Saturday, December 29, 2012

Link Roundup: Real World vs. Ivory Tower

Day out in Oxford 5 April 2009Stuart Bryant via Compfight

These links from around the web compare and contrast work life in the "real world" versus preferences and practices in academic life. For a lot of post-acs, the "real world" seems confusing and strange and very different from what we've become accustomed to in academia.

Unemployed PhD for Hire writes about the differences in work life after one year in a regular office gig. S/he writes:
That's probably the second take home message this past year has taught me - it's ok being outside the ivory tower. Sure, my job is a little boring and the general office vibe could be better, but that's particular to the role and the company. There are also lots of positives, but I can't go into that without spilling too many beans about what I do. Anyway, I can always change jobs if it gets to be too much.

Katie DePalma, a former Classicist turned book editor, offers a list of "how tos" for post-ac jobseekers in this guest post @WoPro. Part of starting a job hunt (and figuring out your life) after leaving academia is letting go of misguided notions and narrow-minded conceptions of careers and priorities. DePalma writes:
Your education and teaching experience will take up about half a page of your résumé. What are you going to say about yourself to fill up the other half?... What can you actually do? Your years in the academy have prepped you for an Other job in a million different ways. You can read anything, write anything, teach anything, and research anything. You’re familiar with a wide variety of languages and computer programs and style manuals. You can coordinate and organize a project as massive as a thesis/dissertation. You can deal with the full spectrum of dysfunctional personalities. This stuff is part of the job of being an academic. But don’t assume that the person reading your résumé knows any of this if you don’t tell them explicitly. Tell them everything you can do and tell them exactly how awesome you are at it.

Amanda @WoPro offers her own compare-contrast after a year of post-ac life. She as a series of real world versus academia posts, but this offers a sample (hint: the real world usually wins). She says
I won’t lie to you, transitions are hard. There have been many points in the last year when I’ve been freaking out about money, which sucked - after grad school, I swore I’d never do that again, but it’s really just unavoidable when you simultaneously change locations and careers. On the flip side, I’m choosing the place I live, the people I work with, etc. I don’t regret it for a moment, and I’m definitely, qualitatively happier than I ever was in academia. Which is all that matters, really.

Here's a taste of small talk in the real world, versus the kinds of conversations we usually have as academics (you know, brandy snifters and Derrida). Caroline @Postacademic writes:
So all-in-all, I’m not sure where that one-upping trash-talking wannabe Marxist academic I was in grad school went, but it sure isn’t to a kid’s Halloween party or the neighborhood playground.

And (Post)GradLand muses about "The Suit Life" in this post after she finishes her PhD and goes to work for a content writing company in Tokyo:
There’s also, I realize, a grieving period in a situation like this. I grieve the classes I may never design and teach, the seminar discussions I won’t have, the groups of like-minded people that I won’t interact with as much, the book I won’t publish, the great epiphanies I won’t have. In short, I grieve the death of my own personal “life of the mind” dream. But as I pointed out before, I just don’t think that dream was a viable one to begin with. And many of the things I miss I can and will still get, in different ways.

Be sure to check our other articles about careers!

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