Sunday, December 16, 2012

One year later...

Hola amigos! (I am not being sexist - the group term in Spanish is masculine...)

I can't believe it's been a year of this post-academic life.

It's been a rollercoaster that's for sure.

This time last year I was worried about the future and how I was going to make the cross over into the wide-world beyond the ivory tower. This year I have been far too busy working to worry about what next.

One of the big take-home messages for me would be: people outside of academe change jobs ALL THE TIME. Noone really sticks in the one role where they become increasingly specialised. Most employers recognise that changing jobs is perfectly normal. In the non-academic world, it's even considered "showing initiative".

You can even change jobs in the same organisation pretty easily. No-one really cares if you go from one department to another. As long as the selection process was done fairly and you maintain good will towards your former colleagues then it's all ok.

Also, no-one really cares if you decide you've had enough. It's not personal. Unless you're being bullied or something and are forced out, for the most part people do a job for as long as they can take it/find it interesting/it suits their lifestyles and then they move on. The colleagues left behind are usually excited to hear their plans, are full of good wishes and send then off with some cake at minium if not a boozy night out too.

Even at the managerial level, you don't have to have worked your way up from an entry level - you might have done all sorts of things until applying for those higher level roles. Most of the time, experience external to an organisation is considered a good thing.

Now compare all of the above to what you know about academic life. Totally different right? Where would you rather be? I know the answer to that myself.

That's probably the second take home message this past year has taught me - it's ok being outside the ivory tower. Sure, my job is a little boring and the general office vibe could be better, but that's particular to the role and the company. There are also lots of positives, but I can't go into that without spilling too many beans about what I do. Anyway, I can always change jobs if it gets to be too much.

So overall? I am ok. I don't love what I do and I miss being an academic (the freedom! the challenges! I loved it all) but I can pay my bills and have a life. Next year I need to decide how to get more challenge in my work days (and yes, I have plenty of extra curricular activities, and no, I can't do non-work things at work - that would be grossly inappropriate) otherwise I will go crazy with boredom, but for now - BRING ON THE HOLIDAYS!


  1. This is great to read. I have had big changes in my life this year since I finished my PhD. I can't say I don't like my half-time academic job, but I know I am not going to be one of those people who can justify my existence in the vicious scramble for diminishing research grant money, so it is very much a temporary thing. After a year, I am in a good place, finally, so much so that I can instantly say "no" to applying for an academic job back in the country I come from without any soul-searching. I'm ready in the coming year to start reconstituting myself and start looking elsewhere for full time work. Pity I can't become Australian though, all the best jobs where I live are reserved for Aussies only and the kiwis have to go scrounging around for the scraps on the side.

  2. More job opportunities are present after a PhD in Australia. Top companies come to the campus to placed the students as a part of their organization.

  3. How are you doing nowadays? I've love to know how it all turned out!

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