Well the time has come for me to leave academia, give up the ghost as it were. I worked my tail off, published lots, worked with smart, influential advisors, successfully taught and mentored students, but a job just did not materialize this year, even after several tries on the market. I am so thoroughly disappointed, with the process, my choices, the lost time, a lost research program, having to start completely over in a completely new industry, the decidedly less creative work culture I'll find myself in, all of it. This is just a shout out to hear what others in the same situation are doing, feeling, etc.
Date: 07 Mar 2012 21:00
Number of posts: 18
RSS: New posts
I'm sorry things didn't work out for you this year, but I hope you reconsider leaving academia if you love the research and teaching so much. I know many people that have had to stay in postdoc positions for 5, 6, even 7 years before finally landing a faculty position because the market has been so horrible (and is still not great). But those people did eventually find jobs and are very happy with their careers now. There are many people who will be very happy and successful in non-academic jobs, but if being an academic is what you have a passion for then I hope you stick with it! There are still non-TT, VAP, and postdoc positions out there!
Maybe try talking to some of your advisors or colleagues about your experiences this year, they might be able to help you figure out if there's anything that you can do to increase your odds of success next year (like modifications to your cover letter or research statement that might make you stand out more, or suggestions for improving your job talk). Best of luck whatever you decide to do!
If you think you're disappointed now, just wait until you enter "the real world." I don't know what you're area is, but unless it is clinical or human factors, you'll probably find it more difficult to secure a job.
I am going to completely disagree with the two above. Get out while you can - while you are feeling resolved and ready to face a new career, and are not stuck in a dead-end faculty position. Yes, some people are happy in academia, but many are also completely miserable - underpaid, overworked, and unappreciated. In industry, you might find yourself doing the same sort of work for a lot more money. Good luck!
Do both - ask your current advisor if you can keep your title as a "Visiting Researcher" for the 2012/2013 job market cycle and do research part-time in the lab (aka writing from home, go to an occasional lab meeting, etc). Simultaneously, try getting a job in industry full-time and see if you like it/hate it more than academia. This will give you one more year to try and get an academic job while trying out industry. I had a friend do this and was glad she did because it kept both options open (keep in mind it is definitely a lot of work!).
anona makes a good point - since you still seem to really like academia and are disappointed at the thought of leaving it, then maybe try to keep your options open by remaining involved with your current lab and continuing to do research and/or teaching. If you find a job in industry that you love then you can leave academia behind for good, but at least you would have the option to apply for faculty positions again next year.
anona I think that is a great suggestion too, if not only for the illusion that I'm still in the mix somehow. thanks.
You sound very disappointed and disillusioned - perhaps not in the best mindset to be making long term career decisions. You mentioned having worked with multiple influential advisors…have you talked with them about your disappointment and future career options? If not, I recommend contacting them immediately. They will probably be able to provide you with a more realistic assessment of your trajectory than anyone on this board (particularly given how little we know about you).
It's a brutal market…but that doesn't mean persistence won't pay off. Sounds like you need a good calibrated estimate of what it will take to get you where you want to go. Be open to honest constructive criticism and honest advice, whatever it may be.
get the book "so what are you going to do with that?"… a very explicit "how to" for people with PhDs wanting to leave academia…. it will make you feel WAY better. we are all brainwashed to think leaving academia is like dropping out of high school and that you are a BIG TIME FAILURE if you do. at the very least, get the perspective of people who have left (and are probably not on this wiki!). once you have more facts, you may find that you would actually prefer to get out (even if you had the choice to stay in) :)