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Degrees, careers and finances
#21
Quote:I've seen CVs from people who have spent their twenties gaining a series of ever more impressive qualifications, who are trying to get their first real job in their 30s. Don't get me wrong, I'm hugely envious of anyone who's been able to afford to do this, but I always get the impression that such highly-qualified people view commercial archaeology as something of a last resort
Personally I'm clinging to studying simply because there are no commercial jobs available to me, as I have no way of getting the commercial experience necessary for a look-in. I don't argue that this is unfair - given the number of highly-experienced unemployed archaeologists already out there, it's a logical situation.

Just don't mistake my academic trajectory for work-avoidance - there's nothing I'd like better than a paid job in archaeology. However I've just picked the wrong time and am about five years too late. The best I can hope for is to carry on studying and volunteering, gaining non-commercial experience and making contacts, in the hope that things eventually pick up in the job market and that these may one day count in my favour.
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#22
Easily to imply commercial to academic trajectories

However, what is the specificity? or is this the market share?
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#23
I have no specific experience of the current UK job scene, but it does strike me, after 30 odd years associated with the profession, that archaeology has always produced far more graduates than there are available professional positions. This is passed off as 'students don't necessarily study archaeology because they wish to pursue it as a career' and/or 'archaeology is a useful background for many other professions', but fact is the profession has never been able to sustain the professional aspirations of its academic graduates. It seems an impossibility that this will significantly change at any time in the future, even if there is a recovery of the present employment market.

I'd like to ask Bonesgirl and Kel whether they felt there was enough information available about the pitfalls of a career in archaeology, before they began their studying and whether that was widely recognized amongst their academic peers? It seems the health warning on the side of the archaeology degree packet might have to be written larger and with more emphasis on the health threatening side effects....!!
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#24
Some might argue there are too many graduates all round. From where I am sitting the current fad for degrees for every type of employment is little more than a get rich quick scheme for the Universities:face-stir: Time was when I did my first degree only 10 percent of the population went on to this level of education. Dont get me wrong I am all for education but education for its own sake not as a prerequisite to employment. I am not sure that universities teach the life skills that previous generations learnt on the shop floor. I do appreciate with the current economic crisis there is little employment for young people coupled with a level of high expectation. This has got to be a volatile combination.
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#25
Oxbeast Wrote:I wouldn't fancy comitting to spending thousands on a 2 year part time programme of study while trying to get started on the circuit and take any job going. I had enough trouble trying to learn to drive while moving companies/working long days/doing away jobs.


Circuit ? what circuit ??
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#26
kevin wooldridge Wrote:This is passed off as 'students don't necessarily study archaeology because they wish to pursue it as a career' and/or 'archaeology is a useful background for many other professions'..

Ah the irony. The only person I studied with who openly declared that they were only studying archaeology out of personal interest, and that they had a very different career planned out... is also the only one (as far as I know) who has gone on to become a bona fide academic archaeologist at one of our top universities.
D. Vader
Senior Consultant

Vader Maull & Palpatine
Archaeological Consultants

A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of Tony Robinson.
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#27
Quote:I'd like to ask Bonesgirl and Kel whether they felt there was enough information available about the pitfalls of a career in archaeology, before they began their studying and whether that was widely recognized amongst their academic peers?


Before I began my degree in archaeology (80’s) there was an orientation day where you could meet with representatives of the various departments to discuss your chosen subjects. (These were occasions where a department could do the hard sell on their subject and therefore increase numbers.) The guy I met on that day (great person, great archaeologist, now sadly no longer with us,) stared at me in a slightly surprised way when I approached him – it seemed as if no one had bothered him since the days beginning.
‘Hello, I’m going to study archaeology,’ I said, full of vim and good humour.
There was no reply - just raised eyebrows, I decided to fill the stifling vacuum with more meaningless banter.
‘Yes , I’m taking it as my first subject and I’d like to pursue it as a career.’
More silence, the lecturer cleared his throat and said: ‘Are you mad?’

I think now, seeing the scorched remains of Irish archaeology, he had a point, but I would always counter by saying that it doesn’t do to plan too far ahead . . .
And do wave that CV around Bonesgirl - to quote Outkast - 'Shake it like a Polaroid picture.'
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#28
do the masters - enjoy it - and then do what comes next
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#29
In some aspects yes when I started my degree I had a feeling archaeology as with many professions wasn't doing very well. However, just when I started my degree I was in a position where I hated the job I was doin, was starting to realize it and my future plans were going nowhere and so decided to jack it all in and go to uni. For me I decided very rapidly archaeology, well bio-archaeology to be precise, was the course to study because I love archaeology. I'm a mature student and came at archaeology aged about 23/24 years old with no A levels to speak off but having always had a love for it and with a few weeks digging experiance here and there. Now I'm 26yrs old, got bout 4 months digging experiance behind me and a years mixed placement bagged up to. I'd like to think someone out there will employ me, but when that will be is anyone's guess, I just hope its soon because I'm hungry to work now lol.
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#30
Quote:I'd like to ask Bonesgirl and Kel whether they felt there was enough information available about the pitfalls of a career in archaeology, before they began their studying and whether that was widely recognized amongst their academic peers?
As I started my degree aged 44, I'm afraid I'm not qualified to comment on how well school leavers might have been warned about their potential career choices. My last encounter with schools career advice was in 1981. It was cross-eyed nonsense and I ignored it.

As for expectations, I'd say that the vast majority of my peers at undergraduate level had absolutely no intention of becoming archaeologists, any more than those on a History degree intended to be historians, or those on Maths degrees intended to be mathematicians. A degree of any type is a pretty much entry-level requirement for most white collar jobs these days and archaeology is just seen as a slightly more interesting way of getting a degree. I think some also assumed it might be less academically demanding than traditional subjects, but we tended to lose those at various points in the first year as we encountered rank correlation coefficients.

From what I've seen, very few people entering university these days see their degree as an automatic entry point into a profession - unless it carries a professional qualification such as Law or Accounting. Like other professions, it is acknowledged that commercial archaeology has a degree as its default entry requirement. First get your degree. Then try and figure out whether/how you can work in archaeology.

I don't remember meeting anyone at either undergraduate or postgraduate levels, who assumed that if they got an archaeology degree they'd automatically get a job in archaeology. I certainly didn't.
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