Ack, I can’t believe it’s been 5 days since we updated. We would NEVER have let this happen in, say, February! But it has a busy week in Nervosaland.
First, I should announce that I got the job! In two weeks, I”ll start work as an academic advisor. This is obviously wonderful news. I will work with first year students advising on all matters academic and otherwise; my coworkers are exceptionally cool and caring people; the pay is competitive; and it’s 35 hours a week (for now), so it won’t be a huge change in our family time.
Overall, I am really excited. In my bones, I’m so relieved that we won’t have to struggle financially: we can meet our obligations, and with my additional income, we should be able to start paying off debt, take care of things around the house, and generally unclench. As soon as I accepted the offer, we went out and took care of several things that have languished due to my un/underemployment. Things like car repairs, replacing a broken watch, and omg. I get to buy new bras. I have one bra, y’all. And it’s the wrong size.
Advising is surrious bizness.
And yet, I have also had the (inevitable, I guess) mixed feelings that come when a big change is about to happen. Continue reading
Posted in Grad School Quittas
Tagged academia, alt-ac, career, debt, editing, ex-academics, freelancing, grad school, higher education, money, PhD, post-academic, Quitting
First, the skinny on my job interview Wednesday: it went very well! The committee seemed to like me (I liked them!), there was lots of nodding and scribbling as they worked through 14 questions, and I had good answers for all of the questions. My screwups were minimal and not deal-breaking, IMO. It’s hard to say, obviously, what that means: last year, I had a fantastic interview at a community college that yielded no job. Overall, I think it’s an excellent fit, I have the experience and approach they’re seeking, and I have the right connections. Now it’s just a matter of my competition. They’re interviewing 13 candidates for 2 openings and hope to be able to tell me something in about 3 weeks. Ah, the academic timetable: glacial. Anyway: it’s a job (“students service-y administrative position” is all I feel comfortable sharing right now) that I very much hope I get, and I believe I put my best foot forward.
I guess I’m officially on the “alt-ac” track. Have you heard of “alt-ac” (or #alt-ac as they tweetly insist)? You probably have: as usual, I’m late to the party. I missed the rise of this movement, a group of Humanities scholars who work outside the tenure track in “alternative” academic careers. I guess it made quite a splash at the MLA convention in January. I spent some time looking over the clusters and articles on the main alt-ac site, and have some thoughts about it as a post-academic myself.
First, I’ll say that any conversation about work outside the tenure track is healthy, especially for those of us foolish enough to go into the Humanities. Having lots of “out” alternative academics discussing how they got their jobs is a good thing. And there are some practical resources available now that are invaluable to all of us striking out on this journey. So, I’m glad alt-ac exists, even though I mostly think it’s not that innovative and probably destined to be a footnote in academic history, much like the brief flourishing of Doctor of Arts programs. Like the DA, alt-ac has its heart in the right place and a lot of great ideas. It’s essentially a community based on hope, which is lovely.
But I think it reenacts far too many of the same old fantasies that led us like sheep to the slaughter of Humanities grad school in the first place. Continue reading
ETA: I wrote this post before I was hired as an academic advisor for undergraduates. Now that I work in an advising capacity, I see how the language here is problematic for someone whose role is not to tell people what to do with their lives, but help them understand their many options. As an advisor, I would never tell a student “Do not go to graduate school,” but encourage them to learn as much as possible about the many options for a satisfying post-graduate experience, including and beyond grad school. However, if a friend or internet reader contacts me with this question, I feel free to be more direct and discouraging based on my personal experience. The entry below reflects my personal advice when people outside the realm of my work ask for my personal perspective on grad school. –lauren
Every day, someone finds our blog by googling about quitting grad school. This is awesome: welcome. I hope our writing has been helpful to you. I also thought it might be wise to have a landing strip for folks googling ”Should I go to grad school?”
My personal answer is: No. Don’t go to grad school. At least, don’t get a PhD (see below wrt valuable Master’s degrees). If you want a “yes” or a “maybe,” talk to someone else. I think more people, especially professors, should actively discourage people from grad school. Even the smart students. That’s what I want to do with this post. I wish someone had said this to me, given me pause, made me reconsider. There were a lot of yeasayers when it came to grad school. I want to be a naysayer.
Don’t go to grad school.
Posted in Grad School Quittas, The Alt-Ac Life
Tagged bitterness, career, debt, Doctor of Philosophy, Education, Graduate school, higher education, Master of Arts (postgraduate), Master's degree, money, PhD, student loans, teaching, travel