Looking Outside The Field

Sometimes, as a museum professional, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going… You have to be adaptable. And by adaptable, I mean you have to be flexible when hunting for a job. Earlier this week I received an email inviting me to interview for an Administrative Assistant position I had applied to the week before. The position is not within a museum, nor is it really museum related. The job is at a marketing and e-commerce company. I am actually a little excited about it despite the job not being in the museum field. I do think the position would challenge me and expand my knowledge and experience for potential use in the museum field. The job involves mostly administrative work, but also includes some digital assets and data management responsibilities which I think would translate well into future digitization and digital curation work. Depending on the company culture and if there is room for growth, I could acquire even more knowledge on how companies leverage their digital content to generate revenue. I think observing how non-museum or even for profit organizations operate would provide some useful insight and ideas that museums could incorporate into their own business operations. While I am not counting my chickens before they hatch, I think it is important to consider the future and how each position you apply to can help you grow as a person, grow your career, and make you competitive in future jobs. Furthermore, I think it helps to move around fields to keep things interesting and so you don’t feel stagnate and bored.

In a previous post of mine, I mentioned my Masters thesis. In this paper I analyzed how cultural institutions in Balboa Park are using their digital content to generate revenue. This is something I have really taken to heart as well. I am starting to include my personal photographs on this blog, and even debating selling some of them. That depends on if there is an expressed interest in purchasing them. At this stage of my job search I am trying be creative and look in multiple directions to create additional income for my family.

While this job hunting has been a little demoralizing, there have been a few interview invitations I have ignored or declined because I decided I was not all that interested in the position. I am trying not to be too picky at this point, but if I can’t get myself excited about the position I won’t interview well, and it would just be a waste of time for myself and the interviewer.  This position I am interviewing for is not the first non-museum job I have applied to, and it probably will not be the last either if I do not end up getting hired. Throughout this job hunting process I have been fairly selective in the positions that I have applied to. As I already mentioned, I am looking at positions that I have previous work experience in or at least related experience, and the potential job experience could translate into the museum field. I want to be sure that even though I am not currently working in the field, that I can still reenter it at a later time when I wish. This outside of the box type of job hunting is new for me, but I actually find it kind of fun. It is a bit of a challenge trying to take these things into consideration as I read job postings, research companies, and glean as much information as I can before applying.

As many people know research and preparation for an interview is imperative. It was something I was already aware of prior to the start of my job hunting, but little did I realize just how in depth some of these interview processes go. One interview required me taking a 190 question personality test on top of several other questionnaires. A huge waste of time if you ask me. Especially when people could easily lie. That is not to say I did, but rather an observation. A recruiting agency for another position required an assessment of my Microsoft Office capabilities. While this is completely valid, the program they used for the assessment was clunky at its best, and impossible to use at its worst. Anytime I clicked anywhere on the screen that was not the next step in the task I had to start over again. I almost threw my lap top out the window… I have had some unexpected interview questions as well. Such as inquiring about my ability to travel while having a child and a husband in the military. I know I know… Information that a potential employer does not need to know. It was one of my first interviews when I dove into job hunting and I was rusty and I’ll prepared. It was one of the first mistakes I had made, and not the only. There have been a few other mistakes I have made…. Hello social anxiety, you make it difficult to relax sometimes. From not knowing how to answer questions thoroughly and relating them to previous experience to not bringing enough copies of my resume. I have learned a lot along the way. The most recent challenge that I have been working on is being confident in pausing and allowing a period of silence while I consider my answer to a question. This blog is so aptly named because I sometimes ramble when I get anxious, or I blurt out responses that aren’t entirely complete thoughts. I’m a work in progress, no denying that. With that said, I should go get prepared for my interview tomorrow. Until next time, persevere folks!

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