Friday, March 14

Grand illusion

The precious few readers of this blog may have noticed my infrequent references to employment - basically how I'm about to complete my second master's degree (yes, I am the masochist as a certain reader has been advertizing to all and sundry) and how there are no real job prospects in sight. In the past, thanks to my talent for indolence and procrastination, I've been in the soup as far as deadlines for assignments and exams are concerned. Recent scenarios: Two 10 page assignments to be submitted on the morrow. Where is moi? Hard at work, drinking beer and reading a book of course. Repeat formula during exams.

But all this sinful living caught up with me sometime around November, leaving me feeling rather guilty about neglecting my responsibilities (yes, I am guffawing helplessly...). A somewhat haunted feeling enveloped me... a worried frown would break out now-&-then and I'd find myself contemplating the view outside the window pensively. Rather like the sword of Damocles was preparing to descend... fast. So, end result? I looked up internships that I could do in order to give something to prospective employers to read about on the resume. After plenty of searching, collating, analysis and selection, I found myself looking at 3 places. All of them were with the United Nations, but were on different continents; Vienna in Austria, NYC over here and Phnom Penh in Cambodia. With very little actual hope, I applied to all of them, reasoning that one of them might successfully sneak past Lady Luck and land on my plate.

Apparently, madam was having an extended siesta because all of them accepted my application leaving me with a decision to make. This was after all the crossroads of my possible future career we're talking about... not to be taken lightly. Right? Right.

Although Vienna had by far the best work profile, it would also require the selling of one or more of my organs to afford the trip. (Oh yea... the UN doesn't pay interns... charming situation, really) And, not surprisingly, I'm rather attached to my organs... in more ways than one. So, Vienna was out leaving me to choose between NYC and Phnom Penh.

Department chairperson downwards, every professor I discussed my choices with said that it was obvious; "Go to NYC"... the chances of networking with researchers there was enormous...the work opportunities later would be better... no better testing ground for success, etc. What they didn't mention was that it'd be summer in NYC then i.e. beeauteeful women (and all women in NYC are gorgeous... its like a rule or something) would be strutting around in next-to-nothing and the whole city would be blanketed in sunshine and fun. Besides, I've always wanted to live and work in New York... it sounds so cool.

Pubs... did I forget to mention those?

Contrast this to Phnom Penh. It'd be the monsoon season i.e. dull grey skies with incessant tropical showers. The local humidity has a nasty reputation. Cholera, malaria and japanese encephalitis are very common. Roads get washed out often and landmines abound in the rural areas. Yeesh !!!!

I actually gave both places some thought, but I knew where I wanted to be. Once again, gentle reminder - this was a career move which could make or break me. So, I weighed all the pros and cons, went through all the excellent advice I'd received, thought about my dreams, and made my rather easy decision yesterday. It was no contest in the end.

Next stop, Phnom Penh.

Why? Because.

Song for the moment: I am mine - Pearl Jam

No comments: