What you can fund with your consulting work

Wordle_for_last_essay_in_anthropolo [This will be the last essay and conclusion to the blog compendium How To Be An Anthropologist (for hire).]

Being an anthropologist for hire should prove remunerative  If all goes well, you should be able to use your consulting income to fund…something else. 

It could be being a really great mom.  It could be working on that career in stand-up comedy.  It could be making yourself the world’s expert in Bolivian tin mining, 1920-1932. 

My hope is that you will be an anthropologist here too.  I hope you will study American culture for clients and then study it again for yourself.  It’s a pretty straight forward proposition.  And God knows there is plenty of work to do.  The academic anthropologists have pretty much forsaken the study of their own culture.  If you don’t do it, who’s going to?

The good thing about an anthropologist who does not depend on tenure and promotion committees or government grants is that we can go our own way.  The academic anthropologist is thoroughly shaped by his or her community…and, dude, does it show.  There is a consensus at work in their world that has shut down all but the most approved discourse.  Indeed, the only community that conforms to Foucault’s nutty idea is the academic one that embraced it as an account of the rest of us. 

The advantage of being an anthropologist by day and by night is that the two halves of your career can work together.  When you are collected data for commercial purposes, you will see things that serve your academic interests.  And vice versa.  Indeed, I like to think that my clients are paying for one day, but they are actually getting two.  All my academic work is there at their disposal when I am "on the job."

But I should warn you.  Doing both sides of the proposition did not come easily to me and it may not come easily to you..  In fact, it was like riding uneven circus ponies for much of the time.  It was sometimes miserable.  It cost me my first marriage and it induced in my a reckless disregard for my self interest.  Oh, poor me.  Forgive the self pity.  But I am obliged to tell you what you’re getting in to. 

The upside is pretty interesting.  You are you’re own man or woman.  You can chose your own questions.  You can go your own way. A culture awaits you.

4 thoughts on “What you can fund with your consulting work”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with this series. I do have two questions: 1. Which is the in the most demand? Data abroad for USA corporations, USA data for USA corporations, or USA data for foreign companies? 2. How does one ‘hang’ their shingle for the first client? Do you gather data and then try to sell it? Start a blog offering free insight, hoping that someone will stumble up your site and offer work?

    If I’ve overlooked the answers in your essays, I apologize. I’m not trained academically but I do have a niche, and want very much to begin.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with this series. I do have two questions: 1. Which is the in the most demand? Data abroad for USA corporations, USA data for USA corporations, or USA data for foreign companies? 2. How does one ‘hang’ their shingle for the first client? Do you gather data and then try to sell it? Start a blog offering free insight, hoping that someone will stumble up your site and offer work?

    If I’ve overlooked the answers in your essays, I apologize. I’m not trained academically but I do have a niche, and want very much to begin.

  3. Mia, good questions, I would choose one of these options according to your interest. So in my case, I made american culture my specialty. Some clients would then ask me to go abroad. I would warn them that Mexico and France and China was not my area of expertise, but they say, “that’s ok, we want the same set of eyes.” So off I went. So I could specialize in one…and take on the others if and when they look interesting. I haven’t gather data for commercial purposes and then tried to sell it. But when I publish stuff on American culture that I collected for academic purposes, I guess that has the same status. I guess that would be my choose: do something for your own purposes, and let would-be clients use it to judge your fitness for their purposes. Hope this helps. Best, Grant

  4. Grant, sorry to post this here – can’t find your e-mail address, and I’m in a hurry and wanted to send this to you — please feel free to delete, but do consider:

    I wanted to recommend HBES to you — the Human Behavior & Evolution Society (HBES.com). I think you’d get a lot out of joining and going to the next conference, which is in Fullerton. I’m an advice columnist, not a Ph.D., and I’ve gone for years, and incorporated a lot of what I’ve learned in my work. In fact, it’s been transformative, and I have anthros’/evolutionary economists’/ev psychs’ studies as the cornerstone of a book I’m writing, and as the background/backbone of my weekly syndicated column. And the researchers in the field have been quite welcoming to me and others who seek to bring more science rather than just opinion to the underpinnings of their work.

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