Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thinking about Stuff

So I have been thinking about my job, especially in light of the economy.

I watched the President's press conference yesterday, and while the $800 will be nice, is that really going to jump start the economy? I'm not optimistic. The only way to increase consumer spending would be for retailers to lower their prices, particularly on gas and oil so that the cost of all other business is reduced. That, however, might not be a great solution, given that it means lower profits for business and thus stock prices will stagnate or go down. In a time when many if not most employers have been saving money by ditching traditional pension plans, most people plan for retirement by having a 401K or an IRA (or both). But those are tied to the stock market. So if the stock market stagnates or falls, it will hurt those who depend on it for their retirement (both now and in the future).

So I am thinking it is probably in my best interest to stay in my job. It is stable, I am tenured, and if I stay, I will have a pension. And I am already old enough to need to be concerned about that. Besides, I really like the lifestyle, and after having dinner with a bunch of friends from Jerusalem the other night, I remembered how much I value the people I have met in this job.Not that I am giving up on archaeology. It is still my goal to finish my PhD this year. I am also considering switching cones, from Public Diplomacy to Consular, for a couple of reasons. First, I really enjoyed working with the FSNs in Jerusalem. It was my favorite thing about the work I did there. But second, you don't put in nearly the amount of extra hours in consular work that you do in the other cones. That extra time would allow me to be involved in the archaeological community in whatever country I am in. It would also allow me to work on having articles published regularly and staying involved in the southeastern archaeological community. So that perhaps when I retire from State, I can teach.

Of course, I could change my mind again tomorrow. Especially if I got offered a government job in archaeology. But at least for the moment, I think staying with State is the best idea.

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