Is there a doctor in the house?

coaching, networking, post-academic
    I have an acquaintance who is one amazingly smart woman. She has an interdisciplinary PhD in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience and has all sorts of interesting insights into the world and people. She is married to a physician. One day, when her young daughter was musing that daddy and mommy both had Dr. in front of their names but only daddy worked in a hospital, her father told her: "That's because your daddy solves problems, dear. Your mother just thinks about them." He said this with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, but it zings because so many of us academics know the discomfort of not being (publicly) recognized for our expertise. As someone new to the coaching profession, I've had to do a lot of thinking…
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Leaving Academia, Part ?

book review, post-academic
(I am giving myself permission to share parts of the emotional and economic and professional journey from full-time tenured professor to staff person to contingent faculty person to self-employed person here.) One of my biggest worries when I left academia was that I would be losing access to one of my favourite things in the whole world: reading good books and talking about them with smart people. I knew of such things as book clubs, of course, but I had never been a part of one AND I assumed that there was a good reason for that. Who wants a literature prof in their book club? It would be inviting the killjoy into the room.   As it turns out, I was wrong. In one of those instances where you…
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Cue the Outrage

education, job market, post-academic
In my small corner of the social media universe, a huge storm erupted last week over the University of Illinois, Chicago’s posting of an open position for a Language Program Director. The posting indicated that it was a 67% job, meaning no more than 27 hours of work per week, with a salary of $28,000/year and “prorated benefits,” which most of us took to mean 67% of standard staff benefits at UIC. This first showed up in a friend’s FaceBook feed, garnering lots of angry faces and too many swear words (a lot of them mine) to repeat here. Then Rebecca Schuman sunk her teeth into it (which you can, and should, read here:, followed, a day later, by Dean Dad, who presented a slightly more charitable account of…
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A Fresh Perspective

coaching, post-academic
Any job can be, or become, draining. Aggressive or needy colleagues; a repeating cycle of the same courses, same lessons, same student errors; and allowing yourself to get roped into service commitments that drain your energy and produce few results can all lead to burnout, frustration, and thoughts of a simple 9-5 job with less Angst. The policies (or lack thereof) put forward by university administrations can also contribute to burnout and frustration. When management systems and universal guidelines impinge on how you schedule assignments, advise students, order textbooks, assess students, and myriad other things, your sense of autonomy and purpose feels under attack. For those with stable jobs, this frustration can then be compounded by survivor’s guilt and the knowledge that they should not be “crying on the yacht.”…
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Whose Voice is in Your Head

coaching, Little Hater, post-academic
What was your vision of your life after graduate school? An enviable concoction of interesting seminar classes, writing, and participating in shaping the university and/or the discipline as a professor in your field? That image of the tenure-track position, leading to a secure and tenured future, is a powerful one. It endures in the face of abundant information indicating that, in most fields, it is this very job that is the “alternative” career for PhD holders. Many PhD holders in the humanities and social sciences end up in jobs that do not require a PhD, and many others take research or policy positions where their PhD is an asset but are also not in the academy. We all know of the huge pool of adjunct, sessional, and contract faculty members…
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Volunteering & Career Development

post-academic, volunteering
Are you are searching for a way to add interest and diversity to your week? Or perhaps considering a new career? Volunteering can offer you insights into a new way of working or a new line of work. Volunteering expands your skill set One of my volunteer gigs for a professional association required that I attain basic functionality with the web development platform Drupal. I’m no expert but being able to perform basic functions in Drupal means that I can update websites and speak a certain kind of language to developers. Basic familiarity with a development platform or programming language also indicates that you can probably advance your skills through some basic self study--an attractive attribute in both volunteers and new employees. Working for an organization outside of your institution…
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