Are You Prepared to Leave Academia If Academia Lets You Down?


You’re not if you let your past define you!

While you can’t and shouldn’t ignore your background and previous experiences, we find that many recent PhD graduates often focus too much on their past and present, and way too little on their future.

We often get inquiries from PhDs who ask themselves if they should leave academia and who start by focusing on the limits of their academic past. If your past achievements and experiences are critical to your career exploration and job search, the starting point of this arduous process should be your future. What will you do if you don’t snag the tenure-track job of your dreams? Have you ever seriously thought about alternative options? What would you like to do after your graduate? The answer to that question determines how you should define your past and especially how you should use the time you have today.

Once you have defined all your options, you need to season and perhaps temper your future with your past. Your past will show if your training is in alignment with your goals. Look to see that you possess the transferable skills necessary for you to leave academia and thrive. If you don’t see a way to align your past and present with your future, you have two choices:


  • improve your qualifications
  • explore other career paths


You must realize that, for the overwhelming majority of PhD graduates, there are multiple paths to follow to achieve a successful career transition. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The important thing is to start somewhere. RIGHT NOW. If you don’t want to be an adjunct, or worse, unemployed, you must realize that you may need to alter who you are to compete effectively in an intensely competitive process.

This is where not letting your academic past and present define you really comes into play. If you don’t have the skills needed to leave academia, you need to acquire them. Even if you are currently still working hard in grad school, this is not a reason to not prepare for ALL career options. Whatever you do, you must change something if you want to expect a different outcome.

Don’t let your past define you! The future you see for yourself is really the starting point of your life after the PhD. So, go ahead! Take ownership of your present before it’s too late!


Want to take the first step? Try our free Quick Guide to Career Exploration: Plotting Your Plan B in 6 Easy Steps


Are you struggling with your PhD career change? We got you covered. Take a look at our services.

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