Submitted to: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/24/2008
Publication Date: 6/15/2008
Citation: Herrick, J.E. 2008. A lunch date with your future: Exploring non-academic jobs through personal interviews. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 6:337-338.
Technical Abstract: This article is a response to an article by Eileen Thorsos in which she describes how non-academic jobs can be explored through personal interviews. The response emphasizes the importance of finding people, rather than job titles, to interview. The same title can mean very different things in different organizations, and even within the same organization. Soil scientists who work for the Natural Resources Conservation Service may be asked to spend much of their time conducting workshops and developing protocols, while US Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and US Geological Survey scientists often have responsibilities that are virtually distinguishable from those of university professors with 100% research appointments. Although Thorsos’ structured approach has several potential benefits, more serendipitous conversations can be equally valuable when searching for subjects, keep in mind that the most obvious venues are not necessarily the best. The article concludes by encouraging other students to follow Thorsos’ lead, while keeping in mind that many of the same limitations that apply to ecological research based on small, non-random samples also apply to career investigations.