In this episode, we discuss when to spend (and save) your money and time to invest in your future career.
In this episode, we discuss the transition in identity when leaving academia. You’ve spent 10 years (or more!) inside of academia. Most of your friends might be inside academia. You likely derive a lot of your identity from your work. What happens when you decide that you’re going to leave?
One question that we address is: Are you still a scientist after you leave academia? Is it an intrinsic part of your identity or is it something that you do? There’s feelings on both sides.
We’re scientists. That’s what we do. We go and learn. –@Doctor_PMS
In this episode, we discuss unique skills that we gained in academia. When looking to leave academia, you might think, “What do I know outside of pipetting?” …Just for example.
As it turns out, working in academia we gain a lot of unique skills. For example, you can prioritize. You’ve spent years deciding what to do first—what to do to get you closer to your goal of publishing that paper or getting that grant. Also, highly-motivated and self-directed aren’t just buzz words in academia—they’re highly sought after characteristics in other industries. And by virtue of being in academia, you’re both of those words.
There are many more examples of transferrable skills that you’ve learned during your time in academia.
What makes these transferrable skills hard to see? Why do we hesitate to put these skills on our resume or CV? We discuss a bit about getting out of our own way and sharing these on a CV/resume.
Turning your CV into a resume feels daunting—and maybe even impossible. How do you condense a several page document into a one page resume? How do you make the change without cutting important information? And, possibly most difficult of all, how do you convert your academic accomplishments into ones that are quantifiable and meaningful outside of academia?
In this episode, we discuss how we changed our CV into a resume, including how we quantified papers. We also talk about the importance of establishing a “yay me!” file, why self-promotion is ok (even if it feels strange), and that sometimes hiring a professional is the way to go.
Links discussed in the show:
In episode 1, a quote from me that got picked up on Twitter got a fair number of retweets:
— Renee M. Symonds (@DatabaseDragons) September 14, 2016
While this is true, and I believe it (and the idea is not mine originally– I have no idea who to cite that first said it), there are some questions as to what is meant by a kinder academia:
— Beronda Montgomery (@BerondaM) September 15, 2016
Kind is not a synonym for nice. There are sharp distinctions between being nice and being kind. Nice is all surface. Kindness is depth. Nice is fluffy illusion. Kindness is a sturdy construction. Being kind sometimes requires us to abandon nice to speak the truth. Truth hurts, and kindness acknowledges this. Nice pretends that hurts are temporary, avoidable, and not to be mentioned. Kindness allows us our hurts and encourages us to learn and grow. With a bright smile and charming demeanor, nice can cover a mean-spirited view . Kindness can’t live with the harm that such meanness and hatred causes. Nice pretends to be a virtue; kindness actually is. Nice harms us more than it ever helps. I’ve started to focus on being kind rather than being nice.
In this episode, we talk about the difficulties with deciding to leave academia. We ask two important questions: What made the decision to leave academia difficult? Once you decide to leave, how do you know where to go?
While most people with PhDs do not go onto a tenure-track position, feelings of failure with leaving academia still persist. These feelings are valid but aren’t grounded in fact. Scientists can go out into the world and do things besides academia that are important to society.
To decide where to go next, we talked to a lot of people (including dialog with ourselves), went on informational interviews, and read about different careers. Taking those next steps helped a bit with overcoming the fear of the unknown and the uncertainty about life outside of the ivory tower.
It’s possible to leave, and it’s less painful than you might think.
In this episode, we discuss the reasons why we transitioned, or are transitioning, from academia. Our reasons for leaving varied, and sometimes overlapped, but we all made the same decision: leave academia.
Looking at your own reasons and seeing them add up to the same decision can be a bit intimidating. We each experienced, or are experiencing, that same fear of the unknown. Taking that leap of faith in ourselves required a lot of debate (both internal and with others).
We hope through sharing these reasons with you that we can normalize the experience. Because you’re not alone. We’ve walked that same path and made it out to the light on the other side.
Thank you all for the wonderful response we’ve gotten from our pilot episode! We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who have told us they identified and enjoyed our podcast. So, thank you again. We hope that you’ll keep listening. We’ll release new episodes every other Tuesday.
Over the past week, our listeners sent (or tweeted) links to different resources that might help the transitioning academic. We’ve collected them here and hope that they will aid in your recovery.
What To Do Next?
myIDP No list is complete without a mention of myIDP. If you’re not sure where to start, then myIDP will give you a place to begin. You’ll rate a series of statements about what is important to you and what you’d like out of a career. myIDP takes your ratings and matches it with possible careers that might work for you. The best part of myIDP, at least to me, is the goal setting. myIDP encourages you to set short- and long-term goals and sends you email reminders about them.
Alternatives To Professorships In Academia Just because you’ve decided that a professorship isn’t for you, doesn’t mean that you have to leave academia entirely. Science recently published an article about academia adjacent careers (a term that I think was coined by our own Ian Street).
The Job Search
10 Ways To Find Your Next Job You are likely familiar with the academic job search, and many of your mentors can offer their experience. Looking for a job outside of academia might feel like stumbling in the dark. Bioscience careers offers this article on how to start your search.
Beyond the Professoriate Job Search Course If you want more guidance, then this course is for you. From the website, this is a “10-week program for PhDs and graduate students who are preparing, or actively searching, for new careers beyond the professoriate.” This course is given by the same people who organize the Beyond the Professoriate Conference this past May, which I attended. The conference helped me decide (and get up the courage) to leave academia and provided me with valuable career advice.
Success Outside of Academia
Life outside the lab: The ones who got away As Nature states in the subheading, “Sometimes, the brightest stars in science decide to leave. Nature finds out where they go.” Many former academics found success and fulfillment outside of academia.
Leaving academia in many fields, scientific and otherwise, is the ultimate taboo. In journal clubs, seminars, and laboratories, jokes are made that scientists who left academia for industry or other jobs have turned to the Dark Side. A certain attitude persists that science is a noble calling, an avocation, that a trainee should pursue with a single-mindedness.
“Academia is sticky. It’s heavy. It’s got lot of gravity.
…I know people make it out.” –@IHStreet
But what happens if you decide that academia isn’t for you? Or if, despite your best efforts, your academic dreams aren’t realized?
Suddenly, you’re left without mentors, without a community.
We started this podcast to create a community for recovering academics. We will discuss the issues we encounter, the insights that we stumble upon, and topics that you suggest.
Remember: there is sunshine outside the ivory tower.
Update: The Recovering Academic Podcast is launching August 23, 2016