"In many disciplines, for the majority of graduates, the Ph.D. indicates the logical conclusion of an academic career." Marc Bousquet

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday RBOC

Nothing especially provocative here today, folks. Just some random Monday thoughts and a few responses to other posts around the blogosphere:
  • JC put up a thoughtful post earlier last week about The Two Types of Postacademics. To these two types (the leaver who hates academic life and just wants to get the hell out and the leaver who finds the working conditions unsustainable but still likes the work and wants to keep one foot in the door), I would add a third type: The would-be postacademic who is trapped inside academe, not for lack of trying to get out but because, despite the relative success postacademics like JC and I have experienced finding nonacademic work, it really is NOT a walk in the park for a great many would-be leavers, such as Sisyphus. Go on over to that blog and read some of the posts from back in the spring of 2010 (like this one about "operation moving into parents' basement"). Sisyphus has been on the academic job market since 2006, and when even her adjuncting gigs started to dry up, she started looking for nonacademic work, in conjunction with her ongoing academic searches. For a while it seemed as if this was all to no avail. Even now, she's in the 2nd year of a 2-year postdoc and back on both academic and nonacademic job markets yet again. Things are bleak, my friends. Bleak. Start planning your exit as soon as you possibly can because the nonacademic job scene in your region may present almost as many obstacles as the academic one.
  • Over at Selloutyoursoul, James has a post up about a book he has written, soon to be released, about how humanities majors can find nonacademic jobs, as he apparently has recently done. I applaud his efforts and success, but the self-help genre in general really kinda makes me throw up a little in my mouth: Follow X Simple Steps and You, Too, Can Overcome All Your Obstacles and Have the Perfect Career and Life You Always Dreamed About. I haven't read this book (it's not out yet), so I can't comment, but, as with any promise, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • The same person who invited me to be on a conference panel is now asking me if I want my paper to be in an edited collection ze is putting together on the same subject. I have mixed feelings about this and haven't said yes or no yet. My grad student self would have said, "Oooo, yes! Another publication!! Awesome!!!" My postacademic self says, "Edited collections are a pain in the ass. At best, they take forever. At worst, after taking forever, the project gets canceled (as has since happened with another piece I wrote). Even for purposes of applying for academic jobs this year, I don't need this extra line on my CV. Plus, a longer version of this paper would be part of Project Dissertation to Book. I've already published several articles excerpted from PDB. I fear that publishing too much more of it in other venues would lessen the interest a book press would have in it. Plus further, even should PDB never come to pass, I have other journal options where I could potentially place this paper." Academic readers, what are your thoughts on edited collections?
  • Crocodiles with Coffee did a great post last week on how to properly clothe yourself outside academe. Indeed, "a suitable affirmation"! Not every nonacademic job requires you to wear a suit every day. Mine is a good example. While certain occasions (such as events we host on the Heap) do require proper attire, there is no dress code for regular workdays. The thing is, I find that if I don't at least aim for something approaching business casual, I feel less like working. Not that my job requires much focus or anything, but if I'm in baggy jeans or yoga gear, I feel like I should be on the couch lounging with the kittehs, not doing ... well just about any of the random stupid stuff I do around here in the office. Even going out to lunch dressed like a slob (or in some frumpy outfit left over from academe), I feel out of place. So, yeah, figure out the role you think you might want to play as you move into your "next" job and dress the part.
  • Next stop, Crapital City, this Thursday:

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