A networking group for academics pursuing a wide range of careers.
- 12 September 2018 at 10:07 am #16365
Share your recent career victories and the strategies you utilized to achieve them!6 October 2018 at 6:58 am #16801
Let me be the first to share the news about my new (and now official, since I passed my trial period!) job:
A few months ago, at the end of my PhD at Princeton, I found myself facing a choice with an obvious right answer, but which was psychologically rather difficult (as I’m sure you can all imagine). I had been offered two great postdocs, at respectable institutions (one of which in my hometown even!), both 2 years. I also had a campus visit for a tenure-track position. Despite all that, I decided to turn all that down and move to Paris to live with my husband, and so I accepted my only job offer there, which was as an “Academic Coordinator” at the SAE Institute.
I didn’t really know what to expect. During the interviews, I had been told that they mostly wanted someone very organized and that the job was essentially administrative. However, when I arrived on campus, I was told that my title was actually directrice pédagogique and that this was a management position! In fact, I’m the #2 at the school! To top that off, this school is all about creative media, offering accredited degrees in Audio Production, Film Production, and VFX/Game Art Animation. It boasts an impressive number of world-class recording studios, cutting edge film equipment, and all the latest animation softwares. The school isn’t without its problems and it’s been a bit of an adjustment to find myself having to discover what’s going wrong, take the lead, and manage the academic team to resolve the problems I find, but it’s actually a great adventure! I can’t imagine I would have been happier in a 2-year postdoc in Buffalo.
Also, did I mention I get to go to the Cannes festival with the film students?
Anyway, I can’t wait to read everyone else’s victories and cheer you on from Paris! Let me know if any of you are in the area, and I’d be happy to meet up!
Natalie7 October 2018 at 9:52 am #16846
This victory is a bit old, but I started my first post-PhD job in August 2017 (after defending in March 2017). I direct communications and run public programming for Temple University Libraries. I manage a team of two and a designer and will be adding to my team over the next few years. I really like the job, though it was definitely a transition at first. There’s a lot of responsibility but I also have a lot of freedom, and I like that balance.
Something cool we finished this week was something called the Philly Public Arts Forum. We invited local street artists and other people involved in that world to join us for a series of talks, panels, and a culminating workshop. This week was the workshop. We had local artists lead us through the process of creating art (and talking about how mad we are about the current state of the world), and then we all went outside and put it up on a temporary wall we attached to our main campus library. ‘
I knew a few years before finishing my PhD that I didn’t want to teach, and the proseminar was really helpful in getting me to rethink my skills (and retool my resume!). I’m happy to talk to anyone about the application process, but I’ll say that I really ended up drawing on my networks to get the job. All that interacting with others on twitter, attending programs, and signing up to be on various committees worked for me in the end because it helped me get my foot in the door.10 October 2018 at 10:05 am #16932
This is a story about how I landed a (part-time) high school teaching job at an awesome private school in Manhattan. I’m happy to talk more about the job itself (benefits and drawbacks) but in the spirit of what helped me actually FIND the job, here are the major strategies I found helpful in the process:
I’d always known I cared more about teaching than about most other things I did as a grad student in English, but my Connected Academics experience forced me to finally do the legwork of figuring out what other careers would actually serve me better than most tenure-track academic positions. I connected with a number of people working in independent (private) high schools; by far the most useful were those with with PhDs in English who had transitioned to teaching high school, though I also talked with folks who taught in these schools and/or worked in academic dean roles, but didn’t have PhDs.
A couple of them were contacts I made through my grad program, but I also cold-emailed a woman who I had googled after reading an amazing scholarly article she wrote — I had been searching for more of her research and assuming she would be in a TT position, so imagine my surprise to see that she worked at a private high school 20 blocks from where I lived!
Another way I met contacts was by going to the pedagogy panels and roundtables at the major conferences in my field (American / Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, which always reserve some panels for teaching!) and identifying other presenters or folks in the audience who had some experience teaching high school…then striking up conversations and following up on them! This was especially helpful because I knew I wanted to be the kind of teacher who still had some link to scholarship/research, and anyone who was at this conference had clearly managed to navigate that path for themselves.
It was also valuable to have a couple friends in the same boat as me, so that we could swap advice and strategies. I learned about a small NYC-specific placement firm, Independent School Placement, from one friend; this firm eventually placed me in my current job. Another friend got far more interview requests than I did because he was searching in a different state, and passed along his experience with the most common interview questions — all of which came up in the one interview that I had!
Hope this helps some folks, and very happy to talk more about my experience with anyone (friends of friends included!).2 June 2019 at 8:42 am #22740
Paul: Reading other people’s achievements is very exciting and rewarding. It also helps to read the strategies they used along the way. I noticed that many members are either PhD candidates or recent PhD graduates. Some are only a year or two into their first post-doc position. So, I’d like to give some advice to them. My advice would be to find a mentor to guide you in your career and help you with the challenges. A mentor who has a few years more experience than you can be a positive factor to you.
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