If not academia, then what?

2018-10-02T02:29:29+00:00January 31st, 2014|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

*Disclaimer: I'm writing this post on the go so I will return later to fill out the piece in a subsequent post. I've gotten lots of questions about career exploration (aka, how do I know what I'd do outside the academy). Chances are if you've been in academia for years you are not very familiar with sectors outside of education. Heck, most PhDs don't really consider education beyond higher ed and the professoriate. So when you get curious about what else you'd do besides becoming a tenure track professor, the options ahead can look unclear at best. If you've asked "if not academia, then what?", you are really asking a question about how to determine which career or job is right for you.  There may be no one "right" career or job for you. However, when exploring your options you want to [...]

Job security outside of academia?

2018-10-02T02:29:29+00:00December 30th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

As I present to PhDs on college campuses and conferences, graduate students express their concern about the lack of job security in nonacademic careers.  The academic career path comes with a sense of job security because job options are clearly set. You either get a postdoc fellowship, visiting professorship, lecturer position, research position, tenure track job, or the dreaded adjunct or contingent position (but that's another topic for another day). Take note of the ratio of temporary to long-term positions among these options.  Perhaps what PhDs are really saying is that academic careers come with a high level of job predictability, rather than job security. Nonacademic careers are the vast unknown for many graduate students who may not have spent much time in career planning, career exploration or out-of-classroom/department/university experiences.  When beginning to look at careers outside the academy, PhD career changers tend [...]

Take Advantage

2018-10-02T02:29:29+00:00December 19th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Some of the most common concerns I hear from PhDs considering a career outside of academia go something like this: How do I know what kind of job I would be good at? What company will want to hire someone my age with little “real world” experience? Who will serve as references for me when all my references are from my lab or dissertation committee? These concerns are valid for any graduate student who wants to be a viable candidate for industry careers. However, the divide between the academic and the workplace can be bridged with one or two well-placed volunteer, intern or part-time work experiences.  A little experience goes a long way to helping you get your foot in the door in a new field. You’ve heard this advice before but you aren’t sure where to find such opportunities and the [...]

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