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From PhD to Life

BY JENNIFER POLK | NOV 18 2016

I work for and largely by myself, and I love it. My graduate school experience was similar in important ways: I worked at home without much externally-imposed structure. It was challenging, and remains so. Even so, this is how I work best. But I do have support. I do have community. These days I have […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | OCT 19 2016

This may seem like a facile question. A PhD is a doctorate (thanks Google), the terminal degree in many fields. It’s what else it is that’s hard to pin down and get people to agree on. Earlier this month I posed a similar question on Twitter, in the form of a poll. “My PhD is […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | OCT 12 2016

Anne Trubek earned her PhD in English from Temple University. She was formerly associate professor at Oberlin College and is now self-employed as a writer, author, and publisher. Find her online at annetrubek.com and follow her on Twitter @atrubek. What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD? A tenure-track […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | SEP 20 2016

How is it that I am more than three years into this job and I still feel like a n00b? Well, I know why – there are so many good, reasonable reasons. But one of the answers is that my role is adaptable, because I am self-employed and it is entirely up to me to […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | SEP 13 2016

Katie Vahey-Gaebler earned her PhD in higher education & student affairs leadership from the University of Northern Colorado. She’s currently an academic adviser at the University of Colorado Boulder, and is an independent consultant. Find her online at GradSchoolAdviser.com and follow her on Twitter @drkatieGSA. What did you hope for in terms of employment as […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | AUG 24 2016

I’ve now been self-employed and working as an academic, career, and life coach for more than three years. I love that I get to work independently, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I can and do work collaboratively. When I started coaching, I worried about competitors. Over time, I saw more people beginning […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | AUG 11 2016

This summer I decided to take a month off. Other than a couple weeks off in December, I’d been working steadily from August into June, with January-May as especially busy. Busy is good – a sign of a growing business – but there’s not much point in a stressed-out life coach. So I booked off […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | JUL 11 2016

Adam Sanford works as an academic coach, writer, and adjunct instructor. He earned his PhD in sociology from the University of California, Riverside in 2012. Follow him on Twitter @undergradeasier and find him on the web at www.undergradeasier.com. What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD? I started my graduate program in […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | JUN 21 2016

In the three years I’ve worked as a career and life coach, and through the years of my own transition, I’ve learned lots about the process of changing careers. What fascinates me most are the thoughts and feelings that accompany such a shift. When I talk about transition with my clients and others, I often […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | JUN 14 2016

Rebecca Dirnfeld joined Ryerson University’s career centre in September 2014, and acts as a career consultant in the faculty of science. Additionally, she offers guidance to students and graduates on the job hunt through social media and via her website, Graduates in Transition, providing students a space to share personal experiences in developing their career […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | JUN 07 2016

Susan Marie Martin earned her PhD in applied social studies from University College Cork, National University of Ireland. She’s currently an international educator at a private school in the Middle East, and an independent academic and researcher. Find her online at http://susanmariemartin.weebly.com and follow her on Twitter @smariem13. What did you hope for in terms […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | MAY 10 2016

Lindy Ledohowski earned her PhD in English, focusing on contemporary Canadian literature and ethnic identity politics, at the University of Toronto, and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Ottawa; she serves on the board of trustees for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, a member […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | MAY 04 2016

Seeking employment outside academic faculty positions? Then this conference is for you.

BY JENNIFER POLK | APR 22 2016

Adam Bishop earned his PhD in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto in 2011. He’s currently a translator, proofreader, editor, and researcher. Find him on Twitter @adammbishop. What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD?  I had the same goal as all my PhD student friends – find a teaching […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | APR 11 2016

Paige Morgan earned her PhD in English with a certificate in Textual Studies from the University of Washington. Her research focused on how 18th century English poets adapted to the changing economic conditions and systems for publishing. She is currently the digital humanities librarian at the University of Miami. You can find her online here and […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | MAR 31 2016

Nathaniel Bean works at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Wu Family Academy of Learning & Engagement as their education librarian & program assistant. At the DSO, he is part of a team that manages a large youth orchestra program that serves nearly 450 metro Detroit youth. Nathaniel is in the fourth year of the Doctor of […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | MAR 21 2016

Jennifer De Mello earned her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Georgia (USA). She’s currently a senior business analyst at Manheim Wholesale Auto Auctions. You can find her on LinkedIn. What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD? I had expected to go into industry after my PhD. […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | FEB 24 2016

One of the pieces of advice I give people considering their options after a PhD is to take risks. Not big ones, but small ones. One at a time. These risks can take the form of drafting a resumé, just for yourself. Or conducting an informational interview, even with someone you already know. Or perhaps simply […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | FEB 11 2016

I recently spoke with a humanities PhD who’s having difficulty securing meaningful employment. After a one-year stint as a professor soon after he graduated, he’s worked for a private company for the past 18 months. “General office work,” he told me. “This used to be a summer job, and they hired me full-time in part […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | JAN 28 2016

Occasionally I’m asked about quitting, particularly “quitting” a PhD program. This happened several times last week, when I was in Vancouver. Contrary to what you may hear or what your own internal critics tell you, there’s no shame in moving on. I remember a long post on a Versatile PhD forum from “PJ,” an ABD […]