the words “soul-crushing” used. I don’t want that to happen to me and it’s easier than I think to fall into that trap no matter how excited I am to start at the Post.

This blog has never really been totally about the job hunt. It’s been about defining what it means to be a “liberal artist” and recent graduate grappling with larger issues that are (sometimes) unique to this generation. As I wrote early on in the blog process, “We’re saying that the 20-something recession-grad is a story worth telling. The successes. The failures. The pressures. We’re living it….”

Sarah, Leslie, and I will continue to discuss what we want this space to evolve to be but my guess it that you’ll see an increasing amount of posts that reach beyond the typical job-hunt shenanigans. It’s not that I don’t care about job-hunting anymore now that I have a job, it’s that I realize only now that a holistic approach to finding a job is much smarter. More than half the battle is landing a job and then being able to know what to do with it.

The Neoliberal Arts

11 Oct

Wired came out with their “course catalog” for the 21st century. I think it’s a great list… delve into statistical literacy, post-state diplomacy, remix culture, applied cognition, writing for new forms, waste studies, and domestic tech.

I think we could also use: financial literacy, food systemseducated activism, and networking 101. What else?

It’s The Story, Stupid

4 Oct

This weekend, I attended TEDxMiddlebury, the offshoot of the popular TED conference for the Middlebury community. One of the speakers, Sunny Bates spoke about networking and one of the coolest ideas she breezed over in one sentence is something I think many miss in the job hunt is simple: everyone likes a good story.

If you want to get a job, get a story that others can tell quickly as interesting conversational material. Sunny told her story about the magazine she worked at going belly up and that her network of people really spread this story of her being unemployed after just six months of work because of this tragic business failure. Her story was that she was the victim of a magazine company. You might say that that is too simple, but imagine how easy it is to bring this story up in conversation: “Can you believe that a friend of mine just found herself unemployed one day because the magazine she worked at for like 6 months just went out of business? That’s crazy.”

In that one story, you know nothing of Sunny’s qualifications or resume or contacts but you pick up the key details: 1) she’s unemployed and wants to employed and 2) she’s in the magazine/media business. But it’s a simple story that can travel far in a network of people because the people with job openings will want to know more and help her. No one wants to hear what I would normally say: “I’m employed by my alma mater but sorta leaving soon because my contract is up and I want to find meaningful work here or abroad.” Blah blah blah.

Instead, I need a story to tell. And liberal artists, being people with lots of varied experiences, tend to want to describe all of the incredible stuff they’ve done, much of which has been meaningful and great. No, treat your experience like gossip — what’s the juiciest morsel that people will want to pass on to friends?

Awash in Resumes

30 Sep

I send digital resumes.

Or more precisely, I send a link to my resume for download. I do not usually attach resumes to emails or print physical copies for people.

This allows me to customize my resume repeatedly, tailoring a version for the various jobs I am applying for. This is important because I look to highlight particular experiences of mine that fit most closely with the position I am applying for.

So when I walked in to an interview recently, I was surprised when my interviewers all had the wrong version of my resume. Instead of having the finely crafted, cropped, and edited version, they had a life history of mine in three pages, instead of a typical one. Everything from my theatre experiences to teaching environmental science to 5th graders was on there.

It turns out, they sniffed out the longer resume that I usually use as the starting place to craft the shorter, tailored resumes. Pharumph.

But then during the interview, one of the interviewers asked me about theatre and education — not exactly on the interview agenda. Another interviewer asked about my experiences in China, Chinese — also not on the list of relevant experiences for the job.

So it was a wash. I maybe lost points for having a incomprehensible and nearly incoherent resume filled with a typical liberal artist’s smattering of experiences. I maybe won points for having varied interests and a liberal arts background.