The biology graduates guide to successfully being unsuccessful

Step 1: Graduate without a job

You know, I could say that step one is to enter the biology field.  However, as any good biologist knows, there is a difference between proximate and ultimate factors.  Therefore, I will categorize “choosing biology” as the ultimate factor and focus on the proximate factors (e.g. department, university, location, job markets, job choices, corrupt systems).

Graduation.  Everyone will be so artificially happy for you.  Speakers will cast their voices across the crowd of inattentive graduates.  I recommend spending your time making fun of people in the crowd.  I found sleeping old people to be rather amusing.  Where is waldo was easy to play as well.  Think of a fellow graduate, then try to find him/her in the crowd.  Once you find them, you can choose to either send them texts and giggle as the confusedly look around for you, or you can  simply find someone else to look for.  The ceremony will drone on for about 30 minutes longer than you expect, and yes you will be hot.  Boredom will lead to exhilaration as the ceremony finally come to a close and everyone excitedly files out.

Graduated.  It’s a feeling that you feel all over.  You just spent about 80% of your life in school and now you’re done.  Your fellow graduates will run around telling everyone about their sweet new jobs, or how hard it was to get into grad school and that their poop is in a group.  You however, chose biology so being graduated is fun and all, but now one question will Star Wars style scroll through your head. What now? Don’t fret! I’m here to help.

See I graduated in Wildlife Biology, a field that offers few options.  I can go to school for the rest of my 20’s and work on some minuscule grad projects like something to do with rodents in some boring midwestern state, or capturing some species of beetle in a boring east coast state. From there I can move into an office somewhere and spend the rest of my life making mediocre money telling other people about rodents and beetles.  Or I can go back for more school, and try to become a professor in which case I can tell a different set of doomed students the same information year after year.  My saving grace would be landing bigger and better projects on significantly cooler animals, except now I’m hiring grad students to do it while I sit inside and crunch numbers and write papers because I wasted my youth playing with rodents and beetles.

Welcome to biology.

Most people want to know: What does it take to be successful in the biology field? Well I’m here to tell you how to be unsuccessful, because that’s all I’ve done.

Follow these tips to graduate with a degree in Biological Sciences without a job:

1. Have big dreams to live somewhere conducive to your lifestyle.

–Wanting to live somewhere cool is a good way to be too selective in your application process. See, the jobs that are easier to get are located somewhere that no one wants to work.  Therefore, trying to     apply for jobs in Alaska, Utah, Colorado (CSU monopolizes that whole state because they actually try hard to get their students jobs), California, Oregon etc.  is incredibly hard.

2. Take a job early in your college career that you don’t want but do for experience

— Your advisors and parents will tell you; “Sometimes you have to take a less desirable job to get experience.” WRONG! I took a fisheries job my sophomore year even though I hated fisheries, then the next year I still had zero experience for wildlife jobs and I could now only compete for fisheries jobs.  It’s like being typecasted in a film (like Adam Sandler being the same character always).

3. Dislike the state you go to college in

— Colleges are all about helping get you a job if it contributes to the local economy.  So if you’re willing to live in your state you have a better chance of getting a job.  However, I went to school in South Dakota, why the hell would I want to live in South Dakota?!?!

4. Try harder than other students in your department

—  This is hit or miss.  Some kids try so incredibly hard and are very successful, however, they usually want to stay in the same state 😉 Me, I got better grades, and had more common sense (like being able to spell or write a decent paper or not sounding like a complete idiot in all my presentations) than many students in my department, but I didn’t want to stay in state, so my hard work didn’t mean shit.

5. Apply for a lot of jobs, one will take you

— I applied for upwards of 30 jobs off biology job boards every year, and was offered one (capturing insects in NC… TOLD YA!!!) and I didn’t take it.

6. Give up on biology jobs for the summer, and hope that getting one is easier when all the kiddies go back to school after August.

–This is my current career plan.  I applied for jobs from December until late April and didn’t even get a single interview.  However, I applied for a single climbing job, and after they read through my resume and saw my experience and enthusiasm, I received a callback and interview in less than a week.  Cool how I have 4 years education in something and can’t get a job, but have five years of solid experience in something else and I can get a job in that.  Why did I go to college? Anyways, I’ll start applying for jobs in August and see if the market opens itself back up.  Good luck fellow biologizers!

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