Julie Clarenbach and I wrote the Myths & Mismatches series because we know that a lot of people are feeling unhappy with some aspect of their academic career. We also know that a lot of people are blaming themselves.
When you feel like the person in this painting, it’s pretty hard to start looking for options and solutions. We wanted to help you get out of that spot.
We’ve been excited to see the responses, including a whole blog series further reflecting on the ideas we raise in Myths and Mismatches over at Speculative Diction (the link is to the first in the series).
However, as that series of responses makes clear, it is one thing to agree that this isn’t your fault and there are lots of structural things going on, and another to actually know what to do next.
The 3 key things to focus on are:
- The problem of passively assuming an academic career (instead of consciously choosing it)
- The value of planning your career choicefully and strategically
- A high-level method of expanding your sense of possibility by exploring all your career options (academic and non-academic)
There is no magic wand
I know that what you would really like is for someone to just wave a magic wand and tell you what your ideal career is and how to get it. I’ve been there. Julie’s been there.
Especially after you’ve spent all this time in graduate school and maybe working as an academic of some sort, you feel like you just want to be there in your proper grown-up career already.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a magic wand.
What we do have are tools and support so that you can figure out what you are good at and what you really like. Kind of like helping someone learn to ride a bike, we can explain how it’s done and hold onto the bike so it doesn’t fall over while you get started.
And we’re not going to push you to leave academia. As I said in my post on quitting, you might not have to quit your job to find something better. You might just have to quit some of the small things so you can make the job you have more like the one you want. The tools we share can help you do that, too.