Thursday, December 27, 2012

Seeking Contributors for our E-Book!

Hey all!

I am currently out of state visiting my family for the holidays, so haven't had much time to sit down and write anything. Hopefully all of you who celebrate Christmas (as well as those who don't) have had a lovely holiday season and are finding some time to step away from work and the daily grind and to just relax for a little while...

Anyway, before I get back to the holiday/family festivities, I wanted to post the CFP for our "leaving academia" e-book. Our goal with this book is to create a collection of stories, reflections, and anecdotes about leaving academia and becoming a post-academic, so that others can gain some inspiration and maybe some perspective on how easy or not-easy the transition has been for others.

Now, you may be thinking that if you left and aren't working your Dream Job and/or if you don't have your Ultimate Dream Life, you shouldn't contribute. Nonsense! All of us out here have been open about how the leaving process has had its ups and downs and of how we might not be exactly where we hope to be in the future. And yet, we are all fairly happy and are all going to contribute stories. You don't have to be the Perfect Postacademic in order to contribute. (And in fact, what would that Perfect Postacademic look like, anyway? Only in academia do we expect that there's one life and one career path that would make everyone blissfully happy...)

So see the CFP below (shamelessly copied-and-pasted from Currer's place), and if you have any questions shoot us an email or leave a comment!


Seeking Contributors for Our Leaving Academia EBook!

We Want You!/////////

To contribute to our leaving academia ebook! 

If you've always wanted to share your story of academia; written a post-academic/alt-blog; or benefited from the blog posts you've found here, or mama nervosa, or Project Reinvention, or Ruminations: Life After Academia (and countless other post-ac sites), we want you to join the conversation! 

We are accepting abstract submissions for our ebook through February 1, 2013 (details below). I will be re-posting this CFP periodically as a friendly reminder. Please don't hesitate to email Currer with any questions or 

Oh! And PLEASE feel free to re-post this CFP to your own blog/site! Many thanks in advance!

Moving On: Personal Stories of Leaving Academia (tentatively titled)

Have you left academia? Or are you currently in the process of leaving? Share your story!

As post-academic bloggers, we know firsthand that there is a desire for stories that explore more than just the career aspects of leaving the ivory tower. People want to know how, when, and why you quit; emotional issues related to quitting; and examples of post-academic success. We envision this book as a source of advice and support for readers who have quit graduate school before getting their Ph.D., people leaving academia even after they have finished their degrees, and people who are adjuncting or working in academia who are looking to leave. Many stories of the post-academic transition have been told on personal blogs and websites, including our blogs and web site (forthcoming), but this is the first collection has been organized to speak directly to people’s experiences leaving academia.

We’re looking for thoughtful, personal pieces (non-fiction or creative non-fiction) that tell a story or develop a theme related to the process of quitting academia. Like any good paper, the essay should have a core thesis or concept that you’re exploring through your writing. We prefer submissions that are relatively jargon-free and more casual in writing style. Your essay can be any length, with a general goal of 5-10 pages double spaced (but we’ll consider shorter or longer!). If you have poetry, art, or other (digitized) creative work that explores these themes, we’d be interested in that, too. This collection will focus primarily on what happened after you quit; thus, we are not interested in treatises about the failures of grad school or the problems in higher education. You’re welcome to explore the reasons and circumstances under which you left, but please continue the narrative forward from there. You can be as anonymous as you like, although please include enough detail that the reader can be drawn into your story. We invite you to explore the messiness, difficulty, and contradictions in the quitting process. 

Not every story has a happy ending, and that’s OK. We encourage submissions on any of these topics, as well as proposals for essays that explore any gaps between them:

  • How, when, and why you left academia: hopes/expectations versus realities in grad school, specific incidents/anecdotes, the job market, what you wish you’d known.
  • Career Transitions: Teaching stories, writing stories, stories of how you discovered a new vocation/path.
  • Alt-Ac Careers, Adjuncting -- Life on campus when you’re not a prof or student, changes in relationships with “the academy.”
  • Success Stories: how quitting changed your life for the better, how happy you are, how glad you are to be gone.
  • Failure stories: screwing up, falling down, awful jobs, bad experiences, floundering, despair. 
  • If you want to share a simpler or more straightforward story of your post-academic journey, please consider submitting to the website (email Lauren or Currer at the addresses below and specify that your submission is for the website).   

  • Timeline:
    250 word abstracts due: Feb 1st
    Goal of getting back to accepted folks mid-February
    Final essays due: April 1st
    Goal of publication by graduation in May 2013! :)

    Email submissions with “E-Book Submission” in the subject line to Lauren at or Currer at  by Feb 1 2013.


    1. I could see myself taking part in this.

      As it happens, I just wrote 2 posts (more possibly on the way) wherein I'm juxtaposing my experiences in and upon leaving cognitive science grad school with the experiences of a former professional baseball player who wrote about his personal struggles as he attempted to "make it". Very analogous situations, grad school and the minor leagues.

      My experience was surely not unique, though perhaps more dire than most. It ended in a maximally-serious suicide attempt. I've rebounded since and now am fortunate to be doing GREAT outside of academics, but my world fell apart.

      My posts on this topic are here:
      (Part 2 can be accessed at the end of this post)


    2. Happy 2013! Thanks for this wonderful blog, JC!

    3. Welp. It appears that I've moved beyond simply doing a single post. The Grad School Gospels has become a series. Have a looksee -


      1. Hey Ron!

        I checked out your blog the other night and really like what you wrote - I think you should definitely contribute a piece to the e-book. Write up an abstract and email it to us!

        (I'm still on vacation for a couple more days, but once I'm back to blogging I'll link my readers to your posts re: grad school. I think they'd like to hear what you have to say!

    4. Hi JC,

      Yeah, I can do that.

      If you wanted to give me some feedback on the posts I've put up, that could be helpful. e.g., Are one, a few or all of them desirable as stand-alone chapters? Alternatively, perhaps it'd be good to combine the main themes addressed across the posts into one chapter.


      1. Sure thing! I'll be back home tomorrow so I'll sit down in the next few days and reread your stuff. Happy New Year!

    5. stumbled upon your blog while googling 'leaving academia' to try to gain some inspiration/advice. would love to be involved in your e-book. what if you haven't actually left academia yet but are still in that awkward 'coming out of the closet' to friends/colleagues about it not being the life for you phase? any space for that?!? Good luck with the blog, I'm really enjoying it!

      1. I'd say that if you're in the "coming out" stage, you definitely qualify as someone who would have a story to tell in the e-book. If you're really interested, put together an abstract of what story you'd like to tell about your leaving process and send it to Lauren and Currer. We're definitely still accepting submissions, and would be interested in what you'd have to say!

        Better hurry, though ... the Feb. 1st deadline is sneaking up on us!