"We should just round up all the excess academics around here and start our own institution."Friend (who is an academic). Hmmm.
3 notes, April 14, 2011
3 notes, April 14, 2011
Go to grad school. Invest massive amounts of energy, money and time researching something interesting. Scour listservs. Get tenure track job. This is the process. Tenure is the end-game. The gold standard. The expectation. It is what you are trained to do.
I’ve followed this game plan. Last week the plan led to a tenure track offer at large US University. My mentors were thrilled. Mission accomplished. I won. I was set!
I declined the offer (and by the way, even with my ’multi-criteria decision making’ skills keeping things all structured and ‘objective’, the emotional process of coming to that decision totally sucked). Ultimately, none of the reasons behind this decision were professional. Professionally, the job would be great. But the move (there is almost always a move) would incur costs of the non-economic kind for our family.
Family. Academics is hard on family. We are expected to move, leave our friends, extended family and community, throw oursleves into the teaching, research and service and our significant others are supposed to be portable, happy and supportive about this. Sometimes they are - particularly if they are also an academic, or (and here I am generalizing with abandon) if the ‘trailing spouse’ is female. Sometimes a move to small town X sounds great for the big city spouse. Other times, not so much.
I’ll continue to look for TT jobs - once the next cycle kicks in. And who knows, maybe a position will come up in a place and country tuned to our family values. But the market is tight and as time ticks on it is becoming increasingly clear that I need to think creatively about alternatives to academics - alternatives of the postacademic kind. No, it doesn’t feel natural. Not yet. But maybe, what feels like a lost opportunity today will turn out to open up future opportunities elsewhere. And maybe, hopefully (!) we will all be better for it - our whole family.
1 note, April 13, 2011
This is a blog of uncertain outcome. In the end, it might be about a PhD leaving academia. Equally, it might be about a PhD starting on the tenure track. What it will be about is the journey towards one of these options.
11 notes, April 13, 2011
Just about sums it up.
0 notes, April 13, 2011