It looks like after five years of on-again off-again romance, my relationaship with the National Museum of Australia is coming to a final and conclusive end.
Due to the wonderful Efficiency Dividend many of the contract staff are not being renewed. This includes me, and, as I learned yesterday, I was also spectacularly unsuccessful in the recent recruitment round, where a lot of us fought over the two jobs they now have available. Not only did I not land one of those two jobs, but my final ranking pretty much puts me out of the running of any additional jobs that might come up.
I feel kind of like I've been dumped. That might sound melodramatic, but let me tell you that for the past five years, ever since starting at the NMA, I have been beating myself against the curatorial door trying to get an in, and I have had absolutely no luck. It's like I only get hired when there's no alternative. Yes, I have worked there for the past 2 years as a curator, but that was a back door position, because they were desperate. But I have not ever actually won a position in Curatorial via recruitment channels.
It feels like perhaps the Universe is trying to send me a message, that I should just give up on this field. Five years is a long time to bust a gut and not be any further along than when you started. There are now people in higher positions than me who have less qualifications and less time in the industry under their belts. I think that, despite being qualified and relatively experienced, it's the luck that I'm lacking.
Anyway the whole situation is fucked. I'm stuck in Canberra, there's no jobs going in this field because the Efficiency Dividend is biting everyone's arses, and there's nothing I can do. This is a town where you're either a Public Servant or you work to serve the Public Servants. I don't think my pride could take stacking shelves at Woollies.
I was thinking I might start a phd, which you need to get anywhere further than entry level in this industry (or at least at the NMA), but if I can't even win an entry level position, it makes me wonder why I'd bother investing in a phd. I already have the Masters, and that doesn't seem to have done me much good. Do I really want to devote 3-4 years to another piece of paper?
But if I let go of the idea of working in this industry, I have no idea where else I'd go, or what other field I'd try to get into. I seem to have the misfortune of actually enjoying what I do, but finding myself unable to do it.