Transition Q & A: Kelly J. Baker

Meet Kelly, a religion PhD and scholar who’s been an adjunct and now is building up a career as a freelance writer. Here’s a bit of her story:

Now, I’m building my career as a freelance writer while also wrangling a wise beyond her years five-year old and a laid back one-year old. I’m trying to shift my writing from part-time to full-time work, which is a slow process with a bit of a learning curve. Yet, I learn more about the business of writing every day. Writing is a business, and I hope more academics start to realize this too. Writing should be paid for, not given away for free.

For the full post, head over to University Affairs.

Learning is my priority

It’s difficult to divide one’s attentions, especially among several significant projects. In my latest post for University Affairs I relate how my focus must be on my coach training, and update you on my progress. Here’s how the post begins:

Earlier this month I completed the coaching supervision course. It started in the spring, and consisted of biweekly 90-minute classes and six 1-on-1 sessions with the supervising coach. The individual sessions involved listening to one of my own coaching calls, followed by me receiving feedback on my coaching, with an eye toward passing the Professional Certified Coach exam and receiving this credential from the International Coach Federation.

Read the rest here.

Making a big change? Start small, be kind to yourself

Today’s post on University Affairs is a reflection on the nature of change and how we can best set ourselves up for success.

When it comes to making changes in your life, start small. It’s all well and good to decide to exercise regularly, take up a vegan diet, or write for two hours every day. But if doing so means a significant departure from your current routine, you’re unlikely to succeed unless you take things one step at a time.

Go read the rest here!

Dealing with inner critics

One of the most important jobs I have as a coach is to recognize, point out, and help my clients deal with their inner critics.

Noticing and coming up with a strategy to deal with inner critics is an important part of coaching. We all have these “gremlins” messing with our lives. They are there to protect us, but we rarely need this protection. We are all much stronger than our inner critics think we are. Here’s how inner critic work played out during one recent coaching session.

Head over to University Affairs to read the rest of this post!

Don’t shy away from informational interviews

I’ve just come from a virtual event hosted by Versatile PhD Boston all about informational interviews and networking. Fun! Anyways, earlier today I wrote this piece about informational interviews, and it’s now posted on my University Affairs blog. You’ll see that I make a distinction between informational interviews and networking proper. Here’s a chunk from the middle:

Conducting these interviews provide career explorers with wonderful, first-hand, up-to-date information about the world of work. When you ask someone for an informational interview, chances are that person knows what to expect: that you will ask questions about his or her professional life. The benefit you as the interviewer provides is being a curious, active listener. In my experience, professionals value the chance to give advice to someone outside their field or who are just starting their career, as well as reflect upon what they do. Your interviewees will likely expect you to be unsure of where you’re going, work-wise, which makes these meetings less stressful. Don’t let uncertainty keep you from reaching out.

Read the full post here!

Transition Q & A: Andrew Miller

This summer I met Andrew Miller and talked to him about his transition from history PhD and sessional instructor (read: adjunct) to public servant and soon-to-be Strategic Leader for the City of Mississauga, Canada’s sixth most populous municipality (thank you, Wikipedia). He’s thrilled about his move and proud of the work he’s done over the past 8 years with the Ontario government. Andrew knows that PhDs have what it takes to succeed in the non-academic world, and gives some great tips in this Q & A post.

Here’s a bit of what he wrote:

What was your first post-PhD job?

If we exclude the sessional work, my first post-PhD job was working as a junior policy analyst for the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure. It might be worth explaining how I got that job: following my epiphany that this was a line of work I wanted to get into, I consulted with an old friend from undergrad days who was a civil servant. He in turn set me up with an informational interview with another civil servant who also held a PhD. He introduced me to what the life would be like. At his suggestion, I applied for an entry-level job that was advertised in the newspaper. It took two interviews and a lengthy test, but I got the position.

Read the full Q & A over at University Affairs!

Transition Q & A: Bruce Harpham

I’m pleased to show you my latest Q & A, this one with a fellow U of T alum who’s now a banking industry professional. Bruce earned his BA from the University of Toronto then went on to do an MA at Western University and an information studies degree back at U of T. He eventually landed at the Bank of Montreal. He is now a senior financial analyst. Check out his Q & A!

What did you want to do after earning your library degree?

I was interested in finding a role where I could do research and publishing such as a librarian role at a university. To that end, I had a job interview at the University of Saskatchewan in 2009. In the end I did not receive an offer, and that worked out for the best. I love living in Toronto and I have no plans to move at this point.

Be sure to read to the end. Bruce gives a few great, practical suggestions for graduate students and recent grads, things that you can start doing right now.

Coaching graduate students

Today’s blog post over at my University Affairs blog includes my thoughts on key themes when working with graduate students.

Here’s the first (of six) points I make:

1. Taking control. Graduate students often don’t feel in control of their lives. Part of my work as a coach is to help clients take and feel they are in charge by making changes to habits, mindset, and embracing who they really are. This isn’t something that comes from me, but follows from the client taking steps in the right direction.

Read the full post here. Let me know what you think!

Transition Q & A: Christine Slocum

Christine Slocum, a sociology MA who left a PhD program after two years, is the latest Q & A participant. She writes about how she transitioned into her current job. Here’s how her post begins:

You left your PhD program before finishing. Why?

​I left because, in retrospect, I was burned out. It was beginning to feel like I was in some weird life purgatory where the PhD was an obstacle to complete before I lived the rest of my life. I realized that was silly. After some soul searching, I remembered that the reason I was pursuing sociology in the first place was to better understand the mechanisms of social stratification because I wanted to better understand how to undo it. ​Four years of graduate study (two for my MA at the University at Buffalo, two towards a PhD at the University of Washington) and I felt like I had enough that the next five years would be better spent working for an NGO, nonprofit, or government position getting practical experience in the field.

Read the rest over at my University Affairs blog!

Feeling rooted in the midst of uncertainty

My latest for University Affairs is a personal reflection on where I am now and where I’m headed, finding certainty in the midst of much uncertainty. Here’s how it begins:

I’m in the midst of packing up my apartment in anticipation of a move on Monday. “In the midst” is how I often feel these days in terms of my business building. I’m learning and gathering and thinking. It feels like I’m preparing for something, but I haven’t quite figured out what it is.

For the rest, head over to my UA blog.