Additional resources about academic careers. Whether you’re looking for sites, books, articles, or information about careers or the job market, you’ll find it here.
When you’re in the process of researching a potential employer, one of the key things you need to look for is their level of support for professional development.
As an academic, you are really into learning. You will need to keep learning throughout your career to stay engaged. You need a career that will challenge and grow with you. And so you need to get to the bottom of how the organization or team handles professional development.
I’m always glad to hear about a win when it comes to career planning and training for grad students. Here is a big one. Johns Hopkins has announced a $1.5 M investment in PhD professional development initiatives. Woohoo! This goes a long way towards acknowledging the importance of alt-ac careers.
Hopkins will start collecting & tracking more data about where their students end up working. This will help facilitate networking connections, and more importantly, help students see the enormous range of possibilities ahead where there were “none” before. That’s huge! Imagine if your department were transparent about where its students landed, and you could see that not only are most of these people not failures in any sense of the word, but are actually thriving at a wide range of careers, and doing great work!
If you have already decided that you need to do something drastically different in your career…but telling yourself
- or that that you shouldn’t take that feeling seriously,
then this book: Mike Lewis: When To Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want is for you.
Even though I don’t work directly in teaching or with students anymore, and my husband has left adjuncting for greener alt-ac pastures, I don’t think I’ll ever stop thinking of my life in terms of semesters. So as this fall semester comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my time in grad school at Northern Arizona University. I was pursuing a Ph.D. in history there until 2006, when I made a deliberate decision to leave academia behind.
Actually, that’s not exactly true. Even while I was in the Ph.D. program, I had already made a decision not to pursue academia. I wanted to go into either academic publishing or museums – something *other* than academia. I was all about the alt-ac before that was even a thing!
Here’s a great book to help introverts (continue to) rock the workplace. It’s called Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference by Jennifer Kahnweiler.
In the beginning, Kahnweiler identifies 5 skills that introverts rock: thoughtful use of social media, writing, preparation, engaged listening, and focused conversations. Then there’s a quiz to help you assess where your strengths lie among those categories. And the quiz is actually helpful. I like the way it helped me listen to where I am already an expert and which skills I could work on a bit.
And for the rest of this short read, you’ll get practical tips on how to hone each skill, as well as rein it in. For instance, we know that introverts need to build in quiet time into their workday (YES! Can you say it again for the executives in the back and anyone who suggests open offices?!) but she also warns what becoming a workplace loner can do. Throughout she gives some practical tips on how to put each skill into practice, even in cubicle land.
It’s Monday, so I’m guessing you’re as braindead as I am. But when you’re job hunting or career planning, you still need to be working on your career, even when you don’t feel like it. So it’s a good day to take on something easy, like brainstorming. Brainstorming is a good way to make use of your time on days when you’re feeling sluggish or caffeine-dependent. Like, say, Mondays.
How Brainstorming Can Benefit Your Career
Career brainstorming can help you no matter what career stage you’re in. When you’re looking for your first job or considering a career change, brainstorming can uncover new job families to explore. And when you’re in a career but feeling stuck at your current level, it can help you find professional development options you might need to consider in order to advance. Or when you’ve found a job you’d like to apply for, it can help you figure out how to identify and describe your transferable skills on your resume.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorite career brainstorming tools.