The Search Is On

I am learning quite a bit about geology, and geology jobs, and what is involved in getting those jobs. I am not with Miss G this week so I have a lot of free time. I don’t typically spend my free time researching geology though.

Alison has been searching, and applying, but because she spends the majority of her days while still in this intern position either standing in a river collecting samples, or analyzing and documenting data, or doing whatever it is that geologists do after that, she hasn’t had a great deal of time to have a daily schedule of job hunting.

I have found that geologists seem to fall into three broad categories: those who are PhD’s and search for teaching jobs; those who have no qualms working for or around oil pipelines and petroleum companies; and those who simply want to do field work, document data and go on to the next project. This last category typically means a government job.

Alison is not at all interested in teaching. She has, in fact, nixed the idea of the geology MA. She knows that the push will be not a terminal degree but strong emphasis to go beyond. That is where the student money will lay and she is firm in knowing that she doesn’t seek out the title of doctor, or has any desire to be associated with published academic research. Signing her name to governmental data and research reports is fine. Forget the expectations associated with professorial positions.

Her principles take her far afield of helping big oil get bigger. Of course, those companies all hire geologists from ‘environmental groups’ whose sole job it is to monitor and direct the correct implementation of land use, and drilling, and waste water and such. I’m sure a geologist has been involved in issuing some of the 100+ fines that the Texas company, involved in the latest pipeline break/oil spill on the California coast, has routinely ignored forgotten to pay.  Personally, I am amazed at the number of jobs trying to recruit geologists for these positions. They make up the majority of geology jobs, and they are often disguised under the auspices of a title like Environmental Scientist or Geological Technician. I’ve found a few that work out of the Department of Ecology rather than the for-profit consulting companies that monopolize the job boards. Either way, it’s the same work.

So Alison is left with the sorts of jobs that she wants to do. Government jobs with advancing pay and responsibility levels. Benefits like healthcare and retirement. Field work. That one is the preeminent requirement for Alison. Those jobs are listed under many titles. Geologist I, II, III and beyond. Entry level, junior, or senior geologist. Most are simply listed as Geologist 1/2, 5/6, 11/12, etc. I’ve come to understand, knowing what I know about Alison’s work and experience that she is most likely a Geologist II, or high entry level-junior geologist, or a Geologist 6 to maybe a 9. I’ve also learned that full-time geology jobs with the government have pay ranges from $28,000 up to a whopping $160,000 for a Geologist 15, the highest level I’ve run across so far.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Bureaus of Land Management (BLM) often have geological job needs that offer geologists collaborative work with their own folks. I found a few of those that she might like. I’ve checked state government sites, and again found a few positions.

I have been directed to a few federal government job sites that have both recent graduate jobs and more career level positions. I got quite a list there. Surprising to me last evening, I ran across three or four archaeologist positions in the student section. Geological work was a plus in the requirements list for those jobs. Those positions were in Utah and Nevada and somewhere east. I was pretty excited to point those out to Alison, so I hope she applies. She literally met every requirement asked for. I think it would be rather ironic that her first planned career: archaeology could be an avenue to a geology job: her latest favorite career choice. Also, ironically again, she had once considered geoarchaeology so perhaps this is one of those karmic signs…

The US Geologic Survey (USGS), her current employer, had a number of jobs as well all scattered here and there, although most were for the experience and education levels that are just out of Alison’s reach. I suggested she try anyway. It can’t hurt and you never know. One of the last positions that I ran across, again so ironic, had just been posted four hours prior to my search. The aspect that caught my eye right away: the position is in her present office, doing exactly what she does now with the exception that they are looking for someone who has already taken leadership roles and been on the job a little longer. I think a nice way of saying it would be that they are looking for ‘maturity’ in the career field. I think the position was listed as a level 9-11. She was put in charge of a project when the original leader took some leave to be with his newborn, so that should count for something, right? I so hope that she is not intimidated and applies for the position anyway.

Now that you (and I) know more than we probably ever wanted to know about geology job hunting, the search is over for now. I don’t know where else to look and quite honestly I know that she is overwhelmed for the moment. I could see it in her face when she took me up on my original offer to help her search.

Fingers crossed, ask the universe to smile favorably on her, and then if we need to, we start all over again.

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6 thoughts on “The Search Is On”

  1. Good luck to Alison in her future career. There is such fierce competition for jobs these days that I’m sure it must be a very anxious time for young people who are looking for a position. Our daughter just got her Pharm D and was lucky enough to secure her residency in Salt Lake City (her first choice.)

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