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Hello there.

I am finally receiving word form abroad that my thesis was approved and I should be receiving my MA. I've been aiming at teaching at the university level. Now. How does one begin? I've searched openings.... don't find many anywhere.... Do I just send resumes/approach universities? How do I get my foot in the door?

This jumbled message reflects my brain state at the moment.

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Hi, Lauren,
Are you in the U.S.? If so, you'll need a Ph.D. for most university level teaching. M.A. level anthros will be able to teach at the adjunct level. The pay is a lot worse; in many cases, there's no benefits (depends on the state and the university system). In return, you have no or little administrative/committee work and a lot of flexibility. That's why it's a good option for ABDs (people who have taken all the steps to a Ph.D. except finishing writing the dissertation, it means All But Dissertation). And boy are there a lot of ABDs out there doing adjunct work, as well as a lot of Ph.D.s. Which is to say that you'd have a lot of competition for adjunct jobs as well.
Whether you can get adjunct teaching positions also depends on where you are. I was in Chicago, and I adjuncted at four different schools. One of them definitely would have accepted M.A.s (it was an arts and media school), and the pay was pretty good because the adjuncts were unionized. So look for a union! It gives you more job security.
I know this is discouraging, but that's what the job market for teaching is like.
On the other hand, a lot of my friends have gone into consulting. I've been told by consulting and marketing and assessment/evaluation companies that they prefer M.A.s as they come in with less arrogance about their importance. The pay can be excellent, even in the non-profit sector, compared to academic positions, especially adjuncting.
Good luck on the job search!
Hey Kate, thanks for that. I've been trying to find some consulting firms, etc. that are interested in taking new graduates with MA's. A bit difficult? Any advice on freelancing?

Hi, Jesse,
It depends on where you are. You might try Context-Based Research in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. They hire people from a distance -- I did a project in Chicago for them. Of course, it's not super exciting to be doing your fieldwork at a remove from the analysis, but it's a start and it fills the household treasury. Join your local practitioners' organization, go to the national meetings, etc. I find the local practitioners' meetings (I was among the officers of the Chicago Association for the Practice of Anthropology for a few years) very useful as we make the move into consulting, marketing, etc. There's usually a day-long workshop on becoming a consultant (i.e., a freelancer) at the SfAAs, so get there and take that! You'll need to know how to market yourself, how to budget, how to write a business proposal, figure out how much time a certain job would take you, etc.
But you can a lot of this from your local practitioners' organization. Go to http://www.practicinganthropology.org/lpos/ for a list of local practitioner organizations to find one you could join.
But I'm not currently consulting, so I don't have alot of practical advice for you. A lot of my consultancies came by chance. I went out and talked to people about what I did, but the work arose out of someone saying to someone they needed someone to ... and a colleague saying to me that I would be good for it. I also did a lot of work through my happenstance association with a research institute.
Freelancing can pay tremendously well, but you really need to know how to value your labor AND you need to have a high tolerance for periods of no money!
Good luck!
Here's an example of a business-oriented job, just so you can see what you'd need to learn or get experience in if you decided to take this route:
Below is a description for a senior user researcher position in Avenue
A | Razorfish's Chicago office. Those with a social science background
are particularly encouraged to apply.

Please direct all questions and inquiries to:
Tina Maudsley



Senior User Researcher

Core Qualifications
As a Senior User Researcher with Avenue A | Razorfish, you must
demonstrate the following:

•Experience supporting and participating in new business development
under the direction of a more senior team member

•Experience contributing to the design and development of research
materials for a variety of clients and project types (usability
testing, ethnographic inquiries, secondary literature searches, and
working with CIG) including: research plans, participant criteria and
screeners, discussion guides, behavioral analyses, usability
protocols, and research tools such as visual diaries, card sorts, etc

•Solid knowledge of and experience with the principles of:
interviewing and observation, ethnographic techniques, heuristic &
site audits, usability, card sorting, experience modeling

•Solid proven performance in the execution of a variety of research
methods offered in the UR discipline with at least one expertise

•Experience developing strategic recommendations and next steps

•Experience producing and delivering research reports for most UR
methods offered in the UR discipline

•Experience facilitating client and internal teams through "experience
modeling" workshops

•Experience leading internal teams through the translation of research
findings and brainstorming of solutions

•Experience presenting case studies or other educational presentations
to internal audiences

•Familiarity with Strategy and how to use research to inform and
develop a POV or perspective that differentiates us from our competition

•Familiarity with IA methodology and knowledge of how to use research
to support their needs

•Familiarity with the design process and how to use research to
support their needs

•Experience mentoring others

•Experience contributing to an internal UX initiative

•Informed point of view on best practices, trends and opportunities
within the digital space

•Insatiable hunger to solve problems in a new, relevant and
interesting way

•Self-directed approach to tasks

•Thoughtful, detail-oriented approach to all assigned tasks

•Ability to grasp concepts – be they highly conceptual, complex and/or

•Flexibility in assignments

•Team-oriented, collaborative approach to tasks

Areas of Contribution
Working with leadership on any given team, you will be expected to
contribute in the following ways:

•Participate in scoping new work

•Participate in approach development for new and existing work

•Participate in solution development/overall client strategy

•Actively participate in knowledge sharing among all team members

•Actively participate in the hiring process

•Lead an internal UX initiative

•Participate in UX team meetings focusing on skill growth, discipline
growth, etc





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