Post Academic

A Hamster Thanksgiving

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

Last week on Post Academic (4/25-5/1)

Posted in Housekeeping by postacademic on May 2, 2010
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At the end of one week and the beginning of another, we catch our collective breaths on the blog and gather up links to some of the posts that have either cycled off the home page or might have been lost in the shuffle.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and thanks for reading!

* We covered some things grad students do over the summer–part-time jobs–instead of what they should be doing–studying for qualifying exams or working on their dissertations.  Caroline brainstormed for ideas here and here, while Arnold focused on his experiences teaching test prep to help you maximize your hourly rate and minimize the amount of work you take home with you.

* Caroline examined what academics can learn from marketers and what hamster worlders can learn from university administrators.

* Arnold found out who were 2007’s most cited scholars, who might also happen to be winners/losers in the “Bad Writing Contest”.

Hamster World or Hamster Wheel?

So as I start to looking into what Caroline calls the Hamster World for gainful employment, I somehow end up back on the Hamster Wheel of the academic job market.  Last week, I wrote a post about the temptations of continuing to apply to academic jobs, even when the writing is on the wall (and has been on the wall for a while now).  While I haven’t applied for THAT job that I was mulling over (and still mulling over), I discovered a postdoc to apply to as I scoured over the Academic Job Wiki postdoc page to find out the results of another search.  Even as I learned that yet another opportunity was biting the dust–one I thought that I had as good a shot as any, since it was a diversity postdoc–I found a late postdoc posting just in time, a few days before the application deadline.

I didn’t dither about going for one more last application, since postdocs are a lot more open-ended and less restrictive than a field and period specific tenure-track position.  (Then again, that’s why there are also at least 3 times more people applying to any given postdoc!)  The reason I decided to quickly put together an application for the postdoc is that I already have a project ready to go, as opposed to the finetuning and tweaking that applying for a job that doesn’t quite fit my profile would take.  Yet just when I was notified by my dossier service that my confidential recommendations had been sent, I started having second thoughts, mostly because I was lazy.  I didn’t want to have to do the following: