Dipping One's Toe in the Alt-Ac Job Search
A Few Strategies
We drink the Kool-Aid of academia in graduate school or earlier, believing that a faculty position is the only way to achieve career fulfillment. Perhaps it's because we've always done well in school, are intellectually curious, enjoy shaping young minds, or have some other appealing aspect of the idealized academic job. However, as I discussed in an earlier post this week, we may come to question whether the academy can actually provide the fulfillment we seek. Many of us are anxious about these questions because we've invested so much blood, sweat, and tears in arduous graduate programs and soul-crushing job searches that giving up on a faculty career feels like failure or capitulation. However, the realities of precarious employment, job burnout, and attacks on academic freedom erode the idealistic outlook we once had for our profession.
If the previous post and the words above spoke to you, today's post provides a few strategies for dipping your toe into alt-ac career exploration. I found this process to be beneficial in relieving some of my anxiety about recent attacks on academic freedom, DEI, and tenure in my state. If you've considered leaving the academy but aren't ready to fully commit, none of these strategies have to be too time-consuming before you're ready to dive headfirst into the alt-ac job search or decide to stay and fight the good fight.