It’s the new year! Many of us have, by now, created a list of goals and resolutions that we hope to keep over the rest of the year. Others of us have already made plans for what we’re going to do and what projects we’re going to be involved with.
Now is a great time to think ahead of what we’re going to be doing in the warmer digging season. Allow me to make a few recommendations.
For those of you who are planning on attending a field school this summer, try to consider what sort of jobs that you’ll want to do afterwards. That field school in Italy is undoubtedly cool and potentially fun. If you’re planning on working in North America, however, you might find that it hinders the job search. This isn’t to say that the field school in Italy isn’t a good idea, just that you’ll have to work a little more to sell the line of reasoning when you apply for a CRM job.
For those of who you are planning on getting a job in CRM for the summer, I have two pieces of advice. First, take some time to work on your CV. Specifically, think about the types of projects and locations that interest you. The people doing the hiring understand that your primary goal is that you want a job, but enthusiasm counts for a lot. Applicants who sound like they’re not just settling for any old job are more likely to get hired. We have budget and time constraints. Nobody wants to gamble on someone who sounds like they don’t actually want to work on this particular project.
Second, depending on the project, CRM work can be hard work. Most likely, this will be harder than your field school. It usually takes a person one or two field seasons to work up to the pace of a seasoned field worker, but consider hedging your bets and getting into shape before you start. It can be emotionally stressful for everyone when an individual can’t physically keep up with the rest of the crew.
For those of us who run the projects… well honestly, we’re probably still analyzing the results of previous fieldwork. While we write up those results, it’s a great time to consider the successes and failings of what we’ve done. By taking our past performance into account, we can refine our methods to more accurately reflect the nature of the archaeological assemblages that we study, but also the logistical and contractual constraints that shape our projects.
However your previous year went and whatever you’re planning, I hope that during 2012 each and every one of you have to explain the Maya calendar fewer times than we all expect. Happy New Year!