Wednesday, December 9

Passion vs. Prudence : Job Hunting in 2009


As most of you know, I am currently interning at two very different organizations while I complete my masters degree. Both of my supervisors have offered each position until May, and I accepted their offers. One job is with a large government agency, and the other is with a small non-profit.

Although I have really enjoyed the networking and the experience of working in such a large agency over the past 8 months, I am not sure that I would want to remain in this type of position indefinitely. The level of bureaucracy can be totally overwhelming, and I have found it difficult to maintain my composure when I see so much money being wasted when there is so much need in this city.

I feel like I can be more creative at my non-profit position, and that I am able to contribute in a more tangible manner to both the organization and the cause. Although I have been there less time, I feel equally or perhaps even more comfortable with the staff and office space.

I have been really transparent with both of my supervisors throughout this internship process about my desire to transition into a full time job either before or around May (when I graduate). Both have indicated that they will help me identify and pursue positions, although nothing concrete has appeared.
The small non-profit, however, just posted that they are hiring a new full-time staff member.

I knew that this was likely to happen in the next few days, and I had already indicated potential interest to the executive director.

After reading the job description I am torn.

I think I would really enjoy the responsibilities of this position. It is a training and outreach position, and would require a good bit of organizational skills and interaction with community stakeholders in various projects. Although I would likely have to learn more about some of these programs, I think I could do a good job.

If I were to transition into this position, however, I would probably have to put aside all of my current projects. I am sure that someone could take over my responsibilities, but I have become really invested in my work. I know that the organization with like to eventually create a position that might encompass some of these projects, but it’s likely to take months to figure out—and will probably only be ½ or ¾ time.

I also do not want the non-profit staff/director to think that I am applying for this job simply because it’s available and I want something full-time. Although I have been very transparent about my desire for something permanent in New York, I would not submit an application if I did not think I could do a good job or if I were uninterested in the work.

I also do not want to lose out on the opportunity to (potentially) continue with my current work and finish all of my projects.

Is it smarter to try something new and appreciate the security?

Or better to hold out and see what happens?

Patience is not one of my (many!) virtues, but presenting myself as a candidate for this position while already an intern is not without risks. If they decide to hire someone else for the training job, I wonder if they will even consider me as a good candidate for other jobs. If I chose not to pursue this opportunity, am I kind of shooting myself in the foot due to some potentially unfounded concerns?

Is it worse to look overeager for any full-time work or to seem inflexible about open positions?

Lots to think about!


Sam Nelson said...

Speaking as a part-time staff member at the small nonprofit, I hope you'll apply for the position. It would suck to lose you in May!