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Are you an emergency aid worker? Confused with your direction in life? Well Field Exchange can provide you with some FREE career advice. After months of exhaustive research and thorough investigation. Field Exchange can highlight the five paths you can follow. They are:

  1. You can work in your agencies head office. This may seen extremely attractive; air conditioned office, sandwich bar down the road, soft toilet roll in the bathroom, but be wamed, you will be obliged to respect that quaint little custom of paying tax. Yes the dreaded T word. You will also be obliged to remove that grubby wrap that you bought on R'n'R in Zanzibar eight months ago and start to look like a responsible person.
    To be found in; Geneva, Rome, New York, London, Paris and other major westem cities.
  2. You can become a consultant. Easy one this, you come home from your few years overseas. Spoof your way onto an MSc. Course. Develop a speciality. The narrower the focus on that speciality, the easier it is to become a world leading expert. A brief study has revealed that there are gaps in the following areas;
    • nutritionists; to specialise in "The nutritional needs of well armed young fit men, with psychotic behaviour and illusions of grandeur".
    • logisticians; to specialise in "Sustainable community based nuclear power"

    To be found: mainly at home but also at development conferences and occasionally they are spotted in the field. Bear in mind allowances and per-diem's do add up.
  3. You can become a wine critic. This is far less limiting than it seems as many former aid workers who have gone down this career path have diversified and become beer, spirits, and liqueur critics as well. Unfortunately it does seem from research that most, if not all of these critics, find it very difficult to get published.
    It is advised therefore to hold on to your regular job until you can break into this somewhat closed industry. This current genre of former aid workers started by "taking a career break". They were inspired to do so "after seeing the pictures on telly - how could I not help". They feel abandoned, no one understands what they went through, particularly their spouses. A car backfiring in the street is enough to bring on a relapse. Watch out for them in bars, they are the ones boring the other regulars to death with their tales of woe, death, devastation and despair.
    To be found: in bars near their workplace at 5.01pm.
  4. You can become a woolly jumpered, sandal wearing, lentil loving do-gooder. These people call themselves "campaigners". No injustice or protest is too small for the do-gooder; road building, product boycotting, lemmings' rights. You name it the do gooders will lend there unequivocal and total support to it. They will go on to pursue an academic life. Graduating with a degree in Women's Studies, if men, and Arabic Anthropology, if women.
  5. To be found; in colleges, try the radical left political groups or the Student Union Women's office. Also found nightly on our televisions, check out the news or any modem art programs.

  6. You can go back to the field. Oh well, with the options from above who can blame you?
    To be found; At least a thousand miles from the nearest McDonalds.

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Reference this page

The Backpage. Field Exchange 1, May 1997. p21.



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