After two and a half long months of searching for a job, I have finally landed one, at the NCSU Library. Starting on the 27th, I’ll be an administrative assistant in the Digital Collections department. This will be basically a return to the job I had in 1999, before I went to graduate school, only I will be making $29K a year instead of $32K.* That’s what a non-science liberal arts MA gets you, I suppose.
Still, it’s nice to have a job, especially as the economy slides into what could be a very nasty recession. The people I met during the interview seemed like nice folks, and despite the mundane nature of some of my position’s responsibilities, it promises a wide variety of more demanding tasks as well.
I can’t find statistics on my particular variety of underemployment, but by a narrower definition of the term the current underemployment rate is about 11%, the highest it’s been for 14 years. Certainly a federal stimulus package would help many of these people. But what about people like me? Can the government please send me some interesting things to do, preferably involving the history of science and technology?
*These are absolute figures. Adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, $29K today is worth only $22K. To regain my former station in terms of spending power, I would have to make $42K. Though this does not take into account regional differences in prices and wages. Today, making $29K in Raleigh is equivalent to $34.5K in Seattle, which puts me closer to the inflation-adjusted stasis point.