Sunday, December 03, 2006

Archaeology Offers No Career

The Grumpy Old Bookman is fond of saying that fiction-writing is an excellent hobby but completely unrealistic, indeed self-destructive, as a professional career. I periodically repeat the same statement for archaeology. Scandinavia is one of the parts of the world where there are the most jobs per capita in archaeology. Still there are tens of unemployed Scandinavian archaeologists for each one that has a job, however short-term and badly paid.

Here's a recent newspaper story that shows what I'm talking about. Johanna Edqvist of Gothenburg has two MA degrees, one in archaeology and one in museology, and a €32 100 study debt. The only steady job she's been able to find is 25% of full time -- at a Kindergarten.

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Blogger Karen said...

Martin, do they have a link to an English version of the article? I couldn't see one that was easily recognizable. From the sounds of it, this does not bode well for my future plans.

Ha ha! My word verification today: fatpmp :-)

03 December, 2006 13:40  
Blogger Martin said...

Sorry, there's no English-language version.

The woman says she regrets doing the museology degree and that the archaeological labour market is entirely based on contacts.

Fatpmp sounds vaguely erotic. Or does it mean liposuction? My verification string is "qkwyn". Looks like a Gaelic expletive.

03 December, 2006 13:50  
Blogger Henrik said...

Keep up the bad hype, Martin!

As mean, selfish archaeologists we have to disencourage new candidates in the discipline and keep the jobs for our friends!

Er, well, if we had any spare jobs...

But in fact the job opportunities in Danish archaeology right now are better than ever before - partly because of a boom in construction works and partly because of a change in the hiring policies of some major museums.

I'm verified by 'ualhwcrp' which I believe to be a term used extensively in Beowulf as a noun that denotes the war-cry of a Grendel who has had far too much spiced mead the night before. The word, so scholars of that particular field believe, derives from the adjective 'ual-', (meaning 'war-like' or 'that which has to do with the battlefield') and 'hwcrp' an onomatopoetic describing alcohol-related vomiting.

03 December, 2006 17:19  
Blogger Karen said...

fatpmp - Ah, I see, you were thinking "Fat Pump". I was thinking "Fat PIMP".

Does she say why she regrets the museology degree? And is she just looking for work in Sweden or just about anywhere?

03 December, 2006 21:19  
Blogger Martin said...

Henrik: haha, you're a gem, man! Good to know there are jobs in yndige Denmark. Maybe it has to do with your longer archaeology programs at the universitites: fewer kids make it through them to the end, and they have more time to pick up contacts.

Karen: She doesn't really say why she's dissing the museology, but I guess it's because there are even fewer jobs there than in field archaeology. Generally speaking, it seems downright stupid to do two MAs in so similar subjects. She should have gone on to an MBA instead.

She seems to be looking for jobs mainly around Gothenburg.

03 December, 2006 22:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martin, I suggest you explain on your blog what an MA in archeology would do if they are not doing real research. I think this would make a nice blog-entry and it should attract some comments.

04 December, 2006 13:59  
Blogger Karen said...

Yes, two MAs does seem not quite right. Why wouldn't she do her MA in either Archaeology or Museology and then do the Ph.D. in the other? I don't know how things work over there but I'm pretty sure you can't get two MA's here (I could be wrong). You can hold an MA and an MSc though. Odd.

04 December, 2006 14:36  
Blogger Martin said...

"what an MA in archeology would do if they are not doing real research" --

Anon, I'm not sure I understand. Please explain further. Do you mean "should do"? Hardly any MAs do any research unless they're accepted as doctoral candidates, which is professional suicide and thankfully rather uncommon these days.

04 December, 2006 15:20  
Anonymous Linnea said...

I think that the article is one of these that says "oh, look at me, i have two degrees and no job". But wtf, if you only look for job at one place of course you not going to get anything.

For me on the other hand, have looked for job all over the country, and if I don't get anything here within a year I take my chances elsewhere, probably Ireland or Danmark...

06 December, 2006 15:46  
Blogger Martin said...

The best of luck to you!

06 December, 2006 20:04  

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