Monday, 24 December 2012

Post-academic Call for Papers and more

It's been a busy several months for many in the post-academic blogging community. We've either been right in the middle of academic labour frenzy keeping up with the demands of teaching, research and the imperative to publish, while wondering simultaneously if this is in fact the career path we are happy with and want to keep on pursuing - or we've been rewriting our resume/cv, waiting for invitations to interview, or settling into our new post-ac work lives. That dilemma, 'Should I continue or not' is what has led many to conduct Google searches using phrases like, 'Is there life after academia?', 'Is academia where I really want to be?', 'Academic redundancy', 'Transitioning from academic to non-academic life', 'Career choices outside of academia', and so on. When I discovered the many prolific post-academic bloggers out there writing about experiences and anxieties that were so close to my own story, I discovered a new-found comfort and support system that encouraged me to keep on with my career search out of academia and into something that was much more manageable.

And now the time has come to move forward. A few other post-academic bloggers such as Currer from Project Reinvention, Lauren from Mama Nervosa, JC From Grad School to Happiness
, and I have made the decision to pull our collective efforts together (thanks Currer and Lauren for the prompt) and create a website and ebook full of resources, advice and personal stories about the experience of leaving the Ivory Tower. We know this project will be much more successful and richer if it includes a breadth of contributions from others who have made the transition or are in the middle of working through the plethora of conflicting feelings they have about leaving academia.

Our website will include:
Practical Peer-to-peer advice for leaving academia on every topic from emotional issues to having to get food stamps to building up your resume/cv.

Our ebook of essays will include:
A wide range of personal stories of leaving academia.

We invite all those who have thought about leaving for one reason or another or more. We welcome a fully international scope of contributors. While we can see there are lots of post-ac bloggers from the US, we've spotted a few from Canada, the UK, Australia and beyond. We would love you to join us over here and get a sense of the common ground we share or can learn from each other across national boundaries. Feel free to start a topic. See below for details about the ebook. The website will be less structured. We intend it to be a 'One Stop Shop' for links and posts on all of the questions we ask ourselves when contemplating how to quit. Get in touch if you have an idea. Once we receive content (and have help setting up the site) it will go live.

What a way to begin thinking about starting 2013. Keep reading and find out more about how you can get involved.

Moving On: Personal Stories of Leaving Academia (tentatively titled)

Have you left academia? Or are you currently in the process of leaving? Share your story!

As post-academic bloggers, we know firsthand that there is a desire for stories that explore more than just the career aspects of leaving the ivory tower. People want to know how, when, and why you quit; emotional issues related to quitting; and examples of post-academic success. We envision this book as a source of advice and support for readers who have quit graduate school before getting their Ph.D., people leaving academia even after they have finished their degrees, and people who are adjuncting or working in academia who are looking to leave. Many stories of the post-academic transition have been told on personal blogs and websites, including our blogs and web site (forthcoming), but this is the first collection has been organized to speak directly to people’s experiences leaving academia.

We’re looking for thoughtful, personal pieces (non-fiction or creative non-fiction) that tell a story or develop a theme related to the process of quitting academia. Like any good paper, the essay should have a core thesis or concept that you’re exploring through your writing. We prefer submissions that are relatively jargon-free and more casual in writing style. Your essay can be any length, with a general goal of 5-10 pages double spaced (but we’ll consider shorter or longer!).

If you have poetry, art, or other (digitized) creative work that explores these themes, we’d be interested in that, too.

This collection will focus primarily on what happened after you quit; thus, we are not interested in treatises about the failures of grad school or the problems in higher education. You’re welcome to explore the reasons and circumstances under which you left, but please continue the narrative forward from there. You can be as anonymous as you like, although please include enough detail that the reader can be drawn into your story. We invite you to explore the messiness, difficulty, and contradictions in the quitting process. Not every story has a happy ending, and that’s OK. We encourage submissions on any of these topics, as well as proposals for essays that explore any gaps between them:

  • How, when, and why you left academia: hopes/expectations versus realities in grad school, specific incidents/anecdotes, the job market, what you wish you’d known.
  • Emotional dimensions of leaving -- loss or changes of identity, “deprogramming” from academic thought, relationship difficulties and transformations, isolation, mental/physical health issues, joys and new discoveries, family issues, etc.
  • Career Transitions: Teaching stories, writing stories, stories of how you discovered a new vocation/path.
  • Alt-Ac Careers, Adjuncting -- Life on campus when you’re not a prof or student, changes in relationships with “the academy.”
  • Success Stories: how quitting changed your life for the better, how happy you are, how glad you are to be gone.
  • Failure stories: screwing up, falling down, awful jobs, bad experiences, floundering, despair.

If you want to share a simpler or more straightforward story of your post-academic journey, please consider submitting to the website (email Lauren or Currer at the addresses below and specify that your submission is for the website).  

250 word abstracts due: Feb 1st
Goal of getting back to accepted folks mid-February
Final essays due: April 1st
Goal of publication by graduation in May 2013! :)

Email submissions with “E-Book Submission” in the subject line to Lauren at or Currer at  by Feb 1 2013.

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