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why can't I just find some work?
#1
Ok so you just qualified as a BSc with Honors .... fantastic ... wonderful .... congrats .... now comes the next stage ... what next .... work or masters?

So having spent most of last night and the last few hours debating the issue, I'd like to have a good old rant and get a few things off my chest if I may be so bold.

Let look at the masters firstly:

Your bank account is proberly a little bruised, battered and worse for wear after spending the last few years going through the gates of hell and back numerous times .. if its anything like mine that Lord help you lol. I've spent the last four years living in my overdraft, watching my student loan disappear into books, printing, computer stuff and other student things - and believe it or not there wasn't a lot of booze in that mix as ... shock horror ... I don't drink that much and another shocker while we're on that front ... I hate beer and lager!

Then as you look to a masters you suddenly find that oh .... that sweet, sweet lifeline called a student load kinda doesn't exist in the land of post grads ... oh dear. This could be a problem, but you plow onwards and look at funding options and then find that you might have more luck trying to find the illusive needle in that blasted haystack some farmer refused to move so you could enlarge your trench. Yep I've found over the last few months of searching that funding for post grad archaeology and heritage stuff is like looking for a gold mine in the yorkshire dales ... it doesn't exist ... and if it does someone is keeping that very quiet ... would you kindly step forth good sir or madam and share your wealth with the rest of us.

Now funding issues aside, which course to choose ... this is like asking a kid in a candy store to choose just one treat out of an whole range of goodies and saying you can have one or two year of just that treat and non other.

On a slightly more series note here for just a second ... I really wish more masters course came with the option of doing a year placement to build a portfolio rather than a dissertation. I personally find this more beneficial for building contacts and getting real world knowledge, but most if not all masters course bar just one - thank you Durham Uni there, have that dissertation at the end.

Well I hate to say it but after plodding through the depths of hell to come up with a decent undergrad dissertation does one really want to try that all over again only with more word count??? Especially when an undergrad one seems a lot easier to come up with a subject than the masters one, which in comparison to the undergrad suddenly looks like the devils assault course complete with a hot coal walkway.

So now to move away from the masters issue which from my point at the moment looks like a darn scary place, not to mention how the hell can I choose just one chocolate when so many look so good!!!!

Truthfully and ideally what I'd like to do right now is find some work and let my bank account recover ... but this is even more of a mine field because put simply ... the job market at the moment ... DEAD! What work there is requires more experience than one acquires from an undergrad even with Bradford's lovely placement year in ones belt.

Internships seem hard to come by if there are any at all and even then you have to weigh up the pay with relocation and living costs.

Any field work also seems like a minefield, I'm wanting to get married next year and settle down but with excavations few and scattered wide and far how the heck can someone do that? From the diggers I've spoken to ... thats like Oliver asking for more porridge or something along those lines.

I know I may seem like some bubbling, rambling, silly student who needs to get on with life but I am at this moment totally bewildered and bemused. I suddenly feel like the world is my oyster but haven't a clue what to do next.

Work seems so hard to come by and ever masters I've looked at just doesn't appeal, the dissertation puts me off big time. What I want is some paid work wherein I can develop and grow my skills but what I have at the moment is bewilderment, heart ache and tears.

There you go I have ranted my heart out now and I am sorry if this is old hat or old news but I needed to rant.
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#2
Ummm, first ALWAYS read through anything BEFORE you post it!

Options: PG Course, there are more than Durham Uni out there offering courses, some with funding attached.
Digging: To work as a digger you WILL need to move away from home and around the UK just to keep bread on the table. Just keep sending in the CV!
Student Loan: Working as a digger you are NOT going to clear it off any time soon, certainly not before your wedding next year.
Intern path: Try the IfA and the CBA, also write a letter to each of the UK units, you may strike lucky.
Money: Archaeology is unlikely to make you rich, try banking, I read that accountancy companies really like archaeologists as they are trained nit pickers...

PS Good luck in all that is out there for you!
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#3
Relax if you are under 30 you have plenty of time. looks like you have already decided what is important (getting married settling down). look for a heritage related job even if it isn't archaeology and find a local group to keep your hand in. And life isnt fair but there may be many oportunities in the future just grab them when they come. Get some money under your belt and really think hard about what you want to do. ( PS it can be very useful marrying someone who is not an archaeologist Big Grin)
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#4
Your post reminds me of my frustration after my own undergrad course. Archaeology is tough to break in to due to it being a fairly new 'industry'. There are few (if any) clear career paths set in place, compounded by it being a vastly diverse career.

Wax is spot on, its all about finding a way that works for you. Some work in heritage and find a way to dig.....some start in one direction but are drawn off in another. Some stumble and fall into another industry (like accounting) where they find they can afford to live.

One thing is sure, archaeology doesn't pay well..........unless your the head of English Heritage or a large commercial unit for instance.

Think about why you want to do archaeology and in what form? Do you want to be a professional digger? A professor of a particular subject? A consultant to a large construction company? A dating lab researcher? Or..do you want enough money to provide for your family and do archaeology as an amateur in your spare time? Each of these examples require a completely different set of skills/ experience/ qualifications and a different plan of pursuit.

However, in the world of archaeology opportunities arise around you at all times if you can spot them. It can be a case of putting yourself in the right place and waiting for one to arise. You then need to grab it with both hands and don't let go!

From my experience to follow any career in archaeology you have to make choices, sacrifices and change your way of life to fit in with the way archaeology is done.
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#5
Nice answers Wax & Jack.
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#6
You are right to think twice about committing yourself to a Masters, funded or not. A masters in a topic that interests you and/or you wish to pursue as your specialism may be worthwhile, but one that is just a qualification isn't worth the time and money. The only selling point I would see from a non-relevant masters would be the dissertation demonstrating that you could devise, thoroughly research, and report on a substantial subject - I would therefore advise you to consider your aversion to this element.

More generally, I think you will have to accept that, with the job market in archaeology as it is, you will probably need to take up any opportunities you can, whatever the practical problems. The internship schemes are designed to be just-about-liveable-on, and anything that adds to your breadth of expreience is valuable.

The people you should be talking to are your lecturers and post-grads who can advise on what your next step should be.

And as has been said many times before, get a driving licence, get a CSCS card, and join the IfA.
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#7
in that order
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#8
If your looking to break into commercial digging, remember many units use pools of staff first and only advertise if they need more. To get into these pools you need to:

a) send your cv to all units you would work with
b) get a positive reputation as a good/keen digger/ person..........never underestimate word of mouth. Archaeology is a small world.
c) get to know the right people

To gain experience to be competitive in the jobs market you either need to find a random break....for instance meet the right person in the right pub/ party at the right time.
Or do time on one of the long running research/ training digs. The people running these digs have contacts to those hiring for comercial projects, sometimes they are the same people.
Some companies use big training digs as sources to trawl for diggers.

The leap from training dig to commercial dig can be as simple as two project officers sitting in a pub. One says to the other...
'Hey I got a big road scheme coming up and need some good diggers. You had anyone up for it on your training dig.'

So for instance, depending on where you are based, there are circles of people that hang out in certain pubs that know people running training digs and/or hiring for companies. It is an advantage for a digger to be in these circles and/or hang out in these pubs as archaeologists....

a) like to drink
b) like to talk about work
c) like to gossip

So sitting round a table in the right pub you could here about upcoming big projects, be in the right place at the right time etc etc.

Unfortunately I'm too old and stay-at-homeish to know where these pubs are now...........In my day up north-east, they used to be the vic, the shakespear and sometimes the elm tree and the old dun cow in Durham....and I think wasn't it the Hotspur or some pub near in Newcastle? And various pubs in York like the swan, the black swan the three-legged mare, the maltings, the achorne etc....Basically its usually a pub near an archaeology department or unit offices. Can't remember the Pub near the Oxford unit....

Oh and no, I don't have shares in any of these pubs!
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#9
Bonesgirl Wrote:Ok so you just qualified as a BSc with Honors .... fantastic ... wonderful .... congrats .... now comes the next stage ... what next .... work or masters?

So having spent most of last night and the last few hours debating the issue, I'd like to have a good old rant and get a few things off my chest if I may be so bold.

Let look at the masters firstly:

Your bank account is proberly a little bruised, battered and worse for wear after spending the last few years going through the gates of hell and back numerous times .. if its anything like mine that Lord help you lol. I've spent the last four years living in my overdraft, watching my student loan disappear into books, printing, computer stuff and other student things - and believe it or not there wasn't a lot of booze in that mix as ... shock horror ... I don't drink that much and another shocker while we're on that front ... I hate beer and lager!

Then as you look to a masters you suddenly find that oh .... that sweet, sweet lifeline called a student load kinda doesn't exist in the land of post grads ... oh dear. This could be a problem, but you plow onwards and look at funding options and then find that you might have more luck trying to find the illusive needle in that blasted haystack some farmer refused to move so you could enlarge your trench. Yep I've found over the last few months of searching that funding for post grad archaeology and heritage stuff is like looking for a gold mine in the yorkshire dales ... it doesn't exist ... and if it does someone is keeping that very quiet ... would you kindly step forth good sir or madam and share your wealth with the rest of us.

Now funding issues aside, which course to choose ... this is like asking a kid in a candy store to choose just one treat out of an whole range of goodies and saying you can have one or two year of just that treat and non other.

On a slightly more series note here for just a second ... I really wish more masters course came with the option of doing a year placement to build a portfolio rather than a dissertation. I personally find this more beneficial for building contacts and getting real world knowledge, but most if not all masters course bar just one - thank you Durham Uni there, have that dissertation at the end.

Well I hate to say it but after plodding through the depths of hell to come up with a decent undergrad dissertation does one really want to try that all over again only with more word count??? Especially when an undergrad one seems a lot easier to come up with a subject than the masters one, which in comparison to the undergrad suddenly looks like the devils assault course complete with a hot coal walkway.

So now to move away from the masters issue which from my point at the moment looks like a darn scary place, not to mention how the hell can I choose just one chocolate when so many look so good!!!!

Truthfully and ideally what I'd like to do right now is find some work and let my bank account recover ... but this is even more of a mine field because put simply ... the job market at the moment ... DEAD! What work there is requires more experience than one acquires from an undergrad even with Bradford's lovely placement year in ones belt.

Internships seem hard to come by if there are any at all and even then you have to weigh up the pay with relocation and living costs.

Any field work also seems like a minefield, I'm wanting to get married next year and settle down but with excavations few and scattered wide and far how the heck can someone do that? From the diggers I've spoken to ... thats like Oliver asking for more porridge or something along those lines.

I know I may seem like some bubbling, rambling, silly student who needs to get on with life but I am at this moment totally bewildered and bemused. I suddenly feel like the world is my oyster but haven't a clue what to do next.

Work seems so hard to come by and ever masters I've looked at just doesn't appeal, the dissertation puts me off big time. What I want is some paid work wherein I can develop and grow my skills but what I have at the moment is bewilderment, heart ache and tears.

There you go I have ranted my heart out now and I am sorry if this is old hat or old news but I needed to rant.

i read this twice and my only thoughts are - maybe archaeology isnt for you
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#10
Thank you everyone for your replies and in some cases helpful advice. I think some of what I was trying to say may have been misunderstood but I've been given a lot to think about from some of these replies so thank you all again.
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