April 26, 2003

"Doctor Outsider": A PhD on Leaving the Academy

"I shift my weight and launch what is, by now, a practiced speech. 'Well, rather than stay here and do a lectureship next year, I'm going to try my luck in new media — you know, Internet stuff'....
She puts a comforting hand on my shoulder and looks deep into my eyes. 'Don't worry. You have to keep plugging away, but I know you'll find that academic job eventually!' And with one more reassuring shoulder pat, she is gone. I gaze after her in disbelief, and I feel another headache coming on."

-- Michele Tepper, "Doctor Outsider"

Here is a very interesting and provocative essay by an English Ph.D. (you can visit her blog here) who made the very wise decision to leave the academy rather than spend years "plugging away" in the hope that she might "eventually" land that tenure-track job. Not surprisingly, Tepper found that her attempt "to build a meaningful professional and intellectual life outside the academy" was "consistently denied, denigrated, or ignored" by those who chose to remain within. Her essay examines the "unexamined elitism and unwarranted defensiveness" behind such opposition.

This is well worth reading, and I'll have more to say about it later, but for now, must attend to that other dimension otherwise known as my real life...

Posted by Invisible Adjunct at April 26, 2003 07:37 PM