View Full Version : Husband's Job Search - vent

5-9-11, 1:00pm
My husband has run into the age old dilemma: how to get a job with no experience.

I need to vent my frustrations. Sorry for the length.

Some background: All of his adult life (he's now 44) he worked in low-wage, no opportunity jobs, such as telemarketing, paint store retail, custodial, etc. He was satisfied doing so because they allowed him to pursue his love of music, both playing and teaching guitar. Then we got married and he realized it was time to grow up and get a "real job".

So in 2006 he went back to college to finish his bachelor's degree, which he had worked on for a few years in the 90's before quitting due to finances. His dream and goal, at that time, was to teach history or english at the community college level. He graduated with his bachelor's in History in 2008 and went straight into graduate work in English. After working at the university as a graduate assistant and teaching English Composition for 3 semesters, he graduated with his Masters in Dec. 2010. With advice and well-wishing from his professors, he started the job search, while still holding down his part time job as a stocker at a grocery store.

Five months later, we've quickly realized that job prospects in education are ridiculously competitive, and because of that, job requirements have become way more complicated and over the top in recent years. What would have only required a masters degree a few years ago now requires a PhD plus numerous other persnickety qualifications. His fellow grad students are facing the same problem despite searching nationwide for jobs.

Out of desperation he's lowered his sites to just finding a professional office job here. I'm settled in my job (and have been the main breadwinner this whole time at a whopping $26,000 a year salary) and the hassle of trying to sell our house and relocate is just too expensive to contemplate. So for the last couple of months he's been applying for almost every secretarial/receptionist/bank teller/administrative assistant position that has come up.

So far, he's had only one interview which resulted in a no. The rest have not even had the courtesy to contact him to say "thank you for applying, but no."

The problem? On paper, it doesn't look like he has any experience that would make him qualified for an office job. No matter that he just spent the last 4 years with his nose to the grind taking classes, writing papers, getting papers published in national journals, earning scholarships and creative writing awards, performed office duties for professors, and taught classes. No matter that he has the strongest work ethic of anyone I've ever known; he even felt guilty taking time off work to attend his own mother's funeral. He's hard working, bright, and bends over backwards to help others.

He's frustrated and feels like going back to school was a mistake, that it just put us further in debt with his student loans (which we'll have to start paying back in December), and because he's now making less money than he was 4 years ago as a janitor. He jokes that he's the "highest educated bag-boy in town" making $7.50 an hour. I know, it could be worse, he could have NO job, but still.....it's mighty frustrating (and soul-crushing) for him to face being 44 years old and making the same money as his 18 yr old colleagues.

Worse, he doesn't have any kind of trades-skills that would enable him to get a job at one of the factories or even in higher-paying labor jobs like construction.

We just don't know what else we can do to try and convince someone to just give him a chance, even though he might not match their experience requirements 100%. We've tweaked and tweaked his resume. Composing the perfect cover letter sometimes takes hours. Knowing that, in this town, there is still a lot of gender-bias and the fact that he is male is probably automatically shutting him out of secretarial positions. We both just want to pull our hair out over all of this. It's hard to stay patient and hopeful. With those student loan payments looming, if he's still only making $7.50 an hour come December, there's no way we'll be able to make it.

I know that with the current economy and job market we could be a lot worse off. It's frustrating knowing that he did the right thing, went back to school to finish his education so he could get off the low-wage treadmill and use his intelligence, only to realize that doing so is no guarantee of getting a better paying job. At least not in this town.

Thanks for listening.

5-9-11, 1:07pm
My suggestion would be for him to sign up with a temp agency to showcase his administrative skills and whatever other skills he has. Plus temp jobs pay better than 7.50 an hour, at least in my experience. Temporary work also gets you experience and contacts and also lets you "try out" the different types of companies to work for.

5-9-11, 1:29pm
Oh geez, what a mess.

Well what about .... getting a teaching credential and teaching elementary school? Definitely he's qualified I'd think. Of course elementary schools may not be hiring either (they are laying off here in California of course). HOWEVER ... it is generally a much easier field to get into than teaching college. Of course this means more schooling I guess and may mean more debt and at that point it's dubious (going into more debt with the hope of paying off existing debt sounds like a ponzi scheme - at this point the education system starts to resemble a gambler in vegas ..). Don't do it without complete investigation of the prospects at least. There may also be private K-12 schools that will hire without teaching credentials plus public schools will, when they are desperate (and there may be ways to forgive loans this way).

What about ... teaching extension (adult) courses at a college. Often these will hire with less qualifications than a real teaching position. HOWEVER ... what they really want is hard skills gained through work experience by someone employed in a skilled field. But who knows it's possible they might want a history teacher. I suppose you've already looked at for profit colleges and what they offer in terms of jobs. They are horrible places for the students for the most part, but they may be hiring teachers. So ... could be a start.

How about using his music skills to raise money? Yea, I know, doesn't sound like the most promising career path .... But could they be an additional plus if say applying for a grade school teaching position or something similar? And of course he could continue to give music lessons. Any possibility of teaching music history (of course it is probably not in any more demand than any other teaching positions)? Possibly the type of course that would be offered by a college extension though. Because it is the type of thing people will take for fun.

Perhaps there's some money to be earned by tutoring? Not much money probably, maybe enough for food, but not enough for big loans.

I really read this post and thought: this can not end well. I've heard about the community college teaching positions, at best with a masters you can usually get several part time position at various community colleges so your running all over town, don't have health insurance etc. You want a real university position with the possibility of tenure or never mind tenure at least health insurance and a full time job? You need a PhD. Either way to get hired teaching at a college, liberal arts positions are not in demand. Would be better if he was a math or science major probably and wanted to teach math or science.

"It's frustrating knowing that he did the right thing, went back to school to finish his education so he could get off the low-wage treadmill and use his intelligence, only to realize that doing so is no guarantee of getting a better paying job. At least not in this town."

Ack, there is no right thing. There is what works, which isn't the same now as it was 30 years ago or more. The problem with hyping education as the solution to all problems is some people will actually believe it. The next politician who blabs about education day and night (especially while it's paid for with student debt) should be made to see the pain of people in situations like this. If there is a lesson here it is: do research before pursuing a career. I mean sure if you have a fall back career and just want to pursue a dream by taking classes at night and can afford to pay for classes without debt, then maybe you can wing it without research, but otherwise .... Now you can frame his experience as positive as a liberal arts education no doubt expanded his knowledge of the world and so on, gave him great analytical skills for understanding the world (could they be used in exploring the job market?), enhanced his appreciation of culture etc.. But all that framing however true doesn't actually pay off the loans. So you need to try to sell someone on analytical skills or research skills or something.

5-9-11, 2:10pm
My suggestion would be for him to sign up with a temp agency to showcase his administrative skills and whatever other skills he has. Plus temp jobs pay better than 7.50 an hour, at least in my experience. Temporary work also gets you experience and contacts and also lets you "try out" the different types of companies to work for.

The staffing agencies here mainly only hire for factory labor positions, not office jobs.

5-9-11, 2:12pm
Gingerella - I feel for you and your husband. I'm kind of in similar circumstances - I'm desperately looking for another job to get out of a very unpleasant situation. I've been applying for jobs that I KNOW I can do, but that I don't have any actual experience in. It's very frustrating and hard to try to even get my foot in the door of a new field when I've been in the same career forever. I wish you and your husband lots of luck, and I hope he can find a job he really enjoys.

5-9-11, 2:12pm
+1 on what ANM said. I was going to say exactly the same: try for online teaching, get certification to teach high school or do some tutoring. It seems a shame to give up so quickly on something that uses the MA more directly.

5-9-11, 2:39pm
Apatheticnomore, thank you for the response.

The problem is that any public school position requires a teaching degree, which would mean another 2-3 years in school. He already has $50,000 in student loan debt. That was the main factor in his decision to not pursue further education for an MFA or PhD. He was advised by many college counselors and professors that to teach at the community college level, a masters would be fine. Guess they're out of the loop on that one. Plus, the only community college in this town is for vocational trades; he'd have to commute to a different town to teach academic subjects at those community colleges.

He does teach guitar lessons at a local music store but that's counted more as pocket change since he only has 5 students, and can't add any more.

I just wish someone would at least give him a chance to interview. So many of the job applications are online so it's not like he can walk in and talk to someone when asking for an application, and sometimes the companies that are hiring don't even have their names or addresses listed in the ad, just a PO box to send your resume to so you can't even call to check on the status. The fact that he isn't even being offered an interview for seemingly entry-level positions has made him feel worthless. He's very disillusioned and depressed, as am I. for the last 4 years we've worked hard, made sacrifices, weathered much stress, and the only thing that kept us going was the thought that once he was done with school, everything will get better. Hah. He's gone from being optimistic about teaching, to lowering his sites to being a secretary, and now down to eyeing a janitor position at the college where he graduated from. Funnily enough, it would be the same position he was working in in 2006 when he quit to go back to school full time. At least it would pay $9.18 an hour. Anyone else see the irony here? Yes, I'm bitter. Not towards him, but towards this whole #&@^#^@ messed up system.

5-9-11, 2:50pm
+1 on what ANM said. I was going to say exactly the same: try for online teaching, get certification to teach high school or do some tutoring. It seems a shame to give up so quickly on something that uses the MA more directly.

I appreciate that, but he's actually OK at this point about not teaching, what we're frustrated over is the fact that he can't even get hired as a secretary or bank teller. All he wants is a job where he only has to work Mon-Fri, 8-5, and not have to lift 75 lb boxes all day.

5-9-11, 2:57pm
The fact that he isn't even being offered an interview for seemingly entry-level positions has made him feel worthless.

The actual problem here you may be running into is OVER-qualification. Companies have been rumored not to hire people who are over qualified. So maybe it's not so much that he can't do the job (as in: yes I really can file documents in manilla folders, my last career was discovering a unified field theory ;)), as that he's overqualified for the job.

To the extent companies don't hire overqualified people it is because they think those people ultimately want something better than just to stay at a low end job (and such people probably believe they can get it, everyone may merely WANT something better, but the training makes it more of an actual possibility, at least perhaps in a better job market).

Now it doesn't really matter from a monetary perspective why a company won't hire you, but it is good for the ego to think it's over-qualification, rather than: "I'm not good enough to sweep floors". I guess to the extent it is over-qualification you can try to hide your qualifications (but then he'd have to explain what he did for the last 4 years, because even if 4 years of graduate school makes one over-qualified, 4 years where it looks like one did nothing but twiddling one's thumbs may not look good either)

Oh the system is deeply deeply f#(&ed up.

5-9-11, 11:28pm
how about teaching 1-2 classes a semester in any available subject at a community college? they often hire part time people a semester at a time, in order to save on paying any benefits. but it would get him in the door in the world of education, and even if it doesn't pay much, people do respect anyone who teaches, and it might open future doors.

if that doesn't work out, he could look into tutoring at the community college level. I remember there being several opportunities to do that in the recent past.

5-9-11, 11:35pm
substitute teaching? in some places, no teaching degree is required -- just any college degree will qualify a person to be a sub teacher.

you mentioned 8-5 mon-fri without manual labor. how about taking smaller steps to reach that goal? take on part time, seasonal, without benefits, and work your way up to the goal? as long as its in something that has room for advancement (teaching, tutoring) it's a good career move.

It took me 6 years of working odd shifts, double shifts, nights, holidays, weekends, etc etc in nursing before I landed the monday through friday nursing job with less physical labor. and i was 36 when i started my nursing career, so I understand the feeling of being nearly 20 years older than my peers, and yet having to go through all the boot-camp-like stuff of getting my foot in the door and proving myself. even though my peers were as young as my children. and some of my bosses and those who oriented me were younger than I was and didn't always have a nice attitude about it either ...

Zoe Girl
5-9-11, 11:58pm
I hear ya, so loud and clear that it hurts. The only thing that keeps me from losing my mind is meditating a lot. The ego is taking a serious busting here ya know, just brutal. And I think it affects our entire family both because of the earning level and the affect on my self worth/image. I can say it doesn't matter but it sure does at the end of the day when I am counting pennies again and and telling my kids no.

I have a teaching degree, it isn't much better with one and I wouldn't recommend adding one to his qualifications. However subsititute teaching is pretty good, shorter days in general and at least most of the school year. If you make connections you can work quite a bit by personal calls instead of impersonal computer calls. That makes it nice to go back to the same schools and classrooms.

I am doing the 'work my way in' method right now after 4 years of subbing and thinking I made connections. Now I really am and if I hadn;t been willing to take anything (that means low paid) then I wouldn't have this. However I still am stuck in my 7 days a week work for now and maybe a long time. I am just tired and fed up much like your hubby. All I can offer is hugs.

5-10-11, 12:19am
A friend of mine is currently a university professor at a small university in CT. He has a masters. He graduated with his degree in 1998, though -- so we are talking about 10 years to get there.

He worked at places like Kaplan (that train people to take tests), plus as an adjunct professor (teaching one or two classes a semester) at multiple universities, and he taught at an ESL school -- business writing for the most part (his degree is in english). Over time, he was able to hone into work at Kaplan and 2 universities (small, private), and then one of those universities hired him full time. It wasn't huge income, but it worked well for him.

Another colleague of my husband also graduated in 1998, and he moved to Japan. He was able to get a good job teaching English, and he lives quite nicely. It was a high school, and he is now the headmaster of the school. They provided his housing from day one and still do today. He is married (to a Japanese woman) and has three children. He does not speak Japanese.

I know that there are a lot of schools all over Asia looking for teachers to come and teach english at the high school or university level. They are constantly looking for people who speak only english. One of my friends here lived in Japan for 6 years teaching English. She taught in a school as well as a tutoring center for extra cash.

You might consider it. Korea is beautiful, as well as China. Singapore is a very peaceful place. You might also find placement in Thailand and Vietnam. And, as I said, many of these places provide housing.

5-10-11, 5:44am
Why not consider off shift work or weekends? It might expand his employment possibilites and often times the less popular shifts pay extra to get people to work them.

5-10-11, 6:00am
I don't want to be cold or unsympathetic, but the shortage of faculty jobs in the humanities and social sciences has been ongoing for over a decade, actually closer to two, and I am really surprised when I hear that people are still advising prospective grad students that there is any kind of market for someone with only an MA. Maybe in a very limited range of technical fields, in cases where the candidate has several years of industry experience. But for someone just coming out of a pretty basic, non-elite program? Sorry, those jobs dried up about twenty years ago, at least the stable, tenure track versions. Even gradautes of top-ranked Ph.D. programs in many fields are having trouble finding faculty positions these days. And life in adjunct land is nothing anyone wants to aspire to -- he probably will make more per hour sticking with service jobs. It pisses me off, actually, this lack of basic honesty about the job prospects. I am all for higher education in esoteric fields -- I have a BA/MA/PhD in cultural anthropoloogy myself, as does my DH (well, except his BA is in English Lit) -- and we loved our graduate studies. But one of the reasons we left academia is that the prospects for even one of us getting a tenure track position were not great (though we probably could have managed that), but trying to land TWO career-worthy jobs in the same geographic area were slim to none. We had an opportunity to work in the non-profit sector, working for the same organization on the same program, which meant being in the same place (and eventually relocating to China, which we wanted to do), and we jumped at it. It was hard to adjust to the idea at first, and to having to sit at a desk all day, but in the end I think it was the best and the right choice for us. I look at what peers went through to get tenure, and am not sorry I missed out on that particular variety of torture. And many are burned out after years of teaching the same courses, dealing with administrators, etc.

Anyway, on to more practical advice. I think the ESL angle is one you might wish to explore, especially if you are interested in travel and/or living overseas. It has its downsides, but can be a great way to live if you get the right kind of experience and qualifications. ANother angle woudl be to do the subbing/teaching in the US route (check out alternative routes to certification -- if not available in your state, they may be available elsewhere) followed by teaching in international schools. Here in Beijing the more elite of the international schools offer excellent packages for experienced teachers. If you have ESL or special needs training (including both gifted ed as well as learning disabilities), you would be in high demand. Math/science teachers are also in high demand (as they are in the US, another possible route to quick certification if you or your DH have any inclination toward those subjects).

I do think you need to think seriously about relocating in order to find more possibilities. Or else totally change your approach to the job search -- focus on who you know and what they need, rather than qualifications and standard job experience. If you want to stay where you are you need to find out who has a business that is growing, what they need, and what you can offer. Build the relationship first, and the job offers are probably more likely to follow. In small towns, that is often how things work. If you can get everyone in town to vouch for what great people you are, the chance is greater someone is going to take a chance on you if they have something that needs to be done.

Another possibility would be to try to build a business of your own. What needs doing that isn't being done, that you could apply your existing skill set and not a lot of capital to? SOmething where you could start small but dream big.

Again, I don't want to be unsympathetic but I think the sooner you guys realize that you need to take this situation by the horns and make the best of it, whatever that is, the better. Don't wallow in the reality you find yourselves in. Go out there and try to create a new reality. If that means moving to a place with more opportunity, you may just need to take that step.

Good luck and let us know how things develop.


5-10-11, 6:11am
Another thought. So, he is workign as a stocker. Which is kind of a sucky job. But can he see any way to improve it? Ways to tweak the process, to use what the stockers do to better understand/improve inventory management? CAn he apply his brain and skill set to making this mundane, thankless job something that makes an obvious contribution to his store? Maybe it would be difficult to move up into management if those positions don't open up often, but if it is a good company (which it might not be) and they have a policy of hiring from within (which they might not) maybe, just maybe he can make something of himself there. Or if he can't, maybe he can find a way to demonstrate what he knows and what he could contribute to a company that would be willing to give him a chance. He's a writer for goodness sake -- at the very least he can blog! He could become famous as "The MA musical stockboy who will fix your grocery store inventory management problems and churn out an indie pop classic while doing it" or something.

Now maybe that's a crazy idea, and maybe it won't work. But I think he is going to need to be creative to figure a way out of this.


5-10-11, 8:17am
I feel for you! I work in higher education. I have several degrees and have taught classes in five disciplines and still am not qualified for most tenured university positions. I can teach enough adjunct classes to comprise full-time, but, as others as have mentioned, I have no benefits through my employer. I am okay with this; I like being able to choose my work load based upon what is going on in my life. But it isn't the most stable profession, so it would be hard if I didn't have DH's job to lean on.

An M.A. in English is not really considered a terminal degree (unless it is an MFA--then it usually is). If he wants to teach in a university setting, he will want to pursue a PhD. Even if he had a PhD, he would still be up against people with tons of experience, those who have been published in scholalry journals, etc. I don't mean to be discouraging, but the education field is oversaturated in a many parts of the country, and competition is fierce.

I know exactly how it feels to work hard for a degree and then find out it really doesn't open many doors. I have been in that weird place where I am either overqualified or underqualified, and it is frustrating. Perhaps with his manufacturing experience, he can work his way into an office position within a factory (many of these positions do require degrees now). Otherwise, he can try applying to teach online or pursue opportunities at local community colleges (adjunct courses, GED/ESL courses, proctoring SATs, etc.). He might also be qualified to do online tutoring (like at Smarthinking--they pay $11-12 an hour, I think) or grade essays for Pearson, the ACT, or SAT.

5-10-11, 8:25am
The university in the state I live in has a temporary jobs pool office. Truthfully, it is the primary way that people get their foot in the door to an administrative position. Do you live near the U of Nebraska? Maybe they have something similar. Here, there is actually talk of eliminating the tenure system. It is kind of scary all of the changes going on...

iris lily
5-10-11, 8:29am
I don't want to be cold or unsympathetic, but the shortage of faculty jobs in the humanities and social sciences has been ongoing for over a decade, actually closer to two, and I am really surprised when I hear that people are still advising prospective grad students that there is any kind of market for someone with only an MA. ...


Sure, the technical minimum for teaching at a community college is master's but you and 50,000 other applicants will be applying, and those with a Phd and teaching experience and published works will be the real contenders.

5-10-11, 9:39am
Sure, the technical minimum for teaching at a community college is master's but you and 50,000 other applicants will be applying, and those with a Phd and teaching experience and published works will be the real contenders.

You guys must have different community colleges...at the state of AL community college system, the person who ends up getting the full time tenured position will probably not even meet the qualifications, but be a politician's or administrator's cousin, heh.

I work in academia (on the administrative side) and agree with lhamo's assessment. Positions have long been scarce in that realm.

I wouldn't rule out a teaching certificate for secondary though, I would really really take a hard look at where jobs may be though and what type of relocation would be expected. For example, I live in AL (as referenced above, duh) and teaching jobs here are fairly scarce outside of Math and Science. My sister has a secondary social science degree and it took her nearly a year to get a position. Everyone wants to hire a football coach to teach social studies, ugh. But, she had offers for interviews and would have easily gotten a job if she had considered moving to GA, but she didn't want to. So, there may be secondary teaching positions out there, it will probably take some research to see where and if this is still true (she graduated in 2007).

As mentioned above, subbing is a great way to get in the school system and make connections. Depending on your state, he can likely sub while still completing his teaching cert. requirements. The pay is lousy of course, but he can get a feel for what it is like every day being in a classroom without making the 100 percent commitment also.

5-10-11, 11:12am
The old saw "It's not what you know, but who you know" was never truer. You need to establish a deep and wide network of people in your chosen field and in the community, from my experience attempting a career change. My problem was one of timing--my internship ended just as the great IT bust of 2000 hit. And things are worse now. The best of luck to both of you.

5-10-11, 11:15am
I sympathize with you and your husband! He might consider doing freelance tutoring work for tutoring agencies that work with at-risk students. Some of the big guns, like Sylvan and Kumon and other large franchises, do require a state teaching certificate. However, some of the smaller operations would be thrilled to work with anyone with a Masters degree in English. If he can also assist with remedial math, or even higher math, he will be in great demand. He can also apply to Pearson and ETS to be a test scorer, reading AP exam essays from home, and perhaps mark and grade state competency exams for grade schoolers. Most of these firms give lots of training and many out-of-work teachers and grad students can make at least some money while they're job hunting.

Good luck...I got qualified as an ESL teacher in England, and have a Masters degree from the University of London, but the two American states I've lived in want to make me go back to school for four years and do an unpaid internship (aka "student teaching") for a term to have the privilege of competing for a public school teaching job that is already pre-filled by laid-off teachers hoping and praying to be called back!

5-10-11, 11:16am
Secondary teaching positions are rare, at least in Oregon. There are enough qualified, experienced, and unemployed teachers to fill any new position that comes available.

5-10-11, 1:52pm
Thank you for all of the responses, I really do appreciate them.

I must not have explained well enough that the teaching angle is pretty much out the window right now. We live in a small town of 30,000, and yes, the college is the University of Nebraska at Kearney. I happen to work there as well, as a secretary. I've been trying to use what contacts I have there to help him get his foot in the door - he actually applied for my old position in a different department - we thought he would be a shoo-in since they all know him but it didn't happen. There is one Sylvan center here but they aren't hiring at the moment. There are no other tutoring agencies. He tried to get an adjunct position in the English department this past January but they didn't have any open positions.

Teaching at a public school is something he has been vehemently against from the beginning and so it's no use entertaining thoughts of subbing. It would take too long to explain his stance on that so I'll just leave it at that.

Relocating is also absolutely out of the question, as is going overseas.

I'll have him read through this. Thanks again for listening.

5-10-11, 5:03pm
I can understand your frustration, then, particularly if you can't move.

5-10-11, 6:24pm
If you go on indeed.com,. there are some jobs for Kearney, varying widely, but it sure would not hurt to apply for some or all of them. Cabelas has two ads.

When I was looking for a job, I looked for everything, not just teaching, because I had a similar background with a very oversubscribed major and no available teaching jobs. I was told similar things about certification.

I worked for 5 years at IKEA for health benefits, while adjuncting at three different schools. We moved and I tutored at the writing center at another university. I kept adjuncting and looking and applied for something like 150 jobs to no avail. I was always adjuncting, even when it felt like I was knocking my head against a wall.

I am now full time faculty with health benefits. It took 11 years to get to that point, and I was about your husband's age when I started back to teaching after being a stay at home mom and getting divorced.

So it does happen for some people, but you have to have a pretty high tolerance for pain.

Honestly, I wish he was open to high school teaching, as he could probably get that, though he might have to move to get into an alternate certification program. It would be very easy in Georgia, for example. But lots of people really don't want to teach high school (myhusband, for example.)

Hang in there, and if you are committed to staying in Kearney, I would apply to every job there, and I would try to get something going of my own, like tutoring and/cleaning business, landscaping, something people willing to pay for.

Anne Lee
5-11-11, 5:19pm
Perhaps he could write for eHow or textbroker.com to help with the income.

What about doing the commuter marriage thing for two years if he could find another job in Lincoln or Omaha? Or, if you were feeling bold, you could rent your house out for a year or two and go with him.

I'm just brainstorming. Hard times call for hard decisions.

iris lily
5-11-11, 8:28pm
Having worked in several college towns, I can say that advanced degrees there are a dime a dozen. I didn't realize that the OP lived in a University town in the first post.That limits even more the jobs for those with advanced degrees since so many spouses of the University employed have those degrees.

5-11-11, 8:48pm

I've lived in University towns for the past 15 years and a there is a PhD on every neighborhood block (in some neighborhoods even more so).

5-12-11, 7:24am
A freind of mine who is a stay at home mom has a PhD in English Lit. She did some teaching of English Comp. but cannot do more where they are living. You are right, they are everywhere.

Float On
5-12-11, 10:59am
Are there many homeschoolers in your area? I have two friends who run school houses. One is limited to sciences/maths for Jr/Sr high school ages since that is her forte'. The other is a little more generic in what she offers and has students 1st-8th grade. Both seem to be doing very well, one has had her school about 8 years now and the other is going on her 3rd year. They really enjoy the freedom of setting their yearly calendar and having a variety of students. The first one (sciences/math) bought a little house in town to run as the school house, the other runs it out of her home. Sometimes you just have to make your own way.

5-12-11, 11:21am
I think there's probably a decent amount of advanced degrees (at least Masters anyway) in any major city, but maybe college towns are in a whole league of their own here.

5-12-11, 11:35am
Sorry to hear your story, it sounds like everyone sincerely tried to do best for the family and didn't get very good advice.

the one job opportunity I didn't see mentioned is working with special ed kids. Our town, much smaller than yours has several houses that have three shifts of workers and the local agency has lots of need for people to help accompany clients to jobs etc. It wouldn't be in his field but the work is very rewarding and would allow him to use some of his training. I do on call work and there is a great need here. Lots of my co-workers are unemployed masters prepared teachers. You won't get rich but there is a lot of work and at least it is some experience.

One more crazy idea is when kids move out of the dorms they throw away all kinds of stuff. I know a local group that picks stuff up when the dorms close in the spring and have a big yard sale the weekend kids are moving into the dorms. One of them has an old barn to store the stuff so that has limited practicality but they raise thousands.

I really feel for you, one of my sibs was unemployed for a while then landed a job with the county for the benefits. It sucks the life out of you. Hang in there.

5-12-11, 3:53pm
I think there's probably a decent amount of advanced degrees (at least Masters anyway) in any major city, but maybe college towns are in a whole league of their own here.

Every administrative assistant I know is either working on an advanced degree or has one, so yeah, I would say college towns are an overeducated bunch.

5-12-11, 5:30pm
An enterprising man left a message on my office phone (I am a psychologist in independent practice; one woman show, as it were) offering services that a professional might need: research in professional journals, writing up summaries, managing information (client data, I think), and basically offering to doany administrative work that I might have. He was a person who had a master's degree, had worked in research labs, and was figuring out how to turn his skills into a business. I didn't take him up on this because I have a very small practice, just beginning and no extra funds for staff, but it was a pretty creative idea for use of his skills.

Someone who can turn professional journals into readable material for the general public has very important skills. However, those skills don't translate into jobs necessarily. Grantwriting is a path, perhaps, or offering to develop promotional materials for non-profits (for a fee, of course), or some other way to showcase and use those excellent critical thinking and communications skills.

Just some ideas....I feel for your husband, and I have to second lhamo's thought that he was poorly informed when told that the MA would be able to lead to community college teaching jobs. Best wishes to you both.

5-12-11, 11:51pm
First here is a good luck and a prayer. Second,are you totally settled where you are. I'd go online and find where teachers are needed. There are some states and cities that are laying off and others that can't fine enough teachers. He could work his way up to college level.What can I say. In 1974 I started from Ohio and am in Odessa,Texas following my job market. My only problem now is,I am getting old.

5-16-11, 11:58am
Following other links posted on this forum, to yet other links (just surfing the net in other words), I came across this:


WOW. That blog makes a very compelling case that humanities graduate degrees are a SYSTEM OF EXPLOITATION. How exploitative? Probably far more exploited than your lowliest Wal-Mart worker.

According to that blog, humanities grad students are exploited as cheap labor for years, constantly sold false promises (lies) on their future employability by the faculty and staff (such misdirection is NECESSARY to keep the system of exploitation and cheap labor going), and the very personality traits that make them good grad students are used to KEEP them in bondage, all by an institution that doesn't claim to be "low prices always", doesn't claim to be just another corporation out for a buck and to maximize shareholder value with a thin veneer that they care about anything else, but that claims to be a bastion of culture, of human values and concern for the ideals and the inner world of human beings, of the finest humanity has achieved, etc.. It's the perfect crime.

The blog also talks about how humanities grad students can go about actually finding a job.

If what it argues is true, it does no good to say: "I did exactly what I was supposed to do and it didn't work" because "what you were told to do" represents how you were deliberately lied to and used. Don't get whiny, get angry, but first just do whatever you must to get a job :~)

5-17-11, 3:07pm
Doing volunteer work is one way to get experience in a new career field and impresses potential employers well. It generally also results in at least one good reference and expands one's network. There are plenty of non-profits and churches which could use help, and the work and social contact helps to prevent the "nobody wants me blues". I know of at least one person who got the IT job of his dreams this way.