Post Academic

A Hamster Thanksgiving

Posted in Housekeeping,Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on November 26, 2010
Tags: , , ,

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionHappy Thanksgiving! In this special Post Academic holiday episode, I wanted to count my blessings regarding my job choices. No one’s job is ever completely bad unless you’re working for an asshole–and if that’s the case, try reading Bob Sutton. You’ll be glad you did!

Since I am a grad-student-turned-hamster, I have days when I wish I were still an academic. But I am truly thankful to be a hamster, for many reasons:

Clear goals. The best part of being in the Hamster world is that I don’t feel like I’m flailing. I am assigned tasks, and I finish them. Some of the tasks require long days and boring meetings, but I feel like I’ve accomplished something on a regular basis. I help build what you see on the web, and I’m not working on one big project whose finish line is years away.

More after the jump! Image of a heritage turkey by stu_spivack from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

A set schedule. Academia is often in flux. The days can run together if you’re the only one who decides where you’re gonna be at one time. Hamsters–as you get from my nickname for 9-to-5 employees–can get into a rhythm. Yes, it can get dull, but you’re much more productive when you’re not changing your routine.

Improved feedback. In academia, you have to rely on a small group of advisors. Even tougher, you don’t see them as often. But, in most workplaces, people will tell you straight-up how you’re doing. Most of the time, the critique is constructive. You get performance evaluations yearly (at least), and your job doesn’t hinge on sporadic interactions. Even if you have an unreliable boss, you have more choices if you want to work with someone else.

Finally, you don’t have to write or grade papers over Thanksgiving. Enough said. Now I’m gonna heat up some leftovers.

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