Historical Reminiscents EP 34: Pay People For Their Work

Journal with a dollar sign. Right side reads Episode 34: Pay People For Their Work

Talking about money is hard, but it is an important part of maintaining a healthy professional community.  In today’s episode I talk about fair pay, salary transparency, the underpayment of heritage professionals, and precarious labour.

I would love to hear other perspectives on the value of labour within academia and heritage fields, leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter.

Mentioned in this episode:
-Stacie Williams, “Implications of Archival Labour
-Ashley Stevens, “Lessons Learned: This Whole Salary Jazz
-Zoe Todd, Twitter Thread on Salary Negotiation in Academia
-Fobazi Ettarh, “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Download or listen now.

Historical Reminiscents EP 32: Confidence and Job Applications

Person standing on a rock face. Right side reads: "Episode 32: Confidence and Job Applications"

Job applications can be full of emotional labour, self-doubt, and stress.  How do you know if you are qualified for a job? Should you take the time to apply? In this episode I talk about cover letters, equivalent experience, and putting yourself out there. I also discuss the intersection of gender, job applications, and impostor syndrome.

I would love to hear job seeking advice from other folks, leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter.

Mentioned in this episode:
-Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, “The Confidence Gap
-Iva Petkovic, “The complicated gender politics of impostor syndrome
-Andrea Eidinger, “We Regret To Inform You: The Emotional Labour of Job Applications.”

Download or listen now.

Historical Reminiscents EP 13: Fostering Meaningful Student Work Experiences

Woman biting a coloured pencil on left. Right reads "Episode 13: Fostering Meaningful Student Work Experiences"

Since starting at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre in 2010 I have worked with a lot of students and new professionals. Over time I’ve developed really strong feels about the important of building meaningful placement, co-op, and work experiences for students. This episode dives into student mentorship and the importance of creating skill building opportunities within the archival and public history profession.

 Download or listen now.

Employment Changes

I’ve had some changes on the job front recently. For over two years I have been working as an Archives Technician for the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre.  My job developed a lot over this time period, expanding from processing and description work to conducting educational tours, outreach initiatives, and reference support.

As of this week, I’ve moved from the Archives Technician position into a new Researcher/Curator position.  I’m still working in the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, my job is just shifting from archival projects to some of the broader education, dissemination, and research work done by the Centre.  I also get to take on more of a project management role in this new position. It should be interesting to see how this position and the Centre as a whole develops in the upcoming months. Allons-Y!

Built Heritage Chat: Preservation Jobs

Today was the #builtheritage chat for May which focused on preservation jobs and employment within the preservation field. The chat was moderated by @jonaskayla, @PresConf, @PresNation, and @PreservationJob. A complete transcript of the chat is available here.

The first question of the chat was What’s more critical to a successful preservation career – degrees or experience? The overwhelming majority of responses emphasized the importance of experience and the diversity of types of experience that organizations are looking for. It was also reinforced that a balance is best: a degree in something, volunteer experience, enthusiasm, and a friendly personality have the potential to contribute to a great preservation career.

Building on the first question the second portion of the chat focused on the question What’s your number one tip to recent grads or job hunters? Answers to this question built upon the idea of gaining experience in the preservation field. Volunteering, internships, shadowing, researching, and taking low paying summer jobs were suggestions of ways to gain experience prior to finding that ideal preservation job. Chat participants also emphasized the importance of networking, skill building at conferences and workshops, and becoming involved in your local preservation organizations. It was also noted that the preservation field is wide ranging and hires people with a wide range of skills – human resources, presentation, digital expertise, marketing, etc. – and that grads should took to diversify their strengths.

The third portion of the chat focused on the feel good question, What is the best thing about working in the heritage preservation field? A large portion of the responses focused on the variety of the field, the passion of the people, and the feeling of being involved in something meaningful. A couple of my favourite responses included: “Building something that will strengthen our community. Small towns in Eastern Ontario need help. We can be a catalyst.” from @spencervillemil and “inspiring a new set of people – young, old, etc. Getting the message out how important our history is” from @ATHeritageArea.

The last segment of the chat focused on What is the best way to connect with other preservationists? Seeing as how this was a twitter chat it is hardly surprising that many people mentioned social media as a means of connecting. Other mentioned techniques included: conferences, email lists, forums, following up face to face meetings with an email, and meeting up with local organizations while traveling.

In addition to the ‘official’ questions asked during the chat a few of the chat’s participants sparked great discussion with their own questions. @LindsayJSasser raised the question: What are some of the current/upcoming challenges for pres. orgs? What skills can employees bring? Responses focused on grant application skills, presentation skills, a working knowledge of the industry, familiarity with the heritage act, and a willingness to learn.

This was a great chat with a lot of great ideas for those looking to become more involved in their local heritage community. The next #builtheritage chat will be on June 1st at 4pm and the potential topic is local engagement.

Wisdom in a feeling

#reverb10 prompt for December 10th: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

The wisest decision I made in 2010 was to apply for a job I had a gut feeling was a good fit for me. At the time I applied I wasn’t even really sure I was looking for a new job or what my chances were in the application process. I applied on a bit of a whim and didn’t really put to much thought into what could happen if I actually got an interview or the job. I ended up getting the job and couldn’t be happier. I’m proud, grateful, and happy working where I do.

An additional perk of this decision is that I now feel like I am beginning to put down roots. In the past five years I have lived in seven different cities or towns. This is the first place where I’ve begun to feel a sense of permanence and a sense of attachment to. I am extremely glad things have unfolded like they have.

Public History Survey

The preliminary results of a 2008 survey of public history professionals was recently released. These results are available via the American Historical Association publication Perspectives on History and in the NCPH newsletter.

This survey was organized in an attempt to provide better understanding of the public history profession, and perhaps create a clearer definition of public history. Almost 4,000 persons were surveyed, in an attempt to gain an understanding of “who is drawn to this area of employment, and what their concerns were.”[1]

The results of the survey, reflect the current vagueness of the public history field. Many of those surveyed did not define themselves as public historians, even though they may be involved in history outside of academia. Similarly, some historians working in academia defined themselves as public historians based on what they teach and research.

Can one be a public historian while working in academia? I would say yes, however it is not a common occurrence. There are some professors who write for a larger audience and aim to engage people outside of the ivory tower, however these persons are not the current norm.

Additionally, the most common field associated with public history is currently museum based work. Museums are definitely within the realm of public history. However there are many more ways in which historical work can be turned into public history. One of the great benefits of practicing public history is the diversity of the field, it is not limited to museums. Greater awareness of the different types of public history needs to be created.

[1] “Preliminary Results from the 2008 Survey of Public History Professionals.” Perspectives on History, September 2009, http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2009/0909/0909pub1.cfm