Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thankful for small blessings...and a few big ones

It's been a rough few months. I'm still trying to find my feet outside the Ivory Tower. Haven't gotten any interviews yet. I'm guessing that this is because 1) my cover letters don't really stand out and 2) I don't have anyone on the inside vouching for me. I have adjusted my resume slightly so that skills and experience are on top and have redone my cover letters to have a bit more personality. I've also extended my network a bit and they've offered to help me out if their company has an opening. So, hopefully I'll be making more progress in this dimension soon.

Given some of the stories floating around the post-academic blogosphere, I am glad that most of my academic friends are supportive of my move and do try to be sensitive about what questions they ask. I don't actually converse with my old advisor for a variety of reasons. I'm sure that helps some. It lessens the stress a bit.

In the meantime, Boyfriend has been supporting me with no complaints. He works all day and the only thing I can offer in return is good food and saving money on dog-walking. I am so thankful for having him around. He even swings by the public library on occasion and picks up DVDs. We're catching up on Dr. Who, from the beginning. The number of people having hysterics is fairly annoying and I'm not a fan of William Hartnell as the Doctor. And we're getting into The Living Dead. Far less hysterics despite the greater number of zombies.

Family also help. My parents are still willing to support me a little on my own bills. They also drive several hours and show up with things I left at their house when I moved. If I ever make it big as a writer, I definitely need to refill their retirement savings. They also help me build an inventory for my etsy shop.

Privilege is one of those topics that keep coming up in conversations about higher ed. I have to say that though I am by no means the 1%, I am thankful for the privilege I have and the friends I've found.

Aaaannnd, here's some more shameless promotion of my stuff.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I have not given business people enough credit

One of the perks of leaving academia for me was having more free time - free time I did not feel guilty about not working. Now as a still-unemployed post-academic I find I have far too much free time. So, I had to do something with it.

I started an etsy shop. If you don't know about etsy, go there and procrastinate for a few hours. It's a site where people can sell vintage and homemade things. Anyone can start a shop.

I've always been crafty. It's one of the perks of growing up poor - you learn to make stuff on your own rather than paying someone else to do it for you. Though I have many crafty talents that lead to stuff everywhere (Boyfriend has been dealing with this remarkably well), I am only selling a few things on my etsy shop.

I make hand-sewn home-made books, the old fashion way. Right now I'm just using watermarked acid-free paper to make blank journals. Once I work all the bugs out I will hopefully be using my own homemade recycled acid-free paper for the pages and designing my own covers. As it is now, I'm using decorative paper and fabric I find to cover them.

I'm also selling jewelry that I make out of clay. So far it's just macabre and steampunk inspired stuff. I make no promises as to where I'm going with this but hopefully they'll sell to the other weird folks roaming the web.

That's why I haven't been here. I've been applying to jobs and building inventory. There has been some movement in the job front. If it turns into something, I'll share the tale with you. The whole etsy shop thing has been an eye opener though.

The shop is like having a storefront. You have to deal with supplies, inventory, pricing, advertising, shipping, traffic. Take whatever it is that you make in your free time. Try pricing it. Seriously. Think about how much the supplies to make it cost, how much time it took to make, how much your time is worth, and still be competitive. And try to be a good boss to yourself too.

On top of that, you have to advertise your wares. That means coming up with a title, some description, and pictures. Oh the pictures. Pictures will be the death of me. You only get one picture for each item to get people into your shop. You have to make it good. If this was the only way I had to make money, it would seriously be stressful.

As I was writing this, someone favorited one of my items. That's the most progress I've seen in a few weeks.