Thursday, November 29, 2012

Some Miscellaneous Ramblings...

Hi all! Long time no talk!!

So apparently I'm posting a little less frequently these days ... a pattern I'll chalk up to my growing determination to focus on my offline life. Rather than spending my days holing up in front of a computer when I get home from my computer-oriented job (which was reminding me a little too much of my days in academia), I've been trying to get out and do things more often ... or to just spend timeoffline when I'm at home.

So for the past few weeks I've been holiday shopping, and meeting friends for dinner, and reading fun books, and started volunteering for a local charity. All stuff that is helping me move fully away from the mindset that I'm still kinda-sorta an academic, and into the mindset of being a regular person who has a regular job and does regular things with her spare time ... rather than just coming home and going back on the computer all night long. So far, so good!

Now, don't worry ... I won't shut down the blog or stop writing. As I've mentioned before ... it turns out that, to my surprise, I like blogging! And I'm still interested in reading and thinking about academic structure and culture and about the changing academic job market.

So don't worry - I'm not going anywhere for awhile, dear readers. Posts may be a little less frequent, but I'll still be around.


In "me" life, things are just fine. Work is okay, family is good, life is pretty alright. Partner and I went out of town for a weekend and had a relaxing Thanksgiving, and I'm looking forward to Christmas.

And things here in Grad U City are good. An old grad student friend of mine was in town last weekend, so I had drinks with him and several of his (current grad student) friends. I was a little apprehensive about showing up as a grad school dropout ... but to my surprise, a few of the people started spontaneously talking about how nice it would be to have a regular job with actual free time for once. I kept my mouth shut about my own thoughts, but I admit ... I felt pretty good.

Friday, November 9, 2012

On Feelings, "Success," and Postacademic Life

I wrote this piece a while back and never posted it. Since I'm in the middle of a pretty big case of writers' block right now, I thought I'd throw it out here for everyone to read. I think it's a little scattered (which is why I hadn't posted it yet), but in the absence of having anything else to post right now ... here you go! :)


I wanted to follow up on a few posts about postacademic life that have popped up in our little corner of the blogosphere in recent days.

As you know, I've been writing a lot lately about how my postacademic life is pretty great ... that I have plenty of free time, and I don't work in a giant corporate office with mind-numbing responsibilities and awful coworkers. And that's all true! I like my life now, and my job is alright, and I'm generally a lot happier than I was when I was in academia.

But the posts that others have written this week - particularly at Lauren's and Currer's places - have caused me to feel compelled to throw up a little caution flag on my blog. Not to walk back my positivity about my postacademic life, mind you - I really AM happy as a postacademic! But after reading these posts at Lauren and Currer's places, I feel like I need to take a minute to make it clear that every single second isn't all sunshine and rainbows for me either.

I'm still dealing with a little bit of (post)academic guilt, and a little bit of doubt about the decisions I've made since leaving. Even for someone like me who's landed in a pretty good place, becoming a postacademic is not easy. You can get to a good place mentally and occupationally after you leave, but it won't happen overnight and you will have a few ups and downs along the way.

And even after you do make that clean, complete break from academia and are feeling good about your life? You can still have occasional setbacks. The dream job that you took might turn out to kind of suck (like Currer's). You might miss some aspects of academic work (like some of the Type 2 leavers). Or, like me, you could wind up generally happy ... but still experience moments of worry and self-doubt every now and then.

But it doesn't mean you're doing it "wrong" - it just means you're going through a big life change and things might get a little messy. So let's talk for a minute about how that looks ... for me, anyway.