Thursday, December 27, 2012

Seeking Contributors for our E-Book!

Hey all!

I am currently out of state visiting my family for the holidays, so haven't had much time to sit down and write anything. Hopefully all of you who celebrate Christmas (as well as those who don't) have had a lovely holiday season and are finding some time to step away from work and the daily grind and to just relax for a little while...

Anyway, before I get back to the holiday/family festivities, I wanted to post the CFP for our "leaving academia" e-book. Our goal with this book is to create a collection of stories, reflections, and anecdotes about leaving academia and becoming a post-academic, so that others can gain some inspiration and maybe some perspective on how easy or not-easy the transition has been for others.

Now, you may be thinking that if you left and aren't working your Dream Job and/or if you don't have your Ultimate Dream Life, you shouldn't contribute. Nonsense! All of us out here have been open about how the leaving process has had its ups and downs and of how we might not be exactly where we hope to be in the future. And yet, we are all fairly happy and are all going to contribute stories. You don't have to be the Perfect Postacademic in order to contribute. (And in fact, what would that Perfect Postacademic look like, anyway? Only in academia do we expect that there's one life and one career path that would make everyone blissfully happy...)

So see the CFP below (shamelessly copied-and-pasted from Currer's place), and if you have any questions shoot us an email or leave a comment!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Exciting News! ...Wanna Help? :)

As Lauren mentioned in her post just a little while ago, we have exciting news to report from the postacademic blogosphere!

After months of ranting away on our own blogs, several of us (me, Lauren, Currer and Jet) have decided to move forward with a centralized website and e-book that will provide resources for folks who are contemplating leaving academia, as well as support for those who have already left.

The website won't be up and running for a little while, although we do have a URL and an outline, so it's definitely going to happen. :) The book will follow once the website is up and running, and once we get a sense for the type of information people seem to be looking for and how we can best complement what's on the site.

Our initial plan for the website is for it to provide concrete, tangible information about how to leave academia (how to tell your advisor, how to write a resume, how to deal with financial and other issues that might arise), as well as support and resources to help you make the decision that's best for you and to keep yourself emotionally on-track.

So! We have plans, and we're excited about them! And this is where you come in.

Friday, December 7, 2012

So Many Ph.Ds...So Few Jobs

I'm going to read the whole thing this weekend and will probably have more to say about it in future posts, but the newest NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates is out, and the picture about jobs isn't a pretty one.

According to the IHE, the percentage of folks who graduate with Ph.D.s and have firm employment commitments on hand at graduation has fallen sharply ... across every discipline.

Here's the table from the IHE article, which is drawn directly from the report:

(Side note - I am really surprised to see that the percentage of new grads with job commitments is highest among social scientists. Though I suppose if you include economists and psychologists in that group, you may be catching a number of people who are moving into industry. But still...).

At any rate, these numbers are pretty scary. Note that the comparison year is 2006 - which is at least a year or two before the academic job market is perceived to have started its collapse.

And as everyone knows, the next few years were awful. Fewer schools had money to hire new faculty, and many schools cancelled their searches when they were already underway. Graduate programs (like mine) where students who graduated in 2004 or 2005 were often mulling over 2 or 3 job offers as ABDs were suddenly seeing students who got nothing more than a single VAP offer or (if they really got lucky), an offer from a school that was at the end of their desirability list.

But now, in 2011 and 2012, we keep hearing that the market across multiple disciplines is rebounding. There are more job listings than in previous years, and schools are finally getting the go-ahead to hire tenure-track faculty. Don't worry, Ph.D. students! Everything is back to normal! Just keep working hard, and it'll all work out!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Random Miscellany About My Life Now - Boring Work Weeks

I logged into the blog today, thinking that I would edit a nearly-finished draft of a post I was working on last month and put it up.

But then my partner texted me on his way to work: "Whatcha doing?"

It's raining and gloomy outside, and I'm in the office working on some pretty monotonous tasks today. Everyone in my office is pretty tired today, so no one's really all that talkative. The first week of each new month is always the busiest for us, so we're all working fairly hard this week (though obviously I still have time to blog!) and recovering from our holiday party* last weekend.

So I texted him back: ", I did [task X] this morning, and now I'm doing [task Y]. My job is SO THRILLING. :)"

Then I went back to work and started thinking about what I wrote. And of course, since I'd already logged into the blog and sent my mind to "postacademic mode," I thought about how I'd feel if I still had a dissertation that I had to work on instead of these monotonous work tasks. Or papers to grade, or a syllabus to write, or whatever. In other words, I started thinking about how my life in my boring job compared to my life when I was a Super Important Grad Student Doing Important Groundbreaking Work.

And I realized that I'd rather work on monotonous tasks X and Y every workday for the rest of the freaking month then spend even a couple of hours trying to code data for my dissertation or trying to read some horrible blowhard's academic paper to add to my lit review, or responding to a needy student email.**