Pushing Through the Fear

2018-10-02T02:29:26+00:00June 14th, 2016|

Part 3 of a 3-part series, Pushing Through the Fear Get information and take advantage of resources in support of your goal. Information and experimentation can take the fear out of the unknown.  Regardless of what specific career path you’ve chosen, the more prepared and knowledgeable you are about your prospective career choice, the easier the transition and job acquisition will be. Take time to nurture your goal. There are no shortcuts in getting what you want, but at least you are working toward a goal and vision that you can own rather than one that was handed to you as default because supposedly “people with a degree in __________ do this ___________ (fill in the career)” or “people your age do that__________” (fill in the career)—or any other standard line you’ll hear. To be prepared for your goal, do your research into [...]

Motivations and Misfits

2018-10-02T02:29:26+00:00May 10th, 2016|

I know what it’s like to be in the academy and look outside of it with curiosity. During the last two years of my PhD program, I began feeling frustrated with my choices and deep down wanted to try something new. I’m not sure I belong here, but where is the right fit for me? I enjoy the life of the mind. I enjoy my friends and colleagues. I understand how academia works. I don’t know how the rest of the working world works, or where I fit in it. But who can I talk to about this? Who can help me think through the implications and provide feedback on my thought about what to do next in my career? I tried my university’s career services. I slogged through sessions of piecemeal information. I made every attempt to keep an open mind [...]

Three Ways NOT to Take the First Offer

2018-10-02T02:29:27+00:00September 3rd, 2015|

Recently, I worked with a Linguist PhD named Nancy who had received an offer for a data analyst position in Comcast’s corporate office. Nancy had been surviving off of a $25,000 grad student fellowship, and the hiring manager had just offered her $80,000. As Nancy sat with the offer, she said to me: “Well, I’ve been surviving off $25,000, surely $80,000 is more than enough to make my life work, right?” At the root of the question was the real issue. Nancy was afraid to negotiate. This confident, competent woman had some doubt about her value. Surprisingly, in my job as a career coach, this is actually quite common. Too often, my PhD jobseeker clients compare a current job offer against their graduate student stipends or postdoc salaries, and they lack the confidence to negotiate. Additionally, some of my clients are so [...]

From Quitting to Planning

2018-10-02T02:29:27+00:00August 10th, 2015|

I've gotten a flood of emails (literally) and Tweets about my article in The Chronicle of Higher Education Vitae that went live last Thursday. Here's a heads up in case you missed it. "The moment when graduate students begin to think that an academic career may not be for them is fraught with uncertainty. The future is before you and you have lost of questions but fewer answers: What kinds of jobs are available in my field? What will my adviser think? How will I finish the dissertation while job searching? Will my family understand? How can I remain active in academia while pursuing a non faculty career? What will happen to the friendships and relationships I’ve built throughout my academic career?    For graduate students of color - especially underrepresented minorities and those first in their family to seek a doctorate - [...]

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