Washington DC: Where Even the Secretaries Have a Masters

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Washington DC: Where Even the Secretaries Have a Masters

One of the most annoying things about working in Washington, DC is the importance companies and organizations place on advanced degrees for jobs that are basically administrative positions.

Take this job listing from the Council on Foreign Relations for example. They are looking for a Research Associate on National Security and Civil Liberties and want someone with
M.A. degree in National Security, International Relations, International Law or a related field preferred, with high academic credentials or a B.A. degree with coursework in national security, constitutional law, U.S. foreign policy, or international law, and national security; along with a proven interest in civil liberties.
That makes sense. But what about this?
A minimum of one full year of related administrative experience during or post-graduation, preferably including experience coordinating events with VIPs.
Why would someone need both an M.A. and administrative experience? Because they are going to be doing 90% administrative work and 10% research
• Research the following areas: homeland security, national security law, international law, specify areas, and tracking news and data sources.
• Coordinating events, including arranging mailings, preparing invitations, travel arrangements, scheduling, corresponding with participants, helping to prepare materials for distribution, and providing other logistical support.
• Handling writing assignments, summarizing research findings, and business writing.
• Managing budgets, including preparing budgets and tracking monthly statements, creating and updating Excel spreadsheets, and preparing vouchers for reimbursement.
• Providing administrative support to the task force directors, including handling correspondence, filing, and responding to requests for information.
I imagine that those who have forked out the tens of thousands of dollars to get a Masters must just be crawling over each other to get jobs where they can spend the majority of their time filing and answering phones.

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