Succeeding Outside the Academy

Career Paths beyond the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM

Edited by Joseph Fruscione and Kelly J. Baker

Errata: Click here to read the revised copyright page, which includes contributor copyright notices.

Not every PhD becomes a professor. Some never want to, but others discover—too late and ill-prepared to look elsewhere—that there’s precious little room in today’s ivory tower, and what’s there might not be a good fit. For those leaving academia, or wanting out, or finding themselves adrift, this book offers hope, advice, and a bracing look at how others facing the same quandary have made careers outside of the academy work.

All of the authors in this volume, as well as the editors, have built successful careers beyond the groves of academia—as freelance editors and writers, consultants and lecturers, librarians, realtors, and entrepreneurs—and each has a compelling story to tell. Their accounts afford readers a firsthand view of what it takes to transition from professor to professional. They also give plenty of practical advice, along with hard-won insights into what making a move beyond the academy might entail—emotionally, intellectually, and, not least, financially. Imparting what they wish they’d known during their PhDs, these writers aim to spare those who follow in their uncertain footsteps. Together their essays point the way out of the “tenure track or bust” mindset and toward a world of different but no less rewarding possibilities.

“So how do you take your graduate training outside of academia? To start with, you read this book. Succeeding Outside the Academy is a great resource filled with useful instructions and advice on how to jump-start the new job search—and how to get excited about it. This book is enormously useful, filled with good stories, and altogether fun to read.”

—Leonard Cassuto, professor of English, Fordham University, and author of The Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It

“This is a fantastic collection of inspiring and very practical essays, I wish I’d had to hand when making my own transition out of academia. Think of it as your personal masterclass in finding a new career, guided by fifteen highly experienced and eloquent PhDs, who’ve each forged their own unique and successful paths out of the academy. Each essay serves as a case study of how to bring one’s learning to life, in roles beyond traditional academia. By the end of the book you’ll understand how to get better rewarded for all the skills, insight and expertise youve developed during your doctorate. Packed with actionable advice, this book also doubles up as a powerful manifesto for change: not just for personal career change, but also for how we perceive the relationship between further study and the world of work. Forget the notion of the PhD as a reliable prequel to a professorship; read this book and understand how the PhD can open the door to a range of fulfilling and impactful careers. Essential reading for all those pursuing a PhD, as well as their doctoral supervisors, university careers advisers, and other professionals working in the modern knowledge economy. ”

—Chris Humphrey, PhD, founder of careers website Jobs on Toast

About the Author

Joseph Fruscione, a freelance editor and writer, is the author of Faulkner and Hemingway: Biography of a Literary Rivalry and editor of Teaching Hemingway and Modernism.

Kelly J. Baker is editor of Women in Higher Education. Her books include Gospel According to the Klan, also from Kansas, and Sexism Ed: Essays on Gender and Labor in Academia.