Life After a MA in Anthropology: Short Stories of the 2007 – 2008 Job Hunt


I went to a huge Autumn job fair dressed in a suit (I loathe suits!). I also wore my favorite 4-inch heels so I could at least be 4 inches taller. There seemed to be many people lining up for that job fair — they were like me, in desperate search for a job.

It was my first job fair. I had never been to one before so I felt rather nervous. But I mustered enough courage to speak to a university recruiter.

“I have recently graduated with a MA in Anthropology, are there any current openings in your university?” I queried.

The recruiter look astounded. Her eyes widened.

“Anthropology? What can you do with that? I know it’s an interesting course, but what can you do with that?”, the university recruiter exclaimed.

I smiled [but in reality I was gritting my teeth].


I found myself one day in a small conference room with a huge wooden table, red chairs, and a smart-board.

The interviewer in her winter-thick gray suit sat on her chair–seriously poring over my resume. Then she suddenly quipped:

“Anthropology? Oh, the one who digs?”

I felt my eyes narrow. I looked squarely at the interviewer (who happened to be a PhD in Psychology). I gave my usual reply: “Well, there are four fields in Anthropology……..”
[I was screaming in my head….what, another four-field approach lecture!! I was gritting my teeth]


He flashed a smile. I smiled back as I looked at his mangled front teeth. I blinked.

The interviewer in his plush black velvet blazer went on and on about the type of business that their organization is involved in. I keep nodding and saying “uh-huh” to make sure that he knows I am listening while in truth I was slowly beginning to drift off into outerspace.

He kept talking and suddenly picked up a biscuit that was lying on his desk and bit into it. I cringed. (In retrospect…he didn’t even offer me a cookie!).

He pored over my resume and smiled as he asked:

“Anthropology…so how many years does that discipline have?”

“What do you mean?” I queried ready to defend the subject I supposedly adore and love and wasted all my time and money on.

“I heard that it was a dying discipline.”

“I have heard that too,” I heard myself say, “but no, the discipline is still thriving.” [I was groaning inside….I was hoping that I did not have to lecture again – another four-field approach lecture]

He finished munching his biscuit.

I shooked his hand before I left. He smiled again and I smiled back while looking at his mangled front teeth.

Reference (for the picture):


2 thoughts on “Life After a MA in Anthropology: Short Stories of the 2007 – 2008 Job Hunt

  1. I just stumbled across your blog while googling “ways to apply an anthropology degree in the real world”. very, very, very interesting!! so.. whats the latest?
    one lost little anthrop grad student in melbourne

    • Hi, Bonnie:

      Thanks for reading the blog. Well, I currently work for a non-profit organization; but I am dying to go back to graduate school and take up a MPH in Global Health and Medical Anthropology. What field of anthropology are you specializing in?

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