Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Leaving Academia

This is a repost from someone else's blog.  The original can be found here: http://naturalscientist.blogspot.com/2012/05/leaving-academia.html

Now, without further ado...

Leaving Academia

After reading Dr. Dad's post about industry, I was reminded of the whole agonizing will-I-be-an-academic struggle.  Just like so many other bitter and disillusioned grad students who have been hit in the face with the Big Wet Dead Reality Fish.  I'm sure I wrote about it at great length.  However, at a distance of several years' worth of graduatin', industry-workin', and baby-wranglin', here's my summary:

The Five Stages Of Academic Disillusionment

  1. Relentless Optimism.  I will get an academic, tenure-track job when I graduate!  I am smart enough, I am good enough, and everyone will love me!  I'll be such a good teacher!
  2. Great Expectations. Everyone else who didn't get an academic job just wasn't working hard enough!  I  will graduate in four years because I'm better than all of them. (Note: People who are not jerks tend to skip this stage in favor of clinical depression.)
  3. Reality Fish. Damn, I finally read the NSF statistics.  I'm never going to get an academic job.  I'm never going to graduate.  I'm not sure I'm ever leaving this damn lab.  Shoot me now.  Also, what the fuck does doing research have to do with a SLAC teaching job?  Bastards.
  4. Solipsistic Agony.  Is there any good outside of academia?  Will I be a miserable, useless failure if I cannot live up to my own ideals? 
  5. Money Money Money. Hey!  Real jobs pay.... real money.  Suddenly this looks much more attractive  See you later, academia.  Don't let the door hit you...

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