So, you’re thinking about leaving academia? Join the club. Perhaps you have decided to leave because your mental and physical well-being are suffering. Maybe you can’t make headway on your final project, or want to focus more time on your family. It could be that you’ve realized the isolation, constant pressure to succeed, and poor work-life balance of academia are making you stressed out and miserable. Your funding has been cut, or you can’t find a job. The research that once got you excited about academe is now leaving you cold, or you’ve been offered an opportunity that has taken your life in a different direction.
Whatever prompted your decision to consider leaving—Congratulations! Despite what academics are commonly told, a career in academia is not the only choice for intelligent, ambitious, introspective people who enjoy teaching, writing, doing research, and thinking! You should be proud of yourself for exploring other personal and professional goals outside “the ivory tower.” Whether or not you do end up leaving, these resources can help you explore your feelings and learn about life outside the academy.
Making the decision to leave academia is the first step in what will most likely be a complicated process of extricating yourself from the academic community, as many of us have to re-evaluate career options, personal relationships, financial livelihood, and sense of identity. However, many, many people before you have successfully made this transition. You can, too.
This section of the site is designed to help you decide whether or not leaving is right for you. As academics, we are trained to make decisions through careful research and analysis. The same applies to your making an informed choice to leave academia. Here you can find resources to help you make your decision, including: personal stories of quitting, statistics on the job market in various disciplines, advice on how to set a timeline for leaving, suggestions on how to notify your department, tips to explain your decision to people outside of academia, and information on how to deal with quitting backlash.
We hope you will find useful the information in this section, as you decide to make your transition out of academia.