How to get out(14 Posts)
How do you move on and out? I'm in the broad social sciences, moving into mid-career, and concerned that my alternative career options are schoolteaching or bits of freelancing. Do you have any stories of successful transition?
Watching with interest. Currently revising my exit strategy after a knock back by the DfE.
Only us then?! I do know of someone who moved into educational software work; someone else who left a senior position to freelance; and a couple of cases who moved into policy analysis from fairly senior positions. Any other examples?
heard from someone who used to be on the OTBT Ivory tower thread who left academia to become a successful tutor.
My DH left academia for industry (R&D manager) - did well but still came back to academia [felt like he had not creative output in his job].
The only people who I've seen move out of academia have gone to uni administrative positions--people in the humanities, computing and life sciences.
I was only a research fellow when I decided to move on - but I made a successful exit into IT project management (with a PhD in sociology and a background in humanities/gender studies). You may enjoy this podcast phdcareerstories.com/category/stories/
I'd love to know, too.
The only ones I know are two people who moved into publishing, but they did it as postdocs, so started down the bottom of the career ladder and are now things like editors at Nature. Don't think you can jump straight there.
Other one is a colleague who left to run her parents' farm shop. Don't think that's an option for many.
Oh, right, and the fellow who became a successful fiction author - some 20 years or so ago, and they still talk about him in wonder (I didn't overlap with him at all, but heard the stories). Don't think that's one you can count on, either. (But I've got a novel draft that's hoping differently... if I can ever find the time to work on it).
Thanks coffeemonster28 - and glad you still follow these boards to let us know that it's possible to escape. I love your interview. Everything you say resonates.
My sense is transition could take a year - and that's time and effort I could put into making this job better. Decisions, decisions.
I'm also looking at a slow exit strategy, Grice ; necessarily so since it's so damn hard to get the headspace such a decision deserves. For me, these feelings are cyclical but increasing. When I get a break and some perspective, I can see the crazy and punishing treadmill we're on. Then in termtime when I'm juggling four bastard modules a semester, too many supervisees, a hydra-like inbox, grant and publishing pressures, yadda yadda, I don't even get to think and things sort of seem OK. Which is ridiculous. I'd be interested in hearing your strategies on making the job better.
But as for your original query, have you seen this thread in Chat? www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/2856047-You-used-to-be-an-academic-but-left-what-do-you-do-now
Goodness - I'm not sure what the strategy is other than still pushing papers forward, submitting and hoping; putting in grant applications and network building; and so on & so on while getting ruthless on the teaching & supervision side to 'save time' and emotional labour; and just hoping that that makes the crucial difference.
People say so; and maybe with a smaller commute and a bit more seniority it might start to feel easier.
Or maybe this is the boiling-a-frog thing in operation and I'd turn into the kind of academic I don't much like, and end up too old to switch.
It's hard to tell - and I really relate to not being able to think ahead or clearly because of the daily madness.
4 modules is brutal - surely you haven't had to develop them all?
One contact who did make it out said that academia is just getting incrementally worse (the pension, the bickering, the students) and that there is just more out there.
As for the thread in Chat - I'd missed it and see she was looking in a much more fruitful place for advice There's a lesson in there!
I have to say a smaller commute made a huge difference to me. I was too tired to drive an hour either way and do all the childcare/household duties and be an academic, now my commute is very small, it has freed up a lot of the day.
I did think about jumping ship a few years ago when I was on fixed contracts/hadn't become permanent, and there were some tempting looking jobs in public fields in my area that paid better. Now I am thankful I didn't, the contraction of public services has meant many of those jobs are now unstable in themselves and lots of the people I envied in having seemingly less frenetic jobs have had their contracts shut/moved/changed, even at higher levels.
I don't know if you have sabbaticals at your institution, but having one of those, and being partly bought out through grants for a year or two has also refreshed my enthusiasm and drive for the research.
I don't think my institution is perfect by any means, but I don't find the job unbearably stressful, and the benefits (good sick pay, permanent job) are also welcome, as I have seen so many friends be made redundant/have to look for new jobs in the past few years.
I'm keeping an open mind because I just *don't know*; but it's helpful to know that 'out there' isn't always that great, and to value all the upside.
Do you have to go in every day or most days? I think there's a big difference to a long train commute once a week, staying over somewhere, and the exhaustion of daily commuting especially if you have to drive and can't work.
My husband commuted a long way for years but it did get the better of him in the end. If there is any way you can reduce that, your quality of life will go up dramatically for such a seemingly small change.
I'm not massively senior, but I do have a permanent secure position, and lovely colleagues, it is frenetic and I do wonder if I can keep the teaching up for another 20 years, but ultimately I've decided I do like enough about it to continue, plus my work is extremely flexible about childcare/not needing you to be present in the office.
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