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Justin Caouette

Great post, Marcus! I hope to one day struggle through the process myself :)

I wonder, though, if the transition will be as tough as you say for someone who worked 40-50 hours a week (of demanding work) while getting their undergrad degree. Lots of people work long hours while going to college, many also work decent hours while in grad school to feed their families and go on trips, etc. So, while I think many would share your view that transitioning from grad school (where you only taught 1-2 classes and your pub production was low or non-existant) to a TT is no easy task, I wonder if non-traditional folks (folks who worked long hours while in grad school and did stayed active, etc.) have the same (or similar) transitional experience? Given that they would seem to be working less hours (or the same) in some cases I can't imagine the transition being TERRIBLE given that they'd be doing what they loved and working similar hours.

I bring up these points not to dismiss anything you have said but to maybe hear from folks who may have worked full time jobs while attending school. Has this weakened the anxiety and difficulty with the transition? I'm hoping 'yes' as someone who had a couple of different careers before settling on philosophy a few years later than most. But, this might just be wishful thinking. On the bright side, if one decides to leave academia I wonder how that transition would go in the opposite direction, to begin a new field or return to an older one after 6-10 years of grad school. If I don't make it in the academy I'll be sure to weigh in on that in a guest post, only if you'd make an exception to your policies on who can contribute when that day arises given that I won't be an "early career philosopher" ;)

Marcus Arvan

Hi Justin: Thanks for your comment, and glad you enjoyed the post.

It may well be that someone who worked 40-50 hours a week while in school will have an easier time with the transition. I too would be curious to hear from readers who have that kind of background whether that indeed is the case!

That being said, very few PhD students do anything like that while in grad school (most PhD programs have policies prohibiting students from working outside the program)--and so, I would expect, even if one had experience juggling undergrad studies with full-time work, by the time one has finished the PhD that may be a distant memory.

In any case, the point of the post wasn't that everyone will experience the same "exponential jump", but rather that the transition tends be far more difficult than PhD students expect!

Anonymous professor

Hi Marcus: I have just, as you know, started a faculty position. If I get tenure in 2 years time (it's in The Netherlands, so the rules are a bit different) I would like to look back and write about my experiences. In any case, it's a big step from postdoc to full-time faculty member.

Here's some advice I give myself and will try to stick to. When you are a faculty member, the temptation is to be super-time efficient what with all the expectations for teaching and research you mention. Yet, a lot of good research (at least, in my experience) can be kindled by small, unexpected things. A novel one reads, or something unrelated to one's research. So it's important not to lose that while deadlines are looming and expectations waiting to be met.


thanks so much for this, marcus!

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