❦ Contact a Justin O’Hearn Near You

If you’d like to contact me about anything related to this blog, academia, or otherwise you can do so with the e-mail justin.ohearn@alumni.ubc.ca or the Twitters @justinohearn. You’ll also find a contact form whereby you can send me your thoughts. You can also go the more public route and leave a comment right on the bottom of the page here for all your friends to see.

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5 thoughts on “❦ Contact a Justin O’Hearn Near You”

  1. I’m thinking of adding a resource page on my blog to other bloggers who write useful things for graduate students and younger academic professionals. Would you mind if I linked your blog?

  2. Ted Whittall said:

    Hi Justin, I read the article about finding a job with an arts education with both sympathy and just a little annoyance. Being a little older (46) and perhaps going in the reverse direction (starting a PhD after 20+ years in the workforce), I have a little advice for folks which I hope will be helpful.

    First of all, there’s nothing wrong with taking a job in the service industry, okay, Starbucks, while you’re looking for something with more upside. Earn money, pay your bills. Secondly, target jobs at the bottom of the chain. I have two friends to use as examples: First, a history grad. He got his first job working in a call centre for GE. They spotted his intelligence and ability to solve problems very quickly and put him on the management track. He is now a senior manager in Operations for a major bank earning $200k/year. Another friend, a PhD drop-out in Computer Science, got a job in the tech pool at a bank. Within two years, he became a manager and is one track to become a VP, flying around the world solving operational problems. Computer Science, you say? Of course he got a job. But not so obvious. He took an hourly wage job at the bottom of the totem pole and then worked hard.

    Getting in may be hard, but once in, talent and hard work are the great equalizers. Having sat in classes full of young graduate students, I can say without any hestation that the average arts student is brighter and more equipped than the average commerce grad. You just have to be a bit more creative and industrious in your approach, and yes, sell yourself.

    For my part, I have degrees in Fine Arts and theatre and I’ve made a good living as an artist, but it has been tough, up-and-down, and required a good amount of hustle and salesmanship on my part. Academia seems, well, easy in some respects, and maybe that’s the problem. In this economy, nothing can be taken for granted and there really is no time to be scared of failure.

    • Thank you for writing this, Ted. First off, anyone who hasn’t read the article Ted’s referring to can find it here: http://bit.ly/QTJWHU

      I love the examples you’ve given here of successful Arts and Humanities graduates and it should give a bunch of people out there some sort of solace that they have not wasted their lives. I think there is too much focus on the only option for graduates being within the academy after they graduate. For some of us (very few, as we know) academic jobs are found, but the competition is fierce and, by all accounts, quite disheartening. I think your experience in the Fine Arts and show business (sorry if that’s not a good term to use) will, as you say, make academia somewhat easier to swallow in comparison.

      I would love for Arts and Humanities grads to be consistently hired over MBAs because I agree with you about the cleverness and ingenuity of the former over the latter. The business grads have been taught how to better sell themselves whereas not only are we never taught this, but have become ensconced within a system of persistent inferioritizing and negative assumptions about what we are expected to be. The bottom line is that I would love a tenure track position at a large research university and so would every other Arts student in the world (probably) but I am preparing myself for the reality that it is more than likely academia and education might play a significantly smaller role in my post-doctorate career than I would like.

      I’d love it if others shared experiences similar to Ted’s or had anything else to add to the alt-ac debate.

  3. Ted Whittall said:

    And one more thing… Volunteer! If you’re interested in a field of work, a job, an industry, look up someone who has the job you want and contact them. Tell them you’d like to volunteer to work for them. The worst thing they can say is no, but I promise that 4 times out of 5, they will help you out. I’ve worked for free several times in different places and it has always been easy to get somewhere and get help.

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