It is funny how quickly your journey can change. When started thinking about earning a doctorate I had envisioned myself teaching. Three years later, I am still not teaching. Higher education was entering a bubble-era before I graduated. Colleges begin to restructure to meet the changing demands of funding and budget cuts in Washington. Full time teaching positions faded fast. So, what now?
As you may know, Dr. Patti and I decided on an alt-ac (alternative academic career) life after earning our doctorates. These careers include jobs outside of academia (research or administrative positions in the public or private sectors). For example, academic affairs (advising, admissions, recruitment), student affairs (career services, international services), research and developments (grant writing, fund-raising) and business affairs (president’s office, community affairs) fall into this group. But what if you want something else? What if you want to find creative scholarly projects? How do you find that career path?
If you’ve earned a doctoral degree, you know how to survive. You learned how to live with uncertainty and overcome your fears. What’s next? What’s your next career move? Work in academia? Be an independent researcher? Start a business? Explore a series of new directions? Or maybe you’re thinking about life as an alt-ac.
Last week, I read a blog about loss and the end of a dream. It was written by an academic who was struggling to re-invent himself. He was a talented physicist who described his 14-year journey from undergraduate to PhD to postdoc research. But suddenly the journey ended. He would not reach his dream of becoming a tenured physics professor. He was a failure.