Archive for April, 2011

Sharpening focus on my job search

April 6, 2011

I started writing this blog post a week ago to help me think about what I wanted to do next (which might be my next job). One of the things it has helped me articulate is the kind of job that attracts me is one with problems to solve that I find interesting. More and more, the problems that seem interesting are ones that touch on some aspect of community sustainability. It might work out that its a politcal problem or an infrastructural one or creating something new, but at the end of the day, I think I want to be able to look and say I helped make our community a more sustainable place in ways that impact the quality of people’s lives and the success of our city.

As a result of reflection on my job search so far, here are some things I believe about Jobs I’m Not Interested In:

Out of town on-site work: I got an interview for a job in Lewiston and found another that looked challenging, but both required 40 hrs in Lewiston. Add commute time and I will be effectively isolating myself from the Moscow community. I did this kind of commuter work for two years in Oregon and found I was not a member of the town where I worked or the one where I slept. Conclusion: Engaging with Moscow community is an important a value.

Field Organizer for the Idaho Democratic Party: I am more interested in working on the problems that Moscow faces locally and think these will be better addressed by non-partisan local organizing. Conclusion: Focus is wrong for the kind of work I think is important.

Organization with antithetical mission: I got an interview as a grant writer with an organization that engages in research related to an number of areas that are not sustainable. They are trying to green those technologies, but it strikes me that they are trapped in an assumption, because of their discipline, that the technologies are warranted. It certainly seems that their work is not at the heart of what I understand sustainability for Moscow to mean. Conclusion: Make sure the focus is squarely on the problems as I understand them and the problems are situated within the scope of my community.

Computing support: Lots of people think I’m a computer guy. In the 90’s I did quite a bit of that, but I don’t stick my head under the hood much anymore. Conclusion: Computers and networks as platforms to aid individuals and communities in learning and problem-solving are where my interest lie. I’m not interested in the problems of fixing them.

Buying BookPeople: Its been suggested that I buy BookPeople. An interesting way to get a job, certainly beats trying to start a new business. I had a tiny role in Twice Sold Tales back in the early 90s, enough to know that I don’t see book stores as a problem I want to solve.

Schweitzer. I’ve looked at their jobs list. I even applied for a couple jobs (they have a super easy application process that is equally fast at rejecting me). Improving the power grid has some important sustainability implications, but the jobs I’ve seen are not focused on aiding our community. I’ve not tried again because I don’t see them describing a problem that interests me.

Working for WSU: I’ve worked there 26 years and because I just retired from there, they will only take me back 40% time and only in special cases. Pullman is close enough to still be connected to Moscow community. Right now they don’t seem to have any problems they are interested in my help solving.