Transition Q & A: Emily Simmons

My latest post is a Q & A with an English PhD who worked as an adjunct and visiting assistant professor in Canada before getting married, moving to Australia, and finding meaningful, fascinating, and fun employment at an alternative education provider. Here’s how Emily’s post begins:

What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD?

A few days after my defence I started to search for communications and writing jobs. I was still emotionally drained. I remember becoming immediately overwhelmed realizing that other people had been professionalizing themselves into this field for years. I had to go for a walk to clear my head, and then I promptly abandoned the idea. I didn’t realize it then, but academia was like a bad relationship, and that was my first attempt to break-up.

Now go read the rest of this wonderful, honest, and thoughtful contribution over at University Affairs.

Transition Q & A: Daniel Munro

Daniel Munro is a political science PhD who’s now a principal research associate at the Conference Board of Canada, the country’s largest independent not-for-profit think tank. Read his wonderful Q & A on my University Affairs blog. Here’s a taste:

What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD?

I wanted to be an academic — but not only an academic. As early as my undergraduate days, I had my eyes on career paths that would involve participating in public debate and policy-making. I thought that academia might provide a good platform from which to do those things — and my graduate education was essential to developing my most valuable skills — but I learned about and prepared for other options along the way.

Beyond the Professoriate conference

In my lastest post I write about an upcoming virtual conference I’m co-hosting with Maren Wood from Lilli Research Group. We’re excited to let you know that the schedule/program is out, and you can find all the details on this webpage.

We’ve got 23 PhDs lined up to speak about their career journeys and provide helpful advice. Although I share transition stories on this blog in the special Q & A posts, the conference is an opportunity for attendees to ask doctorates in non-faculty jobs questions about their journeys. We hope Beyond the Professoriate fills a need: connecting current students and PhDs curious about their employment options to people they tend not to come across in graduate school.

Read the rest of this post over at University Affairs.

A career sponsor can help your post-academic prospects

My latest for University Affairs is a blog post titled, “How a career sponsor can help your job search.” This one was prompted by reading a book by Sylvia Ann Hewlett. Here’s how the post begins:

A couple days ago I picked up a “Business Self-Help” book (so says the back cover) that my dad recommended to me. He suggested (Forget a Mentor) Find a Sponsor because it explains why women and people of colour should seek out sponsors in addition to mentors. Doing so, research shows, will significantly increase their chances of career success.

Check out the rest here. Don’t miss this post: there’s a “hidden PhD” surprise!


Changing the post-PhD success story

In this week’s post I wonder how to change the dominant narrative of career success after a PhD. I share anecdotes and reflect on my own experiences and judgments. Let me know what you think! This is such an important issue, and I’d love to hear what solutions you think might work, or how the situation is or was different for you.

Read “Changing the dominant narrative of success after the PhD” at University Affairs.

Priorites, values, strengths

Hi friends! I’ve been feeling a wee bit stressed lately, but I’m trying to let it go and get on with my life. Here’s my pep talk to myself. Maybe it can help you refocus your energies, too.

There’s nothing I can do about what people think about me and my colleagues. Nothing. What I can control — the only thing any one of us can control — is how we act in the world. There is no point in me worrying about anything else. The best thing I can do is refocus on my values, and get clear about my priorities, and go forward using my strengths.

For the rest of this post, check out “Your own priorities, values, and strengths matter most of all” on my University Affairs blog. And let me know what you think. Or if you have a similar pep talk to give yourself!

Professional development

This week’s post over at University Affairs is all about professional development. Here’s the first paragraph:

On Monday I finish a coaching class. This will be the second professional development course I’ve done since getting my PhD in 2012. Back then, I’d never thought I’d see another classroom ever again! And, it’s true, I haven’t: My coaching courses are all over the phone! But still; you understand.

Read the rest of “Why you should continue your professional development.” And then let me know what you think!

Transition Q & A: Maureen McCarthy

I love these posts! Here’s another great Q & A, this time with Maureen McCarthy, a recent English PhD who parlayed her skills and interests into a good “alternative-academic” job in a city she wanted to be in. Here’s a bit of the interview:

What kind of tasks do you do on a daily and weekly basis?

One of the positive aspects of my job is that it changes every day. I write a lot, in many different genres: communications with CGS members, articles for our newsletter, grant applications, panel proposals, policies. Right now I am researching for a white paper, so my everyday tasks are similar to my dissertating days — compiling an annotated bibliography and adding sources to Zotero — but I also have meetings to attend, calls with current and potential members to complete, and other assorted tasks associated with building our new advancement program.

Read the full post over at University Affairs. Tweet Maureen @maureentmcc.

Be vulnerable, be brave

Today’s post is a reflection on the academy, what comes after, and taking control of one’s life. I’d love to know what you think! Here’s the first bit:

Earlier this week I spoke on the phone with Ysette Guevara, a fellow PhD and post-academic who runs her own business helping young people transition to adulthood. Our business values line up well, and so do our stories of career transition after our doctorates. You know how much I love meeting new people (aka networking), and this conversation was both fun and inspiring.

I asked Ysette about her biggest learning from her years since earning a PhD. “Be vulnerable,” she told me, citing Brene Brown. “Have no shame. Be fearless about sharing ideas.”

To read the rest of the post, head over to my University Affairs blog!