I haven't done a serious thread in ages, so I think this one will be valuable. Now, if you don't get into academia, what kind of career would you consider. There's no need to list a specific job, of course. I am and could be a health professional, but having never practised (since doing my PhD) the thought of doing it makes me shudder. My supervisor even admitted that I was terrible (I know, cheeky person) and that, well, we all have skills and mine wasn't that. I can talk the talk but not walk the walk. So, I'm not sure myself. I could work in industry but it doesn't really float my boat (left wing alert). I'm good on a telephone and am well spoken, but cannot pronounce 'R' without sounding like a pirate. I can also run a restaurant, a shop and know my way with logistics. So, it's belly up for me at the 'mo'. Maybe I could work in a lab and I have lots of skills, but, meh, I just don't know. I'd be interested in hearing what other people think they may do.(up)
Funnily enough Wally, I just got accepted into a masters (I know, totally back-to-front) that will enable me to work as a health professional in an aspect of my field. I'm still panicking about leaving research and academia - though I could of course pursue it for this other aspect I suppose - but I think it's the right thing to do. I'm sick of feeling never good enough, never officially qualified and the idea of fighting in the rat race of academia just makes me feel tired, I want to know I'm eligible for a job and that they won't take it away from me every two years. One of the things I worry most about leaving behind is the people; I love this forum, I love the people I work with, and I must admit, I'm concerned that dealing with the general public won't be for me after all these years locked in with bright science types (not saying Joe public aren't bright, but it's a very narrow field of humanity I interact with at present and I confess I rather like them). Still, hey-ho....
I'm same as you Wal, I could go into consultancy in my field, but it involves less skill and more sales ability - its essentially selling/pushing your product on people. So I don't think I would enjoy it, most of my friends do it and I just don't think I have the ambition (the kind of nasty evil ambition that means you kill people to get ahead) and I also don't think that they would want me, they would see right through my lies in the interview and realise I'm far too lack lustre for their consultancy.
So that leaves me with something unrelated to my field :-(
So I guess anything that takes someone with an education-heavy CV and no practical experience! hahaha - oh dear!
I may panic if I don't get into academia, I haven't considered many other options! I have customer service skills from way back when I was paying through my undergraduate years but the thought of doing that again is upsetting. Not because customer service is a bad job, it's just not cut out for me. I don't like being pushy to customers (i.e. into opening store cards), so inevitably I earned the least bonus out of my co-workers. I can't handle any form of sales very well either and the idea of trying to meet targets to earn big bonuses would drive me insane. Running a restaurant sounds fun though and I've actually considered it (been watching too much of The F-word!)
I worked in R&D for a large company for a short while and loved it, and I guess if I didn't get into academia, I'd go down that route. It's predominately lab work, the dress code was more flexible and the pressure was much less than other company sectors.
I forgot to say, that I don't want to work consultancy hours. Although as an academic you probably work more than any other profession - you can do it in your own schedule with no one bossing you. My friends have to log onto this computer system and then they have to 'cost' their hours so their boss knows what they've been doing! Not for me!
I couldn't run a restaurant - I refuse to do dinner parties because I'm so scared of killing someone with undercooked chicken and I then massively over cook it and i get so stressed about the food poisoning issue that I end up over-cleaning my kitchen. I'd be constantly on edge!
I'm going throug a blindly optimistic phase, and am not even considering this. I really have no idea, but seeing as you've asked. I guess something to do with fashion and costume, from whence I came., althouhg it wn't be easy getting back into that. I'd really like to stay working in education too, so maybe some kind of organisational role in a uni, if I'm lucky. The pay and conditions would be much better than lecturing, I think. Or! teaching at a non-state school, the pay isn't any better than a state school, but the day to day business of teahing is much, much easier and far more pleasant (my friend's live in boyfriend and father to her baby does it) - I think that may be my best plan.
At the minute, I just think I will get an academic job though, eventually, if I just keep going and keep pushing.
I have no idea what I am going to do. Not much one can do with a humanities PhD. I have a 9 month grace period from Sept when I will part-time lecture. After that I have to hope that the experience will lead to another academic job. But I am not sure if chasing temp jobs for ever will be good for my sanity. I will try and publish my thesis as a book but that won't bring in any money. I don't want to work in sales or finance. I was trying to develop a career in museums before my PhD but that went nowhere (got an MA and applied for numerous jobs) - it is every bit as competitive as academia to get jobs with them. Sigh. I just don't know.
I am not sure if it is relevant for you, but here is what happened to me.
After leaving my post-doc (psychology/neuroscience), I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do, rather than what was obvious. I knew that I hated the politics and uncertainty of academia, but I quite liked the research, writing and teaching parts.
From there I followed up a few leads, and was able to put together a portfolio career that include sessional lecturing in my area of speciality (undergrads but some MSc courses), writing articles for non-professional audiences and something completely non-academic (working for a friend who is starting their own company). My job split right now roughly leads to a day a week lecturing, 2 days doing writing and the other 2 working at the company.
I find I am a lot happier and less stressed than I was as a post doc. Initially I was worried that I would not have the reputation or prestige of being a post-doctoral researcher at an elite university, the split of work, and worrying about making enough money. These doubts went quite quickly, when I found I was about as well off as I was on my post doc wage, and was a lot more productive. Procrastination is no longer an issue because of the structure of what I have to do.
The only thing I do find irritating beyond measure is my former colleagues/ supervisor who do come up with things like "Well your PhD/academic training was wasted" and have a condescending attitude. Increasingly I do realise its just perception, what they regard as failure, many of us will see as success. Presumably, there is an academic supervisor that looks down on Bill Gates as a failure because he dropped out of graduate school to start Microsoft, and didnt spend 7 years in a lab somewhere looking at obscure computational modelling.
Besides, from the gossip I hear I am better off now in many ways. While they are all paniced about the HE funding cuts and increasing student numbers, work load, I just shrug and say "Not my problem". Its hugely liberating, and the only thing I now feel sorrow for is why didnt I leave years ago.
Hey, BHC, I'm really glad you've found your path, outside of academia. That's great news! Good luck, it sounds like what you are doing will take you somewhere worthwhile.
Well I am completely determined to stay in academia, but of course I have considered the fact that I might not make it. My back-up plan would be to apply for the practioner doctorate in clinical psychology, which would probably require me to spend a year or two working as an assistant psychologist first. The doctorate in clinical psychology is extremely competitive, and many applicants now have a PhD already, so it's a pretty tough option for a back-up plan, but I reckon given how tough it is to get post-doc funding for your own project right now, even the clin psych option is less competitive than that! But pouring all my energy into academic first! Best, KB
One of the books that really helped me, I recommend for anyone thinking of leaving academia is "So What Are You Going To Do With That?: Finding careers outside academia" by Basalla and Debelius. It has a lot of ideas, but more importantly gets you thinking about a job thats good for you, rather than a generic good job.
@KB. Clinical psychology is something lots of psychology PhDs think about. The only problem is that you do need quite a lot of clinical experience and even to get an assistant's job is supercompetitive (200 applicants per place for one I heard about from my friend, and they tend to go to people who are already assistants). Also from my friends who are qualified in clinical psychology world, their jobs are also getting scarce, salaries downgraded, more temp posts etc (i.e. its becoming a lot like academia).
Hi Wally, this is something I've been thinking about a lot, for the past year or so! I really enjoy my PhD and if I could get a postdoc to continue on my research then I'd take it I think, especially as I's starting to use different techniques that I'd love to learn more about. I always wanted to be a lecturer in a uni, I have such a passion for the teaching side of it and working with student, but I've been put off by the amount of emphasis and pressure put on research and publishing papers. I think the teaching side suffers greatly due to this.
I also think there need to be much more done in improving non-academics knowledge of science and how research is done and how it affects policy. So I would just love if I was to get a job working as an intermediary between policymakers, the public and and academia. And working with children and community groups in an outreach capacity. I'm not sure if this job actually exists but I'm gona try and make it up as I go along I think!! :-)
I've been told that any posts that may arise at my uni are 50-50 teaching and research. People within my department are retiring in the near future - and my discipline has hitherto been quite poor for academic research, so it's not like there's a lot of competition. Although I think there are only 15 universities in the UK that do my subject. If I'm almost wildly optimistic, I could end up getting an academic post, and will probably do it because there's not a lot else I can think of. I just hope that they never expect me to teach them clinical skills - students will laugh more than learn. If this doesn't come off, I'll just get a job, any job and then re-plan what I want to do. I work within rheumatoogy and outcome measurement - big fields - so there has to be some type of job within that I can do. You know, I'm not actually that worried. What will be will be and what is meant to be will be - probably the wisest words I've ever used on this forum :$
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