Today is my last first day of teaching--in the university, at least. Both my funding and my dissertation will wrap up this year, and next September will see me goodness-knows-where. Not in front of a university classroom, though. You see, I've decided to go on the alt-ac/non-ac track. To hang out my shingle as something other than an adjunct or a seeker of a tenure-track job. The professoriate and I are parting ways.
What I didn't know then was quite how quickly that parting of ways would happen. My thought was that I'd keep my eye out for suitable positions in the spring, once my classes were winding down, and that I'd start my new life as a "real person" (as the lingo goes in my graduate program for people who move out of the academy) in the summer or fall. It would be gradual. I'd have lots of time to wrap my head around the fact that things were changing, and I'd finish one thing before I started another. But life happens, and when a friend (who you really should read) posted a job that sounded positively dreamy--research focused, helping grad students, in my city--I decided to give it a shot. Couldn't hurt, I thought. Good practice at turning the ol' CV into a resume and talking about myself to other people, I thought. I'll never get it, I thought.
I start on Monday.
So, there you have it. You were going to get, among other things, my thoughts on transitioning out of academia, or into non-professoriate parts of academia, from the perspective of a late-stage graduate student--one who was gradually entering the job market and trying to figure out where she, with an English PhD, could fit. Instead, you're going to get posts on transitioning into the alt-academy (for I'm remaining at the university, my university, just in a different--but in many ways not so different--role) from someone who has just effected that shift. I'll be writing as someone who is learning a new job, who is figuring how to be a "real person" and a PhD student (because I'm staying that too). Oh, and who has between now and Monday make that transition make sense in her head. Hang on for the ride!
And for those of you who might be considering a hop onto the alt-ac/non-ac track, here are some resources to get you started, or to add to those you've already got:
- So What Are You Going to Do With That?
- The Versatile PhD
- From PhD to Life
- Beyond Academe
- The TransDoc Project
- Career Sense