Why is it that any time I run into anyone I know from Grad U, they always wind up acting like they know better than me what will make me happy?
Half the time, I tell people about my (exciting, positive) decision to leave academe ... and they wind up telling me that I should try the market one more time! That teaching at a small college will be far different than at Grad U ... that liberal arts students are "different" ... that it's just the faculty and colleagues and students in our department that are obnoxious and apathetic and that elsewhere will be better. It will! I should just give it one more shot next year! I'll get a job for sure.
It doesn't matter if I'll get "a job" next year. What I realized is that I don't want "any" academic job. That's not going to change if I stay on the market another year.
And the rest of the time, I wind up speaking with someone who is supportive of my decision to leave academe and may even express some ambivalence about it themselves. But as soon as they ask what types of jobs I am considering and I tell them that I'm looking at both Ph.D. and MA-level jobs, their heads start spinning. "Oh, but you have to finish your dissertation. You have to. Just hurry up and finish. You'll regret it SO MUCH if you don't. And don't look for a job below Ph.D. level. You have to make sure you get a job that's worth it."
How the hell do these people know what is "worth it" to me?? How do they know how I'd feel if I landed a fun job with reasonable hours in a geographic area where I'd love to live that pays me well ... but where having a Ph.D. doesn't matter?
Let me tell you how I'd feel about a job like that ... pretty damn thrilled.
The idea that these people know exactly what I "should" do, despite barely knowing me and never having held any kind of job outside academia? It's really starting to drive me nuts.