No Dushanbe either

I guess I don’t have enough field experience.

Kind of hard to get field experience when no one is willing to give it to you, though.

For a while, the thought that I chose the wrong course of study and wrong field to go into has been gnawing at me. This latest disappointment is, I realise, a clear sign that I need to change direction. For whatever reason, this isn’t what I’m meant to do.

Now, the hard part is figuring out what I am meant to do. I’ve invested a third of my life into one dream (yes, I was a crazy-driven teenager), and now, having reached the end of that dream, I’m at a loss for ideas.


Maybe I don’t need to change fields. Maybe I do. I just accepted an administrative job and I’m stuck here at least another few months. That will give me some time to figure it out.

4 thoughts on “No Dushanbe either

  1. Sorry to hear that you missed out. It is an insanely competitive field, and can take years to get the right first job to get you on the path. I would absolutely encourage you to keep trying if you have been that sure of it for so long. Almost everyone I know started in with unpaid internships in field offices – after many failed applications. But maybe Afghanistan isn’t the right country right now? Have you applied to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights internship programme? Raji is a real pro and I learned a lot from him.

  2. Hi Marianne,

    I have already gone through years of internships and many, many failed applications. I have wasted my own time, and that of lots of other people who tried to help me along the way.

    I feel like there are elimination rounds in this work, if you can’t progress after a certain point, you never will. No one is willing to take a chance on me for field work, even in an intern capacity. Bosnia obviously doesn’t count, because it is a lovely, safe place where the most dangerous things you’re likely to encounter on a daily basis are atrocious roads and malfunctioning lifts in high-rise apartments.

    Over the past very demoralizing and isolated fourteen months, I’ve started coming to grips with the possibility that I’ve really hit a dead end. And I’ve begun the slow, hard process of figuring out what else I can do with my life. The things is, you put enough into one thing for so long that you no longer remember having any other skills or interests, at least not ones that can earn you a living. That’s where I’m at.

    All the other fields I can even imagine myself in are things that are no longer really feasible, like journalism. I’d do regular social work, but I would need to go back to school for that, and I shouldn’t go back to school for a long time if I want to get my finances in order.

    The Peace Corps is out for two reasons, 1) it would be another temporary taste of something I can’t do as a career, and 2) it wouldn’t pay me enough or allow me to defer all my student loans. Teaching is a possibility through Teach For America, but not until the 2010-2011 school year, because it’s too late to apply for the upcoming year.

    I’m just in a lurch, trying to figure it all out. For now, I’m taking an administrative job.

    In a lot of ways, I’m luckier than most of my friends, who are either being laid off this summer, or can’t find work at all.

  3. You have very probably tried this already, but what about Right to Play? I have several friends who have gotten field experience with them and then moved on to other things, plus they had the opportunity to do whatever sports and activities they most like anyway.

    Another option is more time with a local organization that works with the big internationals – if you can afford that, and if the big internationals are what you want 🙂

    The phenomenon of needing to have experience to get experience is one of the most frustrating things ever. Most people I know have applied and applied and applied (20, 30, 40+ applications), and then suddenly the most random thing comes through. Don’t give up!

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