Monday, October 18, 2004

In pursuit of the nebulojob
(or, FancyPants Consulting Agency Incorporated wants you for their army.)

Nebulojob. I’m not sure if this made-up word is one I acquired or came up with myself. But I use it to describe occupational titles that are vague and nebulous. Team leaders, efficiency architects, strategy engineers – it’s like I only have a sense of what these people do, and while I try to learn more about these characteristically corporate career descriptions, sometimes it’s just easier for me to file it all under “nebulojob.”

(Side note: only when writing about this now did I realize that word contains sounds reminiscent of the phrase “blow job.” For the record, that was never intended, nor am I trying to make any inferences about the nature of such occupations. I think.)

At any rate, I’ve always included a nebulojob as a potential career option. Specifically the nebulojob known as “consulting.” Apparently consulting firms hire people with Big Degrees in Something, they talk to people about Doing Stuff, and they make a lot of money. Sounds… promising. But I wanted to know more.

So last week, when FancyPants Consulting Agency Incorporated came to campus for a recruiting/information session specifically targeted at biomed.-research Ph.D. students like myself, I enthusiastically went, hoping that it would shed light on how well-suited I might be for this sort of job. Or at least help me figure out if it sounded at all cool. Could *I* perhaps be a good candidate for Doing Stuff and Making Money?

The presentation was definitely appealing. They played heavy on the scientific method applied to corporate dilemma aspect, with the added bonus of travel opportunities, talking to people, not applying for grants, and working on diverse subjects (from pharmaceuticals to media or finance, for instance.) It was pretty slick, and I have to say I was somewhat impressed.

Choice phrases which stuck out:
“advancement opportunities,”
“what YOU bring to the table!”
“We work together as a TEAM to solve problems!”

Oh, and :
“Starting salary up to $160,000 a year”
(although it took some egging on to get this answer, since they were at first all jokey -- “more than your grad student stipend – ha ha!” Ha. Ha. )

Even the intensive interview process sounded exciting – you’re invited to group projects, get evaluated on your interactions and ideas, and people are slowly eliminated until they offer a job to only about one out of eight applicants. It was like The Apprentice! In real life! Except with… scientists! (Hmmm.)

So I’m still somewhat considering this as something to shoot for, or perhaps just to try out for a little bit. Not sure yet, and I do have to check out to learn more about these mini-internships they have. If anything, just for the experience. But I have a strong sense that this is probably *not* something I’d have my heart in for very long. Oh, but what is it about unemployment/lack of job availability that allures me so?


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