Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I Need Your Advice

I thought I would bounce this off as many people as I can. I hope to get your advice on an opportunity that has just presented itself.

I received a Teaching Assistantship(TAship) with Carleton worth approximately $9000. This summer I secured an excellent summer job with the a certain crown corporation. The past few months have been incredible, I really enjoy my work here, and I often receive compliments about how they are going to miss me (and my excellent work) when my contract finishes at the end of this month. They have asked if I would be willing to work one day a week in the fall.

My BA is in Sociology and Canadian Studies, and would most likely be a TA in the Sociology department (but this has not been confirmed as of yet). My Master's degree that I'm starting this fall is in Public Policy (course-based) with a balance between economic/math/stats courses and practical/theory seminar-type courses.

Here is my dilemma.

I know that I can't do both the TAship and work part-time for this crown corporation from a time-management perspective. One thing I let pass at Trent is that overloading in 3rd and 4th year required me to drop extra curriculars (volunteering and clubs/groups). I feel I missed out on the social aspect of university and don't want to make the same mistake again. Thus, I will have four courses per term, extra-curriculars, and I also have a partner of three years who I will need to set aside time to see on weekends because he's doing his Master's at Waterloo.

My future career plans is what is driving me to consider this opportunity. There’s that catch-22 of graduating and having the education but not the work experience. After I graduate in the Spring of 2009 I will have very little work experience of which to speak or place on my resume. My three years working as a receptionist for the Undergrad Student Association will not be the type of work experience (assumably) that employers will be seeking. I have very little work experience related to any type of policy. I’ve learned that this Crown Corp is the type of organization that there is a lot of internal movement and opportunity. Therefore, when I graduate in 2009 will the people I even worked for still be able to speak about my work.

The reason for my haste is that I have this ten-year plan. While I know that it must be flexible for change, I also know what I want. After my Master's I want to work for 8-10 years and then settle down have a family, stay home with my children until they are in school full-time and then go back into the work force full time. I have no plans to do a PhD or stay in academia.

The other part of the equation is the monetary reward. At this Crown Corp I am paid very well and I will have to work 13 hours a week to meet the same amount I would have receive with my TAship. The TAship says that I will work 10 hours per week but clearly this will be change depending if I have papers to mark etc.

Therefore, do I decline the TAship and use this excellent opportunity to stay with this Crown Corp, which will provide me with solid and longer work experience. While housing policy is not what I was initially considering, as I am more interested in health care and education policy, I really like what I’m doing and learning here. Additionally, when I graduate I need to set myself apart from other candidates. On the other hand, are there skills and experiences that a TAship will give me that I am not considering?

I apologize for the length, I thought I would get it all out though. I value any advice or feedback you can give.


Anonymous John said...

My sense from reading your message is that you have already answered your own question I would concur with your logic -- i.e that the work experience you will get at this crown corporation would serve you future plans well. If you have no intention of pursuing an academic career there's certainly nothing sacrosanct about TAing. The only thing that TAing would do, in the context of your question, is to vary the work experience you do have.

On the other hand, you already know the expectations of this employment position, so you will not have to learn on the job. This will leave you time to focus on your academic work, your extra-curricular interests and your relationship -- which are all more important than any job (if I may say so). I guess I'm always urging young people to think less about career and more about life. Life is short and should not be confused with a career. I am speaking as someone who never
worked a day in his life. Keep smiling (also very important)!

Wed Aug 15, 12:29:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Mark said...

So there you are. It sounds like you already have a good gut-level sense of what you'd like to do. If you're not interested in moving beyond the Master's to a Ph.D., then there's probably no harm done in skipping out on a teaching assistantship. My two bits, for what they are worth, would be to stay with this employer, especially if you're hoping to find work with them once you're done school.

I like your approach to this stuff - whenever your life gets too cluttered, your desk too covered, just start pitching stuff over the side to make room for what really matters. And extracurricular university life is really worth investing in.

You're right: teaching assistantships can be very unpredictable. My first year at Trent, for example, I got stuck with ninety students, massive overwork, and eventual tendonitis from marking over five hundred assignments in eight months. Or, as they say in American politics, why change horses in mid-stream? If this job/company works for you, why bother changing things up?



Wed Aug 15, 12:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jarrett said...


Only a couple of things to add:

1) Ten-year plan, hein? Is that anything like a Five Year Plan? ;)

2) As far as I can see it, extracurriculars are almost a red herring. The real question you appear to be asking is whether a TAship or a job would be better for your career, and given your preference for going to work for a Crown Corp or think tank or whatever.

3) The only other thing would be what they said about law school: "Everyone gets the same grades here, so what sets everyone out from the pack are extracurriculars and the like."

Thu Aug 16, 01:53:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Clive said...

My sense is that many many people end up as TAs, but not so many have the kind of work opportunity you describe. Which one would set you apart more?

Thu Aug 16, 05:02:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jim Baxter said...

The Season of Generation-Choicemaker
Joel 3:14 kjv

The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

In an effort to diminish the multiple and persistent
dangers and abuses which have characterized the
affairs of man in his every Age, and to assist in the
requisite search for human identity, it is essential to
perceive and specify that distinction which naturally
and most uniquely defines the human being. Because
definitions rule in the minds, behaviors, and institutions
of men, we can be confident that delineating and com-
municating that quality will assist the process of resolu-
tion and the courageous ascension to which man is
called. As Americans of the 21st Century, we are oblig-
ed and privileged to join our forebears and participate
in this continuing paradigm proclamation.

"WHAT IS MAN...?" God asks - and answers:
by James Fletcher Baxter (c) AD 2007

The way we define 'human' determines our view of self,
others, relationships, institutions, life, and future. Many
problems in human experience are the result of false
and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Human knowledge is a fraction of the whole universe.
The balance is a vast void of human ignorance. Human
reason cannot fully function in such a void; thus, the
intellect can rise no higher than the criteria by which it
perceives and measures values.

Humanism makes man his own standard of measure.
However, as with all measuring systems, a standard
must be greater than the value measured. Based on
preponderant ignorance and an egocentric carnal
nature, humanism demotes reason to the simpleton
task of excuse-making in behalf of the rule of appe-
tites, desires, feelings, emotions, and glands.

Because man, hobbled in an ego-centric predicament,
cannot invent criteria greater than himself, the humanist
lacks a predictive capability. Without instinct or trans-
cendent criteria, humanism cannot evaluate options with
foresight and vision for progression and survival. Lack-
ing foresight, man is blind to potential consequence and
is unwittingly committed to mediocrity, collectivism,
averages, and regression - and worse. Humanism is an
unworthy worship.

The void of human ignorance can easily be filled with
a functional faith while not-so-patiently awaiting the
foot-dragging growth of human knowledge and behav-
ior. Faith, initiated by the Creator and revealed and
validated in His Word, the Bible, brings a transcend-
ent standard to man the choice-maker. Other philo-
sophies and religions are man-made, humanism, and
thereby lack what only the Bible has:

1.Transcendent Criteria and
2.Fulfilled Prophetic Validation.

The vision of faith in God and His Word is survival
equipment for today and the future. Only the Creator,
who made us in His own image, is qualified to define
us accurately.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the

At the sub-atomic level of the physical universe quantum
physics indicates a multifarious gap or division in the
causal chain; particles to which position cannot be
assigned at all times, systems that pass from one energy
state to another without manifestation in intermediate
states, entities without mass, fields whose substance is
as insubstantial as "a probability."

Only statistical conglomerates pay tribute to
deterministic forces. Singularities do not and are
therefore random, unpredictable, mutant, and in this
sense, uncaused. The finest contribution inanimate
reality is capable of making toward choice, without its
own selective agencies, is this continuing manifestation
of opportunity as the pre-condition to choice it defers
to the natural action of living forms.

Biological science affirms that each level of life,
single-cell to man himself, possesses attributes of
sensitivity, discrimination, and selectivity, and in
the exclusive and unique nature of each diversified
life form.

The survival and progression of life forms has all too
often been dependent upon the ever-present undeterminative
potential and appearance of one unique individual organism
within the whole spectrum of a given life-form. Only the
uniquely equipped individual organism is, like The Golden
Wedge of Ophir, capable of traversing the causal gap to
survival and progression. Mere reproductive determinacy
would have rendered life forms incapable of such potential.

Only a moving universe of opportunity plus choice enables
the present reality.

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of variety. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
ence intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of decision and
choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self,
the utility of experience, the development of value-
measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
ation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however
marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
singular and plural brow.

Deterministic systems, ideological symbols of abdication
by man from his natural role as earth's Choicemaker,
inevitably degenerate into collectivism; the negation of
singularity, they become a conglomerate plural-based
system of measuring human value. Blunting an awareness
of diversity, blurring alternatives, and limiting the
selective creative process, they are self-relegated to
a passive and circular regression.

Tampering with man's selective nature endangers his
survival for it would render him impotent and obsolete
by denying the tools of variety, individuality,
perception, criteria, selectivity, and progress.
Coercive attempts produce revulsion, for such acts
are contrary to an indeterminate nature and nature's
indeterminate off-spring, man the Choicemaker.

Until the oppressors discover that wisdom only just
begins with a respectful acknowledgment of The Creator,
The Creation, and The Choicemaker, they will be ever
learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.
The rejection of Creator-initiated standards relegates
the mind of man to its own primitive, empirical, and
delimited devices. It is thus that the human intellect
cannot ascend and function at any level higher than the
criteria by which it perceives and measures values.

Additionally, such rejection of transcendent criteria
self-denies man the vision and foresight essential to
decision-making for survival and progression. He is left,
instead, with the redundant wreckage of expensive hind-
sight, including human institutions characterized by
averages, mediocrity, and regression.

Humanism, mired in the circular and mundane egocentric
predicament, is ill-equipped to produce transcendent
criteria. Evidenced by those who do not perceive
superiority and thus find themselves beset by the shifting
winds of the carnal-ego; i.e., moods, feelings, desires,
appetites, etc., the mind becomes subordinate: a mere
device for excuse-making and rationalizing self-justifica-

The carnal-ego rejects criteria and self-discipline for such
instruments are tools of the mind and the attitude. The
appetites of the flesh have no need of standards for at the
point of contention standards are perceived as alien, re-
strictive, and inhibiting. Yet, the very survival of our
physical nature itself depends upon a maintained sover-
eignty of the mind and of the spirit.

It remained, therefore, to the initiative of a personal
and living Creator to traverse the human horizon and
fill the vast void of human ignorance with an intelli-
gent and definitive faith. Man is thus afforded the
prime tool of the intellect - a Transcendent Standard
by which he may measure values in experience, anticipate
results, and make enlightened and visionary choices.

Only the unique and superior God-man Person can deserved-
ly displace the ego-person from his predicament and free
the individual to measure values and choose in a more
excellent way. That sublime Person was indicated in the
words of the prophet Amos, "...said the Lord, Behold,
I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel."
Y'shua Mashiyach Jesus said, "If I be lifted up I will
draw all men unto myself."

As long as some choose to abdicate their personal reality
and submit to the delusions of humanism, determinism, and
collectivism, just so long will they be subject and re-
acting only, to be tossed by every impulse emanating from
others. Those who abdicate such reality may, in perfect
justice, find themselves weighed in the balances of their
own choosing.

That human institution which is structured on the
principle, "...all men are endowed by their Creator with
...Liberty...," is a system with its roots in the natural
Order of the universe. The opponents of such a system are
necessarily engaged in a losing contest with nature and
nature's God. Biblical principles are still today the
foundation under Western Civilization and the American
way of life. To the advent of a new season we commend the
present generation and the "multitudes in the valley of

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV

"I should think that if there is one thing that man has
learned about himself it is that he is a creature of
choice." Richard M. Weaver

"Man is a being capable of subduing his emotions and
impulses; he can rationalize his behavior. He arranges
his wishes into a scale, he chooses; in short, he acts.
What distinguishes man from beasts is precisely that he
adjusts his behavior deliberately." Ludwig von Mises

"To make any sense of the idea of morality, it must be
presumed that the human being is responsible for his
actions and responsibility cannot be understood apart
from the presumption of freedom of choice."
John Chamberlain

"The advocate of liberty believes that it is complementary
of the orderly laws of cause and effect, of probability
and of chance, of which man is not completely informed.
It is complementary of them because it rests in part upon
the faith that each individual is endowed by his Creator
with the power of individual choice."
Wendell J. Brown

"These examples demonstrate a basic truth -- that human
dignity is embodied in the free choice of individuals."
Condoleeza Rice

"Our Founding Fathers believed that we live in an ordered
universe. They believed themselves to be a part of the
universal order of things. Stated another way, they
believed in God. They believed that every man must find
his own place in a world where a place has been made for
him. They sought independence for their nation but, more
importantly, they sought freedom for individuals to think
and act for themselves. They established a republic
dedicated to one purpose above all others - the preserva-
tion of individual liberty..." Ralph W. Husted

"We have the gift of an inner liberty so far-reaching
that we can choose either to accept or reject the God
who gave it to us, and it would seem to follow that the
Author of a liberty so radical wills that we should be
equally free in our relationships with other men.
Spiritual liberty logically demands conditions of outer
and social freedom for its completion." Edmund A. Opitz

"Above all I see an ability to choose the better from the
worse that has made possible life's progress."
Charles Lindbergh

"Freedom is the Right to Choose, the Right to create for
oneself the alternatives of Choice. Without the possibil-
ity of Choice, and the exercise of Choice, a man is not
a man but a member, an instrument, a thing."
Thomas Jefferson

Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son
of man that You visit him?" Psalm 8:4
A: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against
you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing
and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and
your descendants may live." Deuteronomy 30:19

Q: "Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that you are mindful of him?" Psalm
A: "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose
for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the
gods which your fathers served that were on the other
side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose
land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Q: "What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is
born of a woman, that he could be righteous?" Job 15:14
A: "Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He
teach in the way he chooses." Psalm 25:12

Q: "What is man, that You should magnify him, that You
should set Your heart on him?" Job 7:17
A: "Do not envy the oppressor and choose none of his
ways." Proverbs 3:31

Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son
of man that You take care of him?" Hebrews 2:6
A: "I have chosen the way of truth; your judgments I have
laid before me." Psalm 119:30 "Let Your hand become my
help, for I have chosen Your precepts."Psalm 119:173

Genesis 3:3,6 Deuteronomy 11:26-28; 30:19 Job 5:23
Isaiah 7:14-15; 13:12; 61:1 Amos 7:8 Joel 3:14
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


Sir Isaac Newton
The greatest scientist in human history
a Bible-Believing Christian
an authority on the Bible's Book of Daniel
committed to individual value
and individual liberty

Daniel 9:25-26 Habakkuk 2:2-3 selah

"What is man...?" Earth's Choicemaker Psalm 25:12

An old/new paradigma - Mr. Jefferson would agree!
(Alternative? There is no alternative.)

+ + +

"Man cannot make or invent or contrive principles. He
can only discover them and he ought to look through the
discovery to the Author." -- Thomas Paine 1797

"Got Criteria?" See Psalm 119:1-176

semper fidelis
Jim Baxter
WWII & Korean War

Teacher, 5th Grade - 30 Wonderful years !
vincit veritas

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it!"
- Yogi Berra

Fri Aug 17, 12:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nicol DuMoulin said...

I certainly think you will make the right decision. All I will add is that I too had a certain x year plan and they very rarely turn out. That is not a bad thing. Just the way life is.

I think it was John Lennon who said life is what happens when you are off making other plans.

If my 'plan' happened, I probably would have become a lawyer by now. I would perhaps have more money as opposed to this 'struggling artist' thing, but I never would have met my lovely wife.

You are very smart and I am confident you will make the best decisions for yourself and the ones you care for.


Fri Aug 17, 06:17:00 PM EDT  

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