Working at the carwash?

Possibly, but probably not.  I’ve had a lot of jobs in a lot of different fields.  Here’s what I have learned throughout my career.  If you think the game is over, then it is.  When you are looking for a job you have to keep going.  If you believe that you won’t succeed then that belief will be apparent to anyone who might possibly hire you.  Lead with a positive attitude and you have a much better chance for success.  Companies don’t care about your classroom experience or what your degree is in (unless they’re looking for an engineer, then probably not going to hire a history major).  What businesses care about it value.  Do you have it and can you give it to them.  Sell them your value by telling them what you can bring to their table.  Yes the job market is tight right now but all those people who were writing about the bleak job market for historians have a job, in a field pertaining to history!  It can be done.  It might require making some sacrifices, but if you really want to work in a museum then approach your job search like an adventure, not a chore.  Start networking.  Meet people who work in museums.  Volunteer, hang out, phone curators once a week, fetch coffee, offer to bring a hammer and nails when they are building something.  Do whatever it takes to make yourself memorable.  Eventually something will open up and they might remember you.  I have found that when most people say that something can’t be done what they really mean is that it will be hard and it will be scary.  If you truly want it then find a way to make it happen.  That said, sometimes life hands us opportunities that we didn’t even know we wanted until they were right in front of us.  I think that is what these articles are saying.  Be open to other possibilities while you are pursuing your dreams.

Jim, I agree with your analysis of the article “What Employers Seek in Public History Graduates.”  I think that classroom experience is valuable.  It expands knowledge and helps people learn how to think.  When searching out a job hands on job experience is twice as important.  Employers want to know that the person they are going to hire can apply their classroom experience to the task at hand.  The only way that happens is through experience.  This is why the catch 22 of “can’t get a job without experience, can’t get experience without a job” exists.  The only exception would be if you are chasing an academic career.

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