On Success
Joanna Horton
6014

As a person who has sort of bailed on academia herself (though still adjuncting), I can sympathize. If I had my PhD, I would be competing for one of very few full time positions with 300 other applicants whose CVs also show that they’ve been doing everything they can to get ahead for the past 8 years to the almost complete detriment to their social lives and sleeping patterns. And if I was lucky enough to get one of these jobs, it would probably be a one or two-year contract in a city I didn’t want to live in. And if I actually managed to get a tenure-track job, it would be in a climate where the value of education is rapidly losing ground to PR and the business model of higher education.

I can definitely see the appeal of the simpler life (and encourage you to enjoy it while you have it), but I do have to wonder how long a part-time job that may or may not provide the skills/ contacts/ experience necessary for career advancement is practical. Unless the part-time job is in a very lucrative field, full time work (or something close to it) will be necessary at some point. The question then becomes not “What is success for you?” but “What job or jobs can you hold in the long term that allow you to both pay your bills and meet (or come close to) your definition of success?” I am definitely still in the process of answering that question.

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