Nature Blog Network

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Dream Job Slips Away From Me Yet Again... (Sigh)

You know you need to finish your PhD fast when you keep seeing your dream jobs slip away from you. The latest one to slip away from me is from the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, Canada. The position is for Curator of Invertebrates with a possible appointment at the University of Victoria. As it stands now, I believe that I am the perfect candidate for the position.The Natural History Section of the Curatorial Services Branch has an excellent opportunity for a person with a desire to share the Invertebrate Zoology collection with the world!

The Curator, Invertebrate Zoology, will plan and participate in public programming and interpretation through exhibit planning, copy writing, scholarly and popular writing and public speaking. The incumbent will have an opportunity to perform scholarly research on at least one taxonomic group of invertebrates relevant to British Columbia while having a good knowledge of other invertebrate groups for specimen identification and collection development purposes. As a key member of a team, the incumbent will serve on a variety of committees and attend meetings as required. As a strong communicator, the Curator will be responsible for recruiting, training and directing the day-to-day activities of volunteers, co-op students and contractors.
I have plenty of experience working with the public showing off the diversity of deep-sea life at various university events, judging junior science competitions, explaining vent and seep ecology and the biology of the organisms there for grade school and college students, as well as for teacher workshops. I engage in scholarly writing (2 papers in review) as well as frequent popular writing (this blog for instance!) and have given public lectures on the history of science and on my research. I do research on and consider myself adept at deep sea anemones, zoanthids and crustaceans. I have one shrimp description in review, 7 anemones and a zoanthid almost completed (I hope to do the DNA extraction and sequencing next wek for the zoanthid). I would love to be a part of the NEPTUNE's VENUS project which is run out of the University of Victoria and am familiar the fauna from vents and seep world-wide and would be thrilled to start projects utilizing British Columbia's local fauna. I also have a wide knowledge-base of all marine invertebrate groups. My PhD work in studying community structure at vents has made me competent at identifying all the major phyla of marine invertebrates. And nothing makes me more pleased in my life than peering down a microscope and putting together the clues to solve the mystery of an organism's identity!
The ideal candidate will have a Doctorate degree in science relating to Invertebrate Zoology with an emphasis on taxonomy or systematics. In addition to being capable or qualified for cross appointments in universities, you will have proven knowledge of and practical experience in specimen identification. You will have experience planning, implementing and completing scientific research and while experience working in a museum setting is not mandatory, it is considered an asset. As a member of an organization responsible for sharing the wonders of the museum, the successful candidate will be comfortable with preparing and delivering presentations and providing information in both verbal and written form, about Invertebrate Zoology and the museum to the academic and general user community.
So I don't have a doctorate degree yet, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel! Does that account for anything? If I were to be offered such a job, you bet I would wok my ass off to finish my degree within a year. I am scheduled to finish by December 2008. I do have experience planning and implementing research. I even have obtained my own grant for taxonomic research on vent anemones from the Census of Marine Life. As for finishing, well it all has to be done within the next year right?! As for delivering lectures about invertebrate zoology to the public... that is what I live for!

I am the best candidate for this job, but unfortunately don't stand a chance due to a small qualification issue. Quite frustrating and it only seems like one of these jobs comes by each year. Think about the plethora of applicants! Its got to be so cutthroat. I've often thought of starting my own consulting business for taxonomic services and ecological studies. Still toying with the idea, but I really love being in an academic/museum/research setting. Its very enriching. Sigh, what is a passionate science graduate student to do?

Think you are qualified too? Check out the job ad here.


  1. I'd go ahead and apply anyway. Some times these job postings are 6-12 months out. Also don't be afraid to email someone there directly to ask about the job. I've done a dozen or so informational interviews and sometimes they end up offering you a job even though it wasn't a job interview!

  2. I probably should, but I really need to concentrate right now on passing my comprehensives, teaching, passing my Molecular Evolution class and finishing the final project (which I plan to submit as part of a thesis chapter/paper). I'll have the balls more after I get comps out of the way, then the light at the end of the tunnel gets a little brighter as I'll enter mad-flurry-writing stage.

    I'm planning on going to several conferences next year too which will get me networking.


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