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.

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.

Transition Q & A: Maren Wood

My post-academic friend and colleague Maren Wood—who also happened to be in my MA history class at Carleton University way back when—is the latest contributor to the Q & A series! After years of being an “alternative academic” and an adjunct, she started her own business.

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

I had always imagined I’d be a professor. It never occurred to me that I would do anything other than teach history. But, I graduated in 2009, one of the worst years to enter the academic job market. After three years applying for tenure track jobs and post-docs, I decided to end my quest for academic employment and find other ways to contribute to society.

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

Transition Q & A: Joseph Fruscione

Earlier this week my Q & A with English PhD Joe Fruscione was posted to my University Affairs blog! He’s making the transition to post-academic employment, dropping full-time adjuncting in favour of a freelance career as a writer, editor, tutor, and teacher:

Now, I’m at peace with my decision to leave after this year: I’m set up to do some editing and writing-consultation work, for which I’ll draw on the skills and knowledge I’ve gained in the last 16 years in higher ed as a student and teacher-scholar. I’ve always been a great editor and proofreader, and I’m happy that I’ll employ these skills regularly in the near future.

For lots more from Joe, check out the original post!

Transition Q & A: Peter Larson

I’ve been remiss lately, not composing anything of my own for the blog… but I’m getting back on track and will let you know what I’ve been up to soon. The short version is: vacation! And continued coaching, learning, and fun.

In the meantime, I’m excited to share with you this wonderful Q & A contribution from Peter Larson, a former tenured professor who’s now a full-time blogger and running coach. Cool! Here’s a snippet:

What was the hardest part about giving up tenure?

The hardest part for me was that I didn’t hate my academic job, but there were parts of it that I didn’t enjoy. If I’d been miserable, the decision would have been a lot easier!

I love teaching. Working with students in the classroom and lab is what kept me going each day. While I published enough for tenure and promotion, I didn’t particularly enjoy writing scholarly journal articles — popular writing is more my style. I hated committee work. I despised being a department chair even though I had an exceptionally good department filled with colleagues who got along really well with one another. Dealing with academic and administrative politics drove me crazy. I think the latter combined with enduring several arduous years of curriculum change planning as a faculty senator did me in. I just wanted to teach my classes, but even there I saw it likely that I’d be teaching the same class every fall for the next 25 years if I stayed. I needed a change.

For the rest, head over to my University Affairs blog.

Transition Q & A: Sonja Streuber

Yesterday my Q & A with Sonja Streuber was posted on my University Affairs blog. Here’s an excerpt:

You left your graduate program ABD, without earning a PhD. Why?

Multiple reasons:

. . . 2. Personal experience. I had colleagues who had already graduated with their PhDs, who were financing their job searches with anything, from adjuncting to playing organ in a movie theater. One of my friends got a visiting assistant prof job at Puget Sound — when it wasn’t extended, she walked into the woods with a shotgun and returned feet first. I actively pulled another one off the window ledge in the office building.

Oh my! Now go read the whole thing.

Transition Q & A: Jared Wesley

Today’s post comes via “pracademic” Jared Wesley, a political science PhD, former tenure-track professor, and current director-level provincial public servant. Here’s a taste:

What was your first post-PhD job?

In this environment, I was extremely fortunate to earn a tenure-track position as an assistant professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba. At the time, I considered it my “dream job”; having grown up in Manitoba, I relished the opportunity to give something back to my home community. I was even luckier to have been given that opportunity while still ABD, even though it meant launching my teaching and research program while finishing my dissertation and living in a different province from my partner. Eventually, though, things came together. My partner joined me in Winnipeg, and we got married. I finished my PhD, and transformed my dissertation into my first monograph . . . . Life was great, but it was about to get even better.

For the whole Q & A, head over to my From PhD to Life blog on the University Affairs website.

Transition Q & A: Maria Irchenhauser

The newest Q & A is up over at my University Affairs blog site. It’s a good one, with German studies PhD Maria Irchenhauser. Here’s an excerpt:

What most surprises you about your job?

What most surprises me is how much I have learned about business administration “on the job” in the past 18 months — from day-to-day tasks related to sales, marketing, and account management to all the planning and processes involved in the launch of a new project. While I have no formal business-related qualifications, my academic training provided me with project management skills that are very much applicable in the private sector.

Read the full post here.