The Career Doctor™

Dear Career Doctor:

I'm 63, have a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, 25 years experience in non-tenured college teaching (started when I was 19) including ESL, 4 as a periodicals managing editor, and the last 10 in part-time freelance writing. Am I unemployable?


Dear j:

You poor thing! No wonder you ask if you are employable, since you have spent most of your career in two of the most under-appreciated, difficult and competitive fields: non-tenured college teaching and freelance writing. I have done a bit of both and know that they are really ego-deflating!

However, anyone who began teaching college at age 19 and slugged through 44 more years in these tough fields has to be very smart and full of skills picked up along the way.

There is always work for editors, ghost writers and writers. For example, if you join The American Society of Journalists and Authors based in Manhattan, they have a service that connects writers with these jobs.

It also sounds like you could work as an ESL teacher. Here's what an ex-Larchmont ESL teacher, Mary Anne Sullivan, told me about the ESL job market: "A person with a Ph.D. and ESL teaching experience plus writing experience can certainly teach ESL at a community college, in a continuing ed program or a language school in New York City, Westchester or Connecticut. I recommend calling up the Directors of ESL programs nearby to see if there are any openings and to request an interview. Teaching writing is of new interest in the ESL programs, so someone who is a writer might be of particular interest as a teacher of ESL at this time."

So, with lots of possibilities, the question is, what have you enjoyed doing and what would you LIKE to do? The most important freelance writing job will be to write a great resumé and cover letter, so you can go for what you want!



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