I’m in it, and this week I am panicked. I feel a strong pull toward the academic market, even though I continue to dislike the idea of becoming a professor. But for an academic job search, I know what to do because it is the only job search they talk about in graduate school. We have model “teaching philosophy” documents, and model “letters of interest”. The department is very invested in helping us assemble the perfect dossiers to make us shiny, attractive candidates.
For the non-academic job market, I have nothing: no support or feedback, no adviser, no idea of what makes a good dossier. They want “skills” and “accomplishments”, not “Grants” and “Sample Syllabus”. An application asked two “long answer” questions (500 words). My writing samples are 10,000 words. How can you answer a question in 500 words? There is no room for a lit review!
This week, academia was attractive to me. It felt like the safe way to go. I want to resist the inertia, but feel like I’m walking into one of those ugly, foggy, dark forests in movies where we all know the main character is about to get in trouble.
To end on a positive note, I would like to recommend “So what are you going to do with that?”, a book by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius. This book has great and very practical advice about leaving academe. It helped me stop wallowing in my “I hate academia” sorrows and start taking action about my future and my professional happiness.