Scribbling.

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

The PhD’s Crisis: On Finishing, Sunk Costs, and Leaving

In Professional Development on May 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Years before I finished my PhD in English Literature, I made the decision that I would not pursue a career in academia. In the past several months, many academic friends and colleagues have approached me to ask for advice about switching careers post-PhD. The idea being that, as a writer with a PhD, that I’ve been able to get some work, is somehow a siren call for them. Why? Because the academic job market is appallingly bad – doubtless worse than the freelance writing market is or will ever be. The prospect of a decade-long job search prior to achieving some stability is, unsurprisingly, a bit of a turn-off.

I usually tell them that in order to find success either inside or outside academia, they’ll need to make a commitment to one side or the other, and make that commitment now.

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