Thursday, September 10, 2015

Article on Quitting Academia

Hey everyone,

As I said in one of my more recent updates, I'm basically absent from the whole postacademic/alt-academic world these days, mostly by choice. I see an article about academic politics or the job market or whatever, and I'm like ..... meh, do I really want to get more depressed today? Nah, I don't think so.

But I promised a few months back to bring you links to anything that I read on academic or postacademia that I find to be particularly good. And I think this piece at Vox definitely applies.

There are about a million parts of this piece that I want to highlight and would love to discuss - if I didn't have a pesky day job that I have to attend to right now - but in particular, this passage spoke to me, and I believe it will be useful for readers of this blog:
The concept [of alt-academia]  is good enough in theory, but in practice it's just another way of phrasing the problem: There's not enough room in academia. Go find a job in a different field.
Some blame scholars themselves for the problem — claiming that today's PhD holders aren't as capable or as qualified as generations past. But after sitting on hiring committees and reading hundreds of CVs and writing samples, I refuse to blame the earnest applicants whose sole crime was being told scholarship was a worthwhile pursuit and believing it. If anything, market pressures have resulted in the production of some of the finest scholarship in generations, with even many adjuncts having a handful of great publications under their belts. The problem is that the system is more than happy to take their money and use their services from undergrad all the way to their doctoral graduation, but when it comes time to pay it off with a real job? Sorry — best look somewhere "alternative."
 There's a lot of good stuff in this piece about student engagement, tenure, how the promise of grad school and academia relates to the reality, and quite a few other things.

Read it, enjoy, and feel less alone!


Side note: For those who regularly look(ed) at our website How to Leave Academia, we are aware that the site is having massive problems and is currently unavailable when you try to navigate to it. We've been trying to figure out what's wrong - though, of course, our attempts to fix the problem are hampered by the fact that even WE cannot access the site to even poke around behind the scenes to see what's happening.

And, you know, all of us have day jobs and real life to attend to, so trying to get the site back up and running definitely has fallen fairly low on our priority lists in recent months.

But we are aware of the problem, we are trying to see if we can figure out what's happening, and hopefully we can figure it out one of these days! In the meantime, you can always find us and reach us via our personal blogs.


  1. The2YearLifeofTheMindSeptember 15, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    "proving that the autonomy I had imagined upon entering academia really was an illusion"
    "I realized not even students were too invested"

    So many good quotes from this article that all speak TRUTH. Academia is changing rapidly and not keeping up with the information economy.

    Since leaving my 2 year college "tenure track" job in 2013, I did two stints in the business world and went back to high school teaching. I'm now getting a masters in special education through a state recognized program at a completely self paced university online. I specifically didn't want to go to a land based college because I don't have time for professor or institutional BS and I want control over the knowledge I acquire. Most important of all, I have a specific goal of a certification and I don't want bureaucracy standing in my way. There are plenty of smart people who work in K-12 teaching and none of them have any time during the day to rant about useless ideas because we've all go work to do. K-12 teaching has its issues and it too is going through some changes. However, I'm thrilled to be back on a steady schedule with steady expectations. Being back in this normal life has made my life so much better!

  2. I also recently left my studies. After which I decided to start an advise blog regarding the process I am going through and the questions I am finding answers to. We need more blogs like these. Good job.

  3. Wow both of the videos that you have shared in your post are very good and interesting. The videos look amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this post. Keep posting and keep growing.

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