Quitter to Winner

Sunday, July 18, 2010

INTERVIEW: How Scott LaGreca became the "Science Guy"

Scott LaGreca wasn't loving unemployment. But he wanted to stay in the museum field. Fortunately a volunteer gig at the Berkshire Museum eventually led to securing a hard-to-land job.

Scott, I had no idea you left a job(s) without another one waiting in the wings. When did that all go down? And what led to that situation?

I was living in London 2004-2008 and dating my partner at the same time (he was in Boston). That was tough, needless to say!! I was also making very little money in London relative to the cost of living there. It was unsustainable.

In 2007, my partner took a job in the lovely Berkshires of Massachusetts on the condition that I move back home and be with him and try to "make a go" of it. I was lucky because he was making a good salary and could support me for awhile, while I looked for a job. I moved back to the states in spring 2008.

How long did it take you to "land on your feet" with another gig (or something else)?

I was unemployed from February through July of 2008. I applied for tons of jobs. I'd never been unemployed before and it was a VERY rough period for me! I was depressed and moody and gained weight (haha). I never want to go through that again.

Do you regret taking the job you had to leave?

I do not regret taking the job I had to leave. The job was my "dream job" in many ways. It simply didn't pay enough given the cost of living there. Plus, there was my relationship as well as other family considerations.

What are you doing now?

I started volunteering at the Berkshire Museum while I was unemployed. Then the woman I volunteered with left her position. I applied for the position and got it. I'm now the Natural Science Coordinator, otherwise know as the "Science Guy." I handle all the science content for their exhibitions, public programs and collections management. I also help take care of the live animals there. (That's quite a stretch for a botanist with no zoology or zoo background.)

Do you think our generation are quicker to say screw it, I'm out? Or is that we've been led to believe by our parents who tell us to suck it up, they had it much worse?

Yes, I definitely believe that our generation is more mobile when it comes to career choice. No question! It is mostly a good thing, because turnover is good in most fields. In the museum field (my field), however, it can be a detriment, because it's good for both the institution and the individual to cultivate a long-term working relationship. Both the museum AND the individual curator benefit greatly by long-term arrangements.

What advice would you have for someone who absolutely needs out of their job but may not have a plan in place just yet?

Wow. I would say GO FOR IT. Find the support system you need, be it (a) saving lots of $$ to support yourself during unemployment or (b) finding friends, family members or a partner who can "spot" you while you look for another job. Life is too short to be miserable if you can avoid it!!

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