Saturday, June 23, 2012

If you're lucky, your talent will shine throughout your new job too.

I know a lot of former academics would probably have worked this out too. That is, that all those skills and talents you learnt being a graduate student/adjunct are going to help you out in your new career. And I am not talking about your brilliant ability to produce a complex piece of original scholarship. I mean your ability to get stuff done, play well with others and take the initative when it comes to making your job your own.

Now I am not saying that everyone's first foray into the non-academic working world is going to be brilliant, but if you work for an organisation and a team that takes their work seriously and does more than pay lip service to professional development, you will find yourself working on some interesting projects. In some cases, whether you like it or not.

That is, if you are a former academic who has taken the option of working a relatively low-key job in order to live your own life outside of work, then be careful about how well you do your job. Your boss might work out that you're cruising and find more things for you to do. This may turn out to be a massive pain in the a**e if that's not what you signed on for. But if you want to take your career seriously, then you are in luck and you just never know where the future will take you.

I guess the moral to the story is that you never know what lies around the corner. Getting off the academic treadmill will leave you in a position to embrace the winds of change and find your own path in life. The question is: how ready are you to take on that change? Are you going to pine for the rigour and structure and comfort of academia? Or are you going to throw caution to the wind and learn to trust your instincts and take a chance on your ability to thrive without the safety net of the academic calender or the opinions of colleagues, anonymous referees, advisers and students?

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