I promise to write again before the autumn’s over!
Sorry for the radio silence – that little bubble of calm did eventually subside, only to be replaced with a bigger bubble of work. I’m still investigating whether I can make a move on Profession X, albeit a year later than planned, and thus what I would do with that interim year for love and money. In lieue of anything more exciting to say, have some more links containing exciting stuff written by other people 🙂
– Tanya L Roth is another ex-academic who made the jump into high-school teaching straight after finishing her PhD in history. There’s some stuff on her blog about that transition, but also lots about her new job. Tanya’s the type of person I was thinking of a few months back when I was writing about everyday heroes; not a major celebrity but just a regular person who made that shift out of the academy into a new – and important! – career.
– On everyday life, JC is writing about what her life looks like now in a ‘for now’ job ([one], [two]). Beyond the fact that I love reading about people’s descriptions of their working lives* I think this is SO important. One of the biggest fears that I suspect a lot of folks leaving academia is quite what their new lives will be like, and seeing the rich detail of what there is – friendly co-workers, regular paychecks and weekends filled with friends, food and relaxing. The flipside of this is Currer Bell’s recent posts about how her first post-academic job isn’t working out for her – but again, it’s good to see the detail about why things aren’t brilliant and what she might look for next.
– Captain Awkward writes an excellent eponymous advice column, and her recent one on job hunting has lots of excellent stuff in it which applies to the post-academic world. There’s also some interesting stuff in the comments about how a menial job can be good for mental health (for a while), which adds to other debates about ‘jobs for now’ and ‘careers’ which I’ve seen flying around.
*And no, Profession X isn’t ‘career advisor’ but don’t think I haven’t thought about it…
The Olympics are still on for another few days!
Man, the good stuff is just rolling in at the moment AND we Brits have a ton of Golds in the Olympics (sorry any Australians who are reading). Have a little light summer reading:
– What we must demand of our colleges – This is a powerhouse of a rant from Adjunct Rebellion wrapped up in a list of questions which all parents should ask of the colleges which will take their kids. Where do the tuition fees go? Are undergrads guaranteed full access to their professors on campus? What percentage of classes will be taught by full-time faculty? I would love to see a) a UK version which b) was distributed to every student with their UCAS handbook.
– Unpaid research assistantships are back in the news again! This time it was UCL who advertised the nae-monies post before pulling it after 30 minutes. Ben Goldacre captured the document before it went down and taken up the response from UCL; and Martin Eve has written a good piece in the Guardian about just why these positions are so iniquitous.
– In related news, the Times Higher reports on what we all know: that there’s a backlog of senior academics in the system who
will not die are creating a bottleneck which limits the number of younger staff who can get jobs. In the comments, Professor Biggins Sorn earns a special type of hellbiscuit for suggesting that there is an ‘entitlement culture’ around those young academics who actually imagine that having invested so much time and money into the system that it might reward them in some way? Fie on you Professor BS.
– #ECRChat is a Twitter chat for early career researchers that takes place every Thursday at 11am-12pm GMT. Last week’s theme was ‘Careers Outside Academia’ which just EXPLODED – the host, Sarah-Louise Quinnell summarises here, and there is also a Storify of the whole thing. I hope they return to the topic again given the horrendous job stats summarised above.
I am adorable. Academia is not.
A collection of recent- and not-so-recent links about academic ridiculousness and miseries that I’ve been saving up. Have at them!
– Too Many Snakes, Too Few Ladders – an editorial by the Times Higher Education supplement (nearest thing that the UK has to the Chronicle), finally waking up to the fact that there are tons of PhDs being churned out and very few places for them to go to; and how, by framing non-academic jobs as shameful and ‘loser’, universities are part of the problem.
– Making Other Plans – an article in the same issue of the THE by a young postdoc (not me!) arguing that all PhD’s and postdocs should have a Plan B for if/when the magic dream permanent job fails to materialise.
– How a Mathematician Found a New Career – US maths prof is denied tenure (for being rubbish at teaching, it seems), carves out a new life as a science writer. Parts of this rub me up the wrong way – the author is in a hugely privileged position when he leaves academia, and I don’t know how much the career he has now would work so well in the current climate viz, the death of paid journalism. But – it’s brutally honest about the shock of leaving, and is also one of the rarer pieces written by someone who left after several years in the system rather than after the doctorate or adjuncting so speaks more closely to me.
– A farewell to academia – Astronomy assistant prof runs for the bright lights of Linden Labs; also really interesting discussion in the comments about the bitter funding battles in the hard sciences. I hope he is doing well; I don’t think it gives too much away to say that I can’t code but my God, I wish I could – seems like lots more options are open to those who can, see also Matt Welsh who left comp.sci. at Harvard for Google.
– What you should know before starting a doctorate – This, by Tom Coates, doesn’t seem to be doing the rounds as much as it should. I love this rant about the cult of graduate school and the business models of universities. He’s talking about the humanities, but I think a lot of it still applies across disciplines.