Sallying forth from studentdom


in Daily updates

Wadham College quad at night

Amidst growing thesis panic (three draft chapters due in less than 30 days), I am also looking forward to the ominous period after my final exams, where I will have neither a job nor another academic program upcoming. Having decided not to apply straight into PhD programs, this amplifies the importance of finding an interesting job, and soon.

I have tried contacting the people who I know who seem best connected to the kind of organizations that I would like to work for, but have hitherto been without luck. My objective is essentially to find an interesting job in a place that is at least tolerable that will pay enough to live and to finance my existing student debts. I really want to work for an organization which I admire. Those include the following:

  • The Economist
  • The United Nations Environment Program
  • Amnesty International
  • Wikepedia
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Transparency International
  • The Lonely Planet (being paid to travel, write, and take photos would be excellent)
  • Environment Canada
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross

As a relatively unattached person, I am happy to go almost anywhere. I am limited to fluency in English and a reasonable knowledge of French (which would increase rapidly with immersion). My CV (sans menial minimum wage jobs) is here.

Anyone with more experience in these matters, or suggestions for how any of the above might be achieved, is very much encouraged to let me know.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley December 20, 2006 at 9:30 pm

I was showing my boss some blogs of note when I decided to show him yours for superior public audience writing. When he saw your interest in Environment Canada up there he suggested I send you to him…

Cast your bread upon the water and it comes back a chicken sandwich, my Grandma always says.

Milan December 21, 2006 at 3:52 am


As one of those mythical people who has made the transition from university to actual paid work, I was hoping you might be able to offer some insight into how all of this works.

Anon @ Wadh December 21, 2006 at 6:09 pm

Why not spend five hours each applying to those organizations. That’s just over a week of full time work and would surely pay dividends.

Anon @ Wadh December 21, 2006 at 6:43 pm

While not a paid job, this might interest you:

The Foreign Policy Association is looking for a volunteer to blog once a day about climate change. It might be too much work for you, but it sounds like a good opportunity.

Ashley December 22, 2006 at 8:35 pm

My story is a simple one, yet unfinished, filled with persistence.

I didn’t get into the two half hearted schools I had applied late to, so I needed work. Necessity so often the mother of success.

1) applying to employment agencies — these differ from temp agencies. You want to have a sit down interview for at least half an hour. Try to be light hearted and agreeable. Make this person your friend so that the very best job offer they receive will go to you. They are your broker.

2) Once you are in the door of one of your top ten (for me it was any federal work save INAC– long story) you start to netowrk like crazy, read all about the organization, join every meeting/group you hear about, and start meeting people and discreetly putting yourself ‘out there.’ This is a very heart breaking process. I recommend getting a serious hobby like skiing/reading all the fiction you were denied in university to eat up all your non-work hours so you will feel like there still is a point to being alive.

3) If step two was successful someone should take notice of you, take you under their wing and start to mentor you. Hopefully this will come with a short term contract of some sort. You ahve been reading all about the organization so you know what they need and where your skills can fill those gaps. At this point you have been bought off the temp/employment agency so all your paycheck belongs to you. You need not pay $4 of every hour to someone who received a phone call.

4) Once you have gained a short erm contract you will realize when that ends you will be without income. Start saving your bread and apply frantically to “external postings”: or in your ase you may be interested in the “Recruitment of Policy Leaders” program. The Feds frequently scout overseas and if my Rhodes pal is any evidence they give out nice, nice gigs

Milan December 22, 2006 at 8:38 pm


I would naturally much prefer to secure a job before I finish the program. Otherwise, I won’t even know where to go when this is all done.

That said, there is certainly a need for fallback options. Please feel very free to pass along my interest to your boss. I can send you a CV, transcripts, etc if desired.

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