Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Few Random Things...

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice a few posts back about the interview offer I got from an office in Dream City.

After thinking about everyone's advice and talking to my partner, I called and let them know that I'd "signed a contract" to stay on at my current job for a few months, to supervise our software transition and generally keep the office stable until the end of the year. I had to leave a voicemail for the hiring manager so I have no idea of how it went over, but hopefully they will understand and won't immediately pitch my resume if I do find myself applying for a job in their office later on.

In the end, (1) I didn't want that job right now, but at the same time, (2) I got an interview off of just the second resume I sent out in Current Industry ... so that tells me that if I do default to looking for work in Current Industry in the future, I will probably be able to find something.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This "Humor" Scares Me...

A grad student acquaintance posted this to Facebook this morning. The ensuing comments all noted how hilarious it was, and how "totally true!"

I admit that I laughed at a few of them (I am startled when I meet people who don't like to read, and I have brought work to a bar a few times).

But, really? Most of it is kind of terrifying, IMHO. Look at how many of the reasons involve the normalization of working constantly. Look how many of them involve the idea that it's totally normal to never take breaks/vacations, and of how feeling guilty if you do is "an inherent feature of relaxation." Look at the one about popping ibuprofen like they're vitamins.

So you're working constantly to the point where you work twenty hours a day and are racked with guilt if you take a break to do laundry, and you've having head and body aches ...... but it's not a sign that you need to slow down and relax and get some balance in your life? Instead, it's a joking sign that "you might be a grad student?"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Oh, Come On...

So ... this week, things at my work got very, very, very, very busy. Like, we've taken on a number of new projects and are about to go through a massive training session and a months-long transition into a new computer system and an entire overhaul of how we do things. I got appointed to be one of the "point people" overseeing this transition, since I've worked here for awhile and since I have a background in teaching and have thus always been particularly good at training my colleagues and answering questions.

My boss is going out of town for a few days, but before he left, he said that if I was willing to stay on for a bit longer (just to see us through this transition, which should be over by the fall or perhaps very early winter), he would be willing to "pay me a lot more."

Basically, I'm working here for now anyway and would probably be here through at least the first part of the transition. But if I'd agree to sign a contract for 6-8 months saying that I wouldn't leave until it was up, I could get a big raise. And would then be free to leave once the transition is done in the fall or winter, as long as I gave a few weeks' notice (which I would definitely do, just out of respect).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More New Postacademic Blogs!

My traffic stats have alerted me to two three (sheesh! They're popping up like wildfire!) new postacademic blogs that folks may want to check out and/or bookmark.

Again, can I say how excited I am to see so many people writing about these issues? Because I am. Perhaps if enough of us from different fields and different stages in our career and with different outlooks on academia start talking about the realities of life in academia and the fundamental problems with higher education, we can help other people understand that they're not alone if they want (or think they might need to) pursue an alternate career path. And perhaps, like the 100 Reasons blog, some people who are considering grad school will read what we have to say and avoid making the same mistakes that we made.

Links to the new blogs and my own brief thoughts after the jump...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Career Counseling Update - and You're Not Alone (#10)

So, I had my career counseling appointment at Grad U this week. I have a couple of other half-written posts in the pipeline, but first I thought I'd do a quick post recapping that visit, since I seem to be in one of my Writer's Block Periods this week. I blame the beautiful weather.

Overall, I was happy that I went to see the counselor. I wrote last week about how I've been dealing with some job-hunting inertia in the last few months, and I'm hopeful that this meeting will help me break out of that funk a little bit.

Part of what was hanging me up was the fact that it's difficult to voluntarily apply for new jobs when you (1) like your current job and (2) have absolutely no idea of where you want to go in the long term, career-wise. Part of me understood that I really needed to spend some time figuring out what career I wanted to aim for in the long term before I would really be excited to apply for jobs ... but part of me was chastising myself for not applying for jobs 24/7.

It's that damn academic mind again - popping in to tell me that every moment spent researching careers was a wasted moment that I could have used to apply for jobs. It's time to get moving!! Work work work!!! Any free time is time you should spend getting things done!!

But all of the mental chastising from my crazy academic brain wasn't making me apply any faster. Deep down, I knew that I had to give myself some time to research careers, but I needed an outside voice to tell me that I wasn't a slacker if I spent a little bit of time doing that. And thankfully, the career counselor agreed with me. She pointed out that since I wasn't desperate to find *any* job (since I have one now), it made little sense to be applying left and right with no idea of where I'm going in the long run. Even if I know that my "next job" will likely be related to what I'm doing now, it makes sense to try to decide what "forever job" I'm working toward in the long run. In other words, it's not irresponsible to think and do research rather than just forging ahead on some poorly-thought-out career path. After all, that's what got me in trouble in grad school!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

On Job-Hunting Inertia

So, in late January and early February I wrote about how I'd been applying for a few jobs and had had a phone interview. I never got a call back after that interview, so it looks like they hired someone else ... which is actually okay with me, since the interview went well but I wasn't overly excited about the job. It would've been nice to have been considered further, of course, but I'm not upset that I wasn't.

Since then, however, I haven't accomplished much on the job-applying front. I've sent out maybe one or two resumes in the past 4-6 weeks. Mostly, I've just been working and hanging out with my partner and friends and dog. It's true that I was pretty sick for about a week and also had to make an unexpected trip out of town for a funeral, so some of my inaction has been justified. But more generally, I just haven't been doing much of anything on the "trying to get a new job" front.

It's a little embarrassing to admit, but as I've written before, I want this blog to chronicle both the ups and downs of leaving academia. I've talked endlessly about the good stuff I've experienced since leaving. Now it's time to write about one thing that's been tough for me - actually getting off my rear end and sending out resumes at a rate that might get me a job sometime in the next year.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How My Life is Better Since I Left - Part 4

I had planned to post all four parts of this series in about 4 or 5 days ... but unfortunately, real life intervened. This past weekend, I was back in my hometown to attend a funeral for someone who died suddenly and way too young. It was a rough and hectic couple of days, but I was glad that I was able to be there for the funeral to show my support for my friend's family and to mourn with everyone else.

I'm back home and back at work now, and oddly enough, have a renewed sense that what I am doing - the decision to leave academia that I made last year and what I've done since then - is exactly what I should be doing. Life is way, way, way too short to spend it doing something that leaves you miserable and stressed and unhappy, even if on paper it looks like you're doing a great job or living in a great area.

I'm not in my dream career job yet and I'm not doing a job that my degrees would suggest that I "should be doing," but dammit ... I'm happy and fulfilled right now. If I died tomorrow, I would not for a second regret the last year of my life.

A job - or a relationship or city or anything else - is only as great and wonderful as it makes you feel. If it makes you feel like crap, it's not for you. And it's okay to make yourself happy, because as I saw all too clearly this week, life is way too motherf*cking short to be miserable.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How My Life is Better Since I Left - Part 3

Apologies for the quickly vanishing post yesterday. It felt great to vent and get some affirmation that the commentary directed at me was stupidly clueless and rude ... but after thinking on it a little bit more, I didn't want to leave it up just in case anyone might stumble across this blog and recognize that I was talking about them.

I'm anonymous here, obviously, but I'm not really all that concerned about whether anyone would start reading over here from my grad program and figure out who I was. I'm not embarrassed about what I've written here or my decision to leave.

However, I'd hate for anyone who I still consider to be a friend to come over here and recognizing that I am calling them out, specifically, in one of my posts. Eek. So I pulled down the previous post, just in case. We'll just summarize it for those who didn't see it by saying that even once you leave academia, other academic types that you know may take a long-ass time to really understand that you are leaving, and even longer to believe that you really are content with that decision.


Anyway ... here are the next 5 reasons in my list of why I'm glad I left academia one year and one week ago...