So, you may have found this blog by googling “quitting academia” or “probably not going to finish phd thesis” or even “how do i fix this jaded apathetic feeling.” We may not have all the answers here, but at least we have a list of handy links. If you have some to add, or find anything broken, please let us know: alternativephd [at] gmail [dot] com

Stories from the Front: Ex-Academics in Their Own Words

This list of blogs or posts narrates a range of experiences with academia, from graduate students who’ve left their programs to faculty members who realized that academia wasn’t a good fit.

Versatile PhD: This is the BEST resource we’ve found for PhDs thinking about alternative careers within academia or leaving altogether. It’s an online forum where community members ask questions, share their experiences, give advice, and offer support.

The Versatile PhD mission is to help humanities and social science PhDs develop their versatility as professionals. We want you to be informed about academic employment realities, educated about nonacademic careers options, and supported in preparing for a range of possible careers, so that in the end, you have choices. The key concept here is versatility: the ability to apply your skills and interests in a wide variety of fields.

because: a manifesto: An anonymous manifesto about one adjunct’s decision to leave academia. The first line: “Because the failures of a flawed system are not my personal failures.”

Escape the Ivory Tower: Julie left the tenure track and is now a life coach. Her resources page lists useful books, blogs, listservs, and articles.

Leaving Academia: This blog is no longer updated, but continues to be a fantastic resources, meant “for anyone in academia (grad student, contract/adjunct faculty, tenure stream) who wants or needs to envision a life beyond the ivory tower.” Posts filed under “Career Planning” and “How To” contain practical suggestions about transitioning out of academia.

Life After the PhD “is a blog dedicated to providing career advice for graduate students who are considering leaving the academy. It features interviews with PhDs who have gone onto successful careers outside of academia, as well as other career resources.”

On the Fence: “A blog for indecisive academics who are on the market, or currently employed in academe, but considering non-academic job options.”

Post Academic: “What do people outside of academia actually do?  What do people inside academia actually do?  What do people in other fields within academia do?  What can academics do outside of academia?  And why is it so hard to explain how academia works to people who aren’t in it?  We hope that Post Academic can start to answer or at least think about these questions and more.” “Hi, I’m James.  In this blog, you will find a true story about my decision to not do a Ph.D. in English.  The purpose is to record one story and to motivate others to move away from the anxiety of finding a job with a graduate degree in the humanities.  I want to show you that the same skills that made you successful in graduate school can also bring success in the real world.”

A Tale of a Graduate School Burnout: “I am an ex-graduate student, an ex-member of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. When I began writing this, I was exhausted, unable to force myself to study or work in my chosen field, insomniac, jaded, irritable, forgetful, angry, unmotivated, lethargic. (I am pleased to say that since leaving, I have found exciting work and have largely returned to my normal self.)”

Worst Professor Ever: “Have you ever felt like you’re an alien? Everyone around you is doing things that make no sense whatsoever, and you feel like you’re the only one not getting it? But you fear that if you say anything, these people will tear off their faces, reveal themselves as monsters, and eat your head? That was my life in the Ivory Tower. Seven years as a grad student at the University of Texas, five as an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University. I hated every minute of it — so much so that I burned my PhD when I got out.”


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