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What makes a job worth applying for?

Trawling through job ads, I often find myself agonising over advertisements for jobs that I am probably capable of doing, but am not particularly enthusiastic about. There are numerous reasons for which I might lack enthusiasm (or, one might say, lack of reasons for enthusiasm): the position might require me to move to Sydney; the work done by the company doesn’t seem particularly interesting or the advertisement does not mention any meaningful purpose for the position at all; I’ve applied for similar positions before and gotten no response; or I just don’t want to be working full-time on whatever it is that the job requires me to do. Yet I feel as if I ought to be applying for something if only to prove I’m not a job snob or because society expects it of me (not to mention that I will eventually run down my savings if I continue to work only my current hours at Western Sydney University).

Perhaps I need to get a better idea as to what I am actually trying to achieve by searching for jobs and applying for them. Am I just going through the motions to meet societal expectations that I look for work? Am I running an experiment testing whether or not employers really are so desperate for people with science and engineering skills? Am I looking for that perfect job that will satisfy both my financial needs and my need to develop as a professional and a person (and, if so, how long can I hang out to find it)? And so on.

As part of my desire to do fewer hours of salaried work and develop some other projects, not to mention my committment to the part-time position that I already have at Western Sydney University, I’ve long committed to expressing interest only in part-time or project work. Sometimes I respond to advertisements for full-time positions with an enquiry as to whether the organisation might consider a part-time or project-based appointment. I haven’t had any recent success with this though the same strategy did once get me the project that I completed for Intersect, and it’s hard to know what else to do in a field in which virtually no part-time positions and very few projects shorter than a year are advertised. So I’ll continue doing it but I may be more selective in what positions I bother inquiring about.

One of my other hopes upon moving back from Singapore was to live outside the large cities. Aside from preferring the lifestyle of a smaller town, it would be nice to think that I could contribute my small effort to making such towns successful rather than sinking even more effort and capital into crowded cities like Sydney, Brisbane and Singapore. Of course, there was only so far I could go in pursuing this once I’d accepted the position at Western Sydney University. However, my unit in Wollongong happened to become available at around the same time, and so far living in Wollongong while working part-time in Parramatta has been working well enough. I certainly feel no desire to move to Sydney.

In keeping with the foregoing points, perhaps I ought to apply only for work that is specifically aligned with what I want to achieve with A Little Research or complements my position at Western Sydney University (both in terms of the time required to be put into it and the nature of the work). And I should apply for work in Sydney under only very special circumstances, such as when the work is advertised as part-time or in which I have very special expertise that can be applied remotely—and certainly not work on technology soups supporting ill-defined software projects.

Perhaps I’ll have to give up on this sort of snobbery eventually, but I can surely justify continuing the policy for at least as long at takes for me to establish whether or not A Little Research is likely to succeed. I don’t have any particular timeframe in mind for this, but perhaps I’ll have a better idea once I’ve completed the Zig Zag Hub Incubator programme that I’m undertaking as part of my training leave.

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