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I interred at my dream job for three years as an undergrad, and all of my colleagues had Masters unfortunately for me, it is not a stable career at this time. I even asked my former colleagues what I should do, and they all said PhD now and that I would be crazy for not jumping on this chance while I am still young. I like the research that I am doing, but I am not passionate about it.

But the question remains, do I have the courage to quit what is seemingly the perfect opportunity?


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It makes sense to teach practical aspects of industry in addition to theory. I am expected to follow the phD path at 28…. I am not psychologically and emotionally prepared to commit to scientific theory for the next years.. If a phD can get me a senior management job in industry, great…but that only works for a few.. I have decided to follow my heart and mind instead of being coerced into academia..

I am headed for a 4th year im my masters!!! Thank you for your post. I am in the second semester of my first year and I am throwing in the towel after this.. I think the overall culture and climate of PhD is hard to deal with. There are so many things wrong with graduate school to the point where I feel like i am getting scammed. No thank you. The pressure is unending and soul numbing and I have never dealt with so much for so little return. April…you are wise…wiser than most…. I have a job offer from a non-academic research organization and two offers for a fly-out for a tenured-track faculty position at two fairly good universities.

This decision has been keeping me up for nights on an end. This is a dilemma that nobody can advise on.

Mad about the Duke (Bachelor Chronicles #7)

Except to try and play hardball and negotiate an extension with the non-academic place so that you can at least fly out to visit the university jobs. And also, you can tell the universities that you have a time constraint. I guess my advice is, try some negotiating before you just become a victim of timing. I have also learned that for the most part, getting an education has been an incredible waste of time…. So everyone goes to school like a good little boy or girl, gets into mountains of debt, which the financial institutions love you for, and you obey the norms of society by buying your house, your fancy car, and pay your payments on time as an obedient slave should.

In reading many of the letters on this discussion forum, I have been struck by the magnitude of disappointment many academics are facing in their lives. It is disheartening to hear individuals who once were and probably still are passionate about promoting a culture of teaching and learning crushed to the point of dismay from untold stress. To those of you feeling crushed, I hope you rediscover your passions as there are many other ways to contribute to and improve the world we live in.

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For those of you determined to seek out or stay in the academic world, it is a tough one for sure, but it is NOT as Karen mentions in several places an impossible one if you set realistic expectations and goals for yourself. In the end, whether you choose never to enter, to leave or even to stay in academe, I think it is important to remember that being a professor tenured or otherwise is a job.

Nothing more and nothing less. Good luck to all! Karen — Thank you so much for this website. I relate to what so many are saying on this post. I am in the first year of my TT job, and it is sucking the life out of me. I know I have to make a change, and I will eventually. In the meantime, I find great solace in the words on your site. Many graduate programs accept students merely because they need students. If professors of French literature, for example, had no graduate students, then they could not teach their discipline.

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The student is there because of merits, but he or she is also there so that the class can exist. There is an economic reality that is usually not talked about, it always lurks in the background and is just accepted because that is somehow part of the overall sacrifice. My specialty is all languages and writing systems, especially hieroglyphic ones not very lucrative right now, by the way , combining linguistics, anthropology, religion, history.

I found after talking with a bunch of profs and grad students, then reading a ton about how college is done overseas and in the past, that post-GI Bill America-USA-Canada is NOT the place to be a professor. However, any of you could get a degree here and have a vastly different experience in the 3rd world : China, Latin America, etc. The West has had a recent philosophy shift and has become soullessly materialistic, and secondary education has gone from being a rewarding atmosphere to being an unlivable nightmare.

Please, thank me later, and find a job and a place in the world where people treat you well, you at least sort-of like what you do for a living, and have all the time you want to contribute to the search for truth. Believe it or not, America is the nightmare that American media portrays China as.


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But because the government controls education, we rarely travel abroad in any non-superficial way, and thus do not discover reality. China is a lot better, but no paradise : people are left alone by the government, but minorities are still killed by the millions for their religion and people die daily as a result of a lack of safety and quality-control. Health care is the best here, but it can be better, good, or good enough elsewhere.

Even if you died a bit earlier elsewhere, it would be worth it in terms of improved quality of life : less stress, more dignity, friendlier people. Thanks for this, Karen.

Your website has been a great resource for me as I have mulled over the possibility of leaving academia in the past few months. I finally decided to make the switch when I found out that the last TT position I applied for had over applicants.

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Over ! My decision was solidified by reading the current outlook for funding in the USA. Thankfully, I have cultivated other skills during and since my PhD, including writing and editing, which I truly enjoy. I am questioning whether I want to continue pursuing a job in academia. There are many things that I love about the job: I love doing research and I enjoy teaching most days.

But after my second round of unsuccessful job searching, I am not sure how much longer I want to keep trying. But where do I look for a job outside of academia? Any places to get help or start looking? I am a struggling mom in academia who has a very young kid living with my partner in another state. This is my fifth year in the faculty position, so I am supposed to go for tenure in a few months. However, I have been wondering to quit the job recently and move with my family being a full-time mom. Am I crazy? Bless you. These posts and article make me feel less ashamed of my situation.

Academia is not at all what I thought it would be.

I am only in my first year and have seen bully behaviors by profs and backstabbing amongst my cohort — so much for a shared love of learning! At every turn I am discouraged by my committee about tenure possibilities. I have officially fallen out of love with higher education.

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My biggest dilemma is a feeling of guilt. I feel like I am letting my down my family, friends and committee. Does the guilt go away? Dear Prof. Karen, I have visited this page repeatedly for the last 10 months. Retrospectively I was such a good student during my undergraduate years, so dedicated to learning, so curious about many, many topics. Why was I losing it?