Saturday, March 29, 2014

Want to Contribute a Story to HTLA?

Hi everyone!

We at HTLA are planning to do a major expansion of our site in the upcoming weeks and months. Now that the e-book is finally published (and we've had a chance to lay back and enjoy Actually Having Accomplished That Big Thing We'd Been Working On For a Year, yayyy!), we are ready to get back to updating and expanding the content available on our site.

Along those lines, one thing that we want to do is to create a section in which postacademics can tell their "leaving stories" and have them published on our site for others to read.

We aren't going to solicit these from specific people, and we aren't looking for a particular type of story or for stories from people with particular types of jobs. If you're just a normal, everyday postacademic who left and found ... something? If you're doing academic advising or managing an office or directing a think tank or working at a diner or temp agency or running a side business? Then we want to hear from you. All of you.

Don't sugarcoat your story if you don't want to. If your journey has been great, then tell us that! But if you've struggled, or have been desperate, or if it's been hard? Don't be afraid to tell us that either. We want more postac stories to get out there, and aren't picky about what those stories are.

We are happy to keep stories anonymous if you want us to. See the announcement below.


We want to expand our site and include more personal stories of #postac life that focus on how people found work and what it’s like to work in different kinds of #postac or #altac places. Also interested in your “just for now” job experiences.

Keep it personal and not preachy, pretty much anything welcome. Brief is fine; no dissertation required.

It’s fine if you need to remain anonymous.

We are happy to link to your website, business, or twitter account.

We do not pay. This is gratis, because our site is peer-to-peer. (Maybe someday when we start raking in the big bucks we can offer compensation; for now, our income from the book (which is our only source of HTLA income and - given that the book is bargain priced - isn't much, covers basic site maintenance.)

Message us on Twitter:
@mamanervosa (Lauren)
@leavingacademia (JC)
@projectreinvention2012 (Kathleen)

Or just use good old fashioned email:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What You Can Do With "Any" Postac Job

The other day, I happened to notice a twitter conversation going on between several postacs and near-postacs, in which one of them seemed to be lamenting the fact that if their efforts at networking and job hunting didn't pay off shortly, they would have to take "any" job after leaving academia.

The implication there - not necessarily coming from that person, but in general - seemed to be that taking "any" job would be a letdown for a postacademic - a signal that you'd failed, or would no longer be doing postacademia "right" or something like that. Right? Because if that wasn't the case - if there weren't good or bad postacademic jobs, as I've argued - then "any" job wouldn't be second-best, right? "Any" job would be what you were going for!

So of course, I jumped right into that conversation, arguing that there was nothing wrong with taking a "just for now" job, and that a person who took a job like that should still have plenty of free time to work on furthering their career (or whatever else they want to do).

After jumping into that conversation (and sending out some random tweets later that night), I thought that this might be a good week to write about what my first job after leaving academia (three years ago!) has meant for my financial stability and plans going forward.

(This post is also a partial response to some criticism that we've received on the privilege piece at HTLA, in which some commenters (one at Versatile PhD in particular) have suggested that we are doing postacs a "disservice" by pointing out that some of them are in dire straits and might need to find a temporary, just-for-now type of job to pay the bills while they work on their future careers. I'm not sure if I understand why such advice is a "disservice" - because it's bad to point out that some people are struggling? Because everyone should follow a certain postacademic path, and deviating from it - even out of desperation - is a bad idea? I don't know...but I know I disagree.)

In brief: taking a random job to pay your bills does not mean that you will stay in that job forever, or that you've given up on your chance of having a different or better career. And to bring it to a meta level: recommending that a struggling new postac go work at a temp agency or to wait tables to pay their bills does NOT mean that we are telling them to stop thinking about their career dreams, or to stop trying to be an entrepreneur, or to stop working on skill translation or networking or anything else.

Monday, March 3, 2014

"The Post-Academic Privilege Divide"

Hello, everyone!

Piggybacking on my recent post about what constitutes a "good" postacademic job - as well as the related posts from Kathleen and Lauren - the three of us have put our heads together to write a post at How to Leave Academia that we are pretty proud of.

If you have a few minutes, head on over and let us know what you think.

More soon!