Wednesday, November 07, 2007

In Which We Ponder New Career Directions

I have been an archaeologist for a long time, starting with my first fieldwork in southern Peru in 1987, to lab work in grad school, to freelance artifact illustration after grad school, to the fulltime gig chasing rocks here in the desert since 1994. I have a few "real" publications on my resume and wheelbarrows full of CRM "gray literature" to my name. I've named a few projectile points and put together a regional typology other researchers have adopted. I'm teetering on the edge of putting together a definitive big-picture treatment of a major prehistoric arrowhead industry in Arizona. Grad students call me with questions. Professionals ask my opinion.

And I think I'm sick of it all.

During my freshman year in high school, we took a career aptitude test. Sister Jeanne told us to take it seriously, and I was thrilled to be missing her algebra class period for the test, so I cheerfully complied and answered the multiple-choice activity preference questions as thoughtfully as a 14-year-old can. The results came back some time later. My suggested future careers? Rabbi. Or handbag assembler.

Rabbi? I had checked the "Catholic" box on the form.

Archaeology is very much a jack-of-all-trades sort of profession, incorporating elements of history, biology, anatomy, geology, geomorphology, soils science, hydrology, chemistry, physics, geometry, metallurgy, tribology, agronomy, botany, zoology, sociology, political science, cartography, art, technical writing, essay, and landscaping. First-aid skills are a plus. What other work does this actually prepare me for? Fuck if I know.

Training assistance dogs would be rewarding. I don't know how you break into that field. Engineering awesome prosthetic limbs for people who got blown up in Iraq would be extremely rewarding, but I'm thinking that takes higher level math than my brain can handle. I like hiking, picking up rocks, taking pictures of dramatic scenery and pretty flowers, and writing about it afterwards. That probably doesn't pay too well; actually, it's what I mostly do on this blog, and no one has yet come forward with a fat contract for me to sign.

The dream job, really, would be running an independent bookstore with a good coffee bar inside, next door to an Irish pub, with a good bakery down the street. Boltgirl Books. Did I mention the coffee bar also has Guinness on tap?

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