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Fellow Traveler

I think a good point, made implicitly in this post, is that the transition process out of academia is going to take 2-3+ years. An exception is if you get lucky (on cronyism) and have a friend who offers you a skilled job with a livable salary (and who is obviously willing to let you learn on the job for awhile). If you expect to read a few articles on converting your cv into a resume, apply to a few (even entry-level) jobs, and land one within 3-6 months, you will probably be disappointed. Along with networking, you'll spend those 2-3+ years learning where you might really fit in the non-academic economy and how to pitch yourself to those people hiring. The networking takes so long because it's not just about coffee chats, but doing some work. A new friend gives you a small non-paying job; several months later another person you met through that job calls up with something slightly bigger; that person is impressed with your work, and so gives you something bigger, etc; eventually one day a few years down the line you find you have a real job.

I emphasize all this because after I finished my PhD, I envisioned a clean break from academia. But the process takes too long and you don't want to go years without working, even if you can afford it. It looks bad and potential employers and networking friends aren't normally interested in meeting someone with nothing going on. So I think working part time in academics while letting some new career trajectory develop organically over a few years is definitely the expectation most should have.

Matt Drabek

Thanks, Fellow Traveler! I think the point about the gradual step-up in the employment market is an important one. I did a bit of that, but probably not as much as most people will need to do.

Fellow Traveler

Of course, Matt. I really enjoyed the post.

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