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When Ph.D.s realize they won’t be professors
Maclean's ^ | May 22, 2014 | Josh Dehaas

Posted on 05/26/2014 1:25:04 PM PDT by rickmichaels

Jennifer Polk was a few years into her Ph.D. in history at the University of Toronto when she attended a departmental meeting and heard that 50 per cent of the school’s graduates were getting tenure-track professor jobs. “They were patting themselves on the back,” she says. “I was sitting there horrified.” She realized she needed another plan. Since that meeting several years ago, the number of jobs for academics has fallen further. The chance of becoming a professor is now estimated to be one in four.

Charmaine Grant began her Ph.D. three years ago partly because she couldn’t get a full-time job after finishing her M.A. in literature at Ryerson University. “I said to myself, there’s no way I can go through another year of this, just sending my CV into cyberspace,” she says. “I thought my time would be better spent in school.” She was thinking less about whether she would become a professor and more about how exciting it would be to continue her scholarship on black women’s hair. Today, still unable to see herself as a professor, she’s quit the doctorate and begun a job search.

Both women say that the culture of academia has made the transition from graduate school to work more difficult than it ought to be. “Everyone asks you, inside and outside the academy, ‘So are you going to be a professor?’ ” says Polk, “When you get to the point where you realize maybe this is not for me, you feel like a loser.”

A couple of recent studies, The 2013 Canadian Postdoc Survey and Beyond Labs and Libraries: Career Pathways for Doctoral Students, confirm that many graduate students aren’t getting the support they need to prepare for non-academic careers.

The Postdoc Survey, a partnership between the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars and Mitacs (an organization that coordinates industry-university research partnerships, including internships) consulted 1,830 of the estimated 9,000 Ph.D. graduates working as entry-level “postdoctoral researchers” in Canada. They found that their average age was 34 and roughly two-thirds earned less than $45,000 annually, many without benefits. Half reported no exposure to non-academic careers and 87 per cent said they either had no access to career counselling or were uncertain thereof. Nearly seven in 10 said their career goal was to become a professor—despite the odds. While large numbers agreed they wanted training in things like grant or proposal writing and project management, few were getting any. Some of their comments were revealing: one said non-academic careers were seen as “selling out or failing.”

The good news is that most master’s and doctoral graduates who leave the academy eventually find high-paying work. Statistics Canada’s 2013 National Graduates Survey looked at where the class of 2010 ended up three years later. Among master’s graduates, 90 to 95 per cent were working full-time, depending on the province (the rest were unemployed or not seeking work). Among doctoral graduates, employment rates ranged from 90 to 100 per cent. Median pay was $70,000 for master’s graduates and $75,000 for doctoral graduates, compared to $53,000 for bachelor’s graduates.

The other good news is that a group of Ontario academics is working to develop training to ease the transition. Allison Sekuler, AVP and dean of graduate studies at McMaster University, is part of a project that will, this fall, launch 18 learning modules for graduate students covering everything from resumés to networking. “They have a lot of skills but don’t know how to adapt those for non-academic careers,” she says.

Polk struggled to figure out how to apply her skills outside of the academy. She hadn’t enjoyed teaching, but she did build writing skills and community building skills, not only through her doctoral work but also through her indie music blog and at a part-time job where she worked with consultants. “I went straight through: high school, undergrad, M.A., Ph.D.,” she says. “When I finished I was 32 years old. I mean, thank God for the music scene experience. Thank God for the consulting.”

She’s capitalized on those strengths by starting a new blog, FromPhDtoLife.com, which includes interviews with other people who transitioned out of academia. One of her favourites is from a guy who, at age 36, finished his Ph.D. and spent months working for his brother-in-law’s duct cleaning company—and enjoyed it. After that, he found work at a museum consulting firm. The blog helps her drum up business as a life coach. She charges by the hour to help young academics plan their careers.

Grant, meanwhile, is wary of her lack of experience outside the academy but exploring options. She’s glad she took on a Mitacs internship and other work with the Diversity Institute while doing her Ph.D. because it helped her build new skills. “I had to learn how to work within a team and ask for help when I needed it,” she says. Her work on the Black Experience Project also taught her how grant-proposal writing differs from academic writing. She’s thinking of applying those skills in her career or maybe trying something entirely new, like learning American sign language. Whichever direction she takes, after a decade of university, it’s going to be a big change.


TOPICS: Education; Society
KEYWORDS: academia; highereducation
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1 posted on 05/26/2014 1:25:04 PM PDT by rickmichaels
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...her scholarship on black women’s hair.

Just keep reading that over and over.

2 posted on 05/26/2014 1:26:47 PM PDT by rickmichaels
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To: rickmichaels

Sometimes this happens...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_University_of_Alabama_in_Huntsville_shooting


3 posted on 05/26/2014 1:28:28 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools)
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To: rickmichaels
She was thinking less about whether she would become a professor and more about how exciting it would be to continue her scholarship on black women’s hair.

Is this a joke?

4 posted on 05/26/2014 1:29:16 PM PDT by jtal (Runnin' a World in Need with White Folks' Greed - since 1492)
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To: rickmichaels

Until your head explodes.


5 posted on 05/26/2014 1:29:49 PM PDT by Tax-chick (You say I'm insane ... I say you're afraid.)
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To: rickmichaels

I searched for the satire tag but no luck.


6 posted on 05/26/2014 1:32:15 PM PDT by NewHampshireDuo
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To: rickmichaels

Got a PhD? Check your privilege!


7 posted on 05/26/2014 1:33:03 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Fegelein! Fegelein! Fegelein!)
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To: rickmichaels
Just keep reading that over and over.

I did.

Beyond the complete WTF, how does she expect her pioneering (I'm sure) work in "black women's hair" to enhance her MA in Literature?

8 posted on 05/26/2014 1:34:43 PM PDT by JennysCool (My hypocrisy goes only so far)
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To: rickmichaels

It’s not quite as prestigious as my scholarship on white guys naval lint.

Well, somebody has to do it...


9 posted on 05/26/2014 1:35:18 PM PDT by Delta Dawn (Fluent in two languages: English and cursive.)
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To: rickmichaels

Its shocking she couldn’t find someone who would hire her.

Gotta be lots of demand for a hairstlyist with a PhD.


10 posted on 05/26/2014 1:36:04 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Delta Dawn

thats racist


11 posted on 05/26/2014 1:37:29 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: rickmichaels
Engineering majors DO NOT HAVE THIS PROBLEM; Feminist Poetry majors - yes.
12 posted on 05/26/2014 1:37:39 PM PDT by 4Liberty (Optimal institutions - optimal economy.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

A PhD in academia gives you privilege to make your grad students do all they work so your name is added to a research paper on nappy hair... real important stuff in today’s entitlement based economy.


13 posted on 05/26/2014 1:38:49 PM PDT by Rodamala
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To: driftdiver

Isn’t everything? It’s just my privilege talking...


14 posted on 05/26/2014 1:39:05 PM PDT by Delta Dawn (Fluent in two languages: English and cursive.)
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To: rickmichaels

Hmmmm. There MUST be career path in studying white womens’ boobs... Yes?


15 posted on 05/26/2014 1:39:59 PM PDT by Doctor 2Brains
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To: rickmichaels
...her scholarship on black women’s hair.

...her scholarship on black women’s hair.

...her scholarship on black women’s hair.

...her scholarship on black women’s hair.

And they can't get work? For some reason the story of the nuerodnicks and the bolsheviks comes to mind.

16 posted on 05/26/2014 1:40:18 PM PDT by fella ("As it was before Noah so shall it be again,")
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To: driftdiver

Question is, did she make the cut?


17 posted on 05/26/2014 1:40:44 PM PDT by Delta Dawn (Fluent in two languages: English and cursive.)
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To: rickmichaels

I think the job market for university positions for Ph.D.s is pretty good if your degree is in accounting, finance, computer science, transportation and/or logistics and/or global supply chain management. Ph.D.s in engineering I doubt have trouble finding university appointments.
One or two offering for each freshly minted Ph.D. I bet.

History Ph.D.’s not quite so good, usually 50-100 applications for each position. But even 20-30 years ago there was a glut of history, English, etc Ph.D.s competing for academic positions.


18 posted on 05/26/2014 1:40:50 PM PDT by Maine Mariner
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To: 4Liberty

What is the blue bar? Average? Starting average?


19 posted on 05/26/2014 1:40:51 PM PDT by Rodamala
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To: Doctor 2Brains

Mammogram operator?


20 posted on 05/26/2014 1:41:06 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: rickmichaels
It's about time the liberal punks had to find real jobs.
21 posted on 05/26/2014 1:43:29 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government." --Tacitus)
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To: rickmichaels

22 posted on 05/26/2014 1:46:00 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro

PhD art student...in debt to the tune of $120,000 because of it.


23 posted on 05/26/2014 1:48:40 PM PDT by rickmichaels
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To: JennysCool

It’s as bad as getting a Pd.D. in Women’s Studies! Whatchya gonna do with that?


24 posted on 05/26/2014 1:49:14 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (Pubbies = national collectivists; Dems = international collectivists; We need a second party!)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

NOOOOO! A real job, surely you jest. Adjunct teaching positions for five years hoping a tenure track position will open up. $2000-$4000 per course taught usually no benefits.
If one can work summers, maybe $20,000 to $30,000 per year.
And of the course the waiting and hoping a professor retires or dies.


25 posted on 05/26/2014 1:49:15 PM PDT by Maine Mariner
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To: rickmichaels

I was a Post-doc for 4 years, then industry for eight, now an adjunct at two colleges with benfits after 3 years (and some seniority). My PhD is in Organic Chemistry. I’m better off than most, but still you need a plan A, a plan B and a plan C. Be flexible!


26 posted on 05/26/2014 1:51:09 PM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: rickmichaels
...her scholarship on black women’s hair.

I don't think she looked hard enough for a job.

27 posted on 05/26/2014 1:52:35 PM PDT by Fido969 (What's sad is most)
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To: Huskrrrr

Benefits...sorry.


28 posted on 05/26/2014 1:53:02 PM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: rickmichaels

I didn’t know Mcleans did satire.


29 posted on 05/26/2014 1:54:01 PM PDT by meatloaf (Impeach Obama. That's my New Year's resolution.)
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To: Fido969

Why does “Beauty School Dropout” from Grease, suddenly come to mind?


30 posted on 05/26/2014 1:54:01 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: rickmichaels

The question is, is she black? Not in a million years would any university hire a white woman who was an expert on black women’s hair.

Before it became fashionable, I took an interest in African American literature. Some of it is junk, but there is also some very good stuff. But I knew that I would never be allowed to teach it. I just read it (and much else) for my own interest.


31 posted on 05/26/2014 1:54:08 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: rickmichaels

Straight thru school, on history and literature, not even enjoying teaching, then expecting to find a career, which is viewed as being a failure, mind you, even a highpaying one - and one discontent finds a blogging career in, it gets better, career counseling.

The target goal of these grads being not taking a lesser salary to teach young children the delights of prose or the significance of America in the world, but grant-writing. That is, soliciting free government money on top of the free government money to go to school to begin with.

Perhaps they are grants to study the mating habits of pelicans in historic perspective. Or the literary skills of unemployed grads responding to blogs, or the mathmatical abilities of the four-tongued frog, written while sitting in a private ‘biosphere enclave’ in a national park restricted from the public, buffalo roaming by their airconditioned gert on an open prairie, where once ranchers worked their beef herds to feed the world. WTSHTF these are the people who become immediately useless.

And the punch line? we support them with tax dollars.

wait...how do you write a grant proposal again?


32 posted on 05/26/2014 1:55:47 PM PDT by blueplum
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To: driftdiver

Apparently, a PhD in literature specializing in black women’s hair is almost useless unless it’s paired with a minor in Sub-Saharan Homoerotic Literature and Dance. Then she’d have a combination that employers would really be clamoring for.


33 posted on 05/26/2014 1:56:58 PM PDT by Bob
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To: rickmichaels
there's one born every minute... or is t every 30seconds?
34 posted on 05/26/2014 1:57:28 PM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: Bob
a PhD in literature specializing in black women’s hair is almost useless unless it’s paired with a minor in Sub-Saharan Homoerotic Literature and Dance.

When you say things like that, a kitten dies.

/johnny

35 posted on 05/26/2014 2:02:07 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JennysCool
" you feel like a loser.”

After 28 years in academia she learns her first useful thing.

36 posted on 05/26/2014 2:03:32 PM PDT by DManA
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To: rickmichaels

Go to any university’s library, especially the ones with easier admittance policies. Peruse the dissertations section. You’ll realize what a scam academia has become. We could lose 90 percent of our humanities and “social science” faculty without any ill effects, and indeed, many positive ones.


37 posted on 05/26/2014 2:07:41 PM PDT by DesScorp
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To: ClearCase_guy

I wonder how much she actually paid for the PhD?


38 posted on 05/26/2014 2:08:55 PM PDT by tiki
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To: Cicero

Had the misfortune to read one of James Baldwin’s novels.

Really wish I hadn’t. Just drek - the whole damned thing.


39 posted on 05/26/2014 2:10:06 PM PDT by warsaw44
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To: 4Liberty

“Engineering majors DO NOT HAVE THIS PROBLEM; Feminist Poetry majors - yes. “

Fewer children are prepared to enter college. They lack basic math, reading and writing. They know all about gayness, gender inequality and green studies. Shockingly, there are few jobs in those subjects.


40 posted on 05/26/2014 2:11:37 PM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: Jack Hydrazine

I am retired and was looking into a PhD program to get a union card to teach at university, you know, to do something and I lectured at a few service schools over my career. Anyway, in the DFW area are many universities, too include Texas Women’s University.

They have a Women’s Studies PhD, real ‘ball-buster to get in’:

For TWU admission into the Ph.D. degree program in Women’s Studies:
A completed master’s degree
A grade point average of 3.5 or above on prior graduate-level course work
Two letters of recommendation from referees who can address the applicant’s past academic performance and future academic potential
A statement of purpose: a short essay (approximately 1000 words) discussing the applicant’s personal and professional goals and how TWU’s Ph.D. program in Women’s Studies can assist the applicant in meeting these goals
A writing sample: an academic paper not to exceed twenty-five pages, including notes and references
A current curriculum vitae or resumé

Real tough place. . .


41 posted on 05/26/2014 2:14:01 PM PDT by Hulka
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To: rickmichaels

Humanities Professorship = Suckling on the Govtit


42 posted on 05/26/2014 2:14:32 PM PDT by samtheman
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To: Rodamala

I heard recently that starting salary for a petroleum engineer is $100K, so the blue bar is probably “starting salary”. The other would then likely be “average after x years”.


43 posted on 05/26/2014 2:15:42 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: rickmichaels
The lack of on-campus assistance for those who pursue graduate studies is amazing.

Years ago, I was the executive director of an organization that employed persons with academic achievements ranging from high school graduates to Ph.Ds, with the occasional MD thrown in.

Many of our positions were part-time, research-oriented, and time-sensitive, for these doctoral-level staff and consultant positions.

The graduates were wonderful to work with, most of them striving to achieve, for professional reasons. There was the occasional grumpy-joe and -jill who believed that their talents and academic achievements were being wasted--clearly, they believed, they should be in teaching positions, charging straight toward tenure.

Many of them were amazingly well-prepared in their, fields, bringing cutting edge, state-of-the-art knowledge and skills to our poor little $18-an-hour, 20-hours-per-week positions. And it was because no one had told them, during about 32 or more periods of course enrollment and financial aid struggles and lines, of filling out new questionnaires, information updates, and constant vita revisions, that there were no jobs waiting on the other side of their diplomas.

I remember one young woman, extremely efficient and bright, begging me to retain her in the secretarial support position she then occupied, because it was the only full- time work she had been able to find. Alas, the funding for her position was scheduled to run out at the end of the fiscal year because the project was essentially over with when I hired her, a fact I had explained to her.

At the time, there were few professional positions for doctor of audiology degree holders.

I remember that, on her very last day of employment with us, she faced a bleak future. She would be living on unemployment assistance for 13 weeks, then nothing. She was clearly distressed, and she was crying as she walked out the door.

I hope things have improved in audiology. It's tough to watch someone who has worked hard in, and brought a high level of commitment and achievement to, a particular academic field, being destroyed by the lack of employment in that field.

And all because no one has said them, "Your chances for employment in your area of expertise are not very good."


44 posted on 05/26/2014 2:15:59 PM PDT by righttackle44 (Take scalps. Leave the bodies as a warning.)
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To: gov_bean_ counter

Yeah, as expected, that got zero coverage by the rat media.


45 posted on 05/26/2014 2:16:48 PM PDT by Jacquerie (To restore the 10th Amendment, repeal the 17th. Article V.)
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To: rickmichaels

Government subsidies keep unneeded professors employed turning cranking out degrees for which their is no economic rationale. It is welfare for college professors because they indoctrinate and spout leftist propaganda. Meanwhile, young lives are ruined.


46 posted on 05/26/2014 2:25:12 PM PDT by SC_Pete
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To: rickmichaels

Government subsidies keep unneeded professors employed turning cranking out degrees for which their is no economic rationale. It is welfare for college professors because they indoctrinate and spout leftist propaganda. Meanwhile, young lives are ruined.


47 posted on 05/26/2014 2:25:34 PM PDT by SC_Pete
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To: rickmichaels

I couldn’t get past that line. I really couldn’t.


48 posted on 05/26/2014 2:27:48 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
While large numbers agreed they wanted training in things like grant or proposal writing and project management,

omgosh! all they need to do is get on a team that writes proposals for grants... it is not that difficult... i have done it, and the only skills i needed were writing skills and taking direction... and the willingness to work around the clock until that proposal is out the door--even if it meant no bathroom break just yet! i didn't even choose that job... i literally got pulled into it the first time... "hey you! come here--we need you!"

49 posted on 05/26/2014 2:30:45 PM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: rickmichaels

Probably should have gotten a PHD in Modern Expressive Dancing and moved to North Dakota and got a job as a pole dancer/stripper at $2,500 a night .... providing you’re not excessively obese or two coyote ugly ... tattoos OK.


50 posted on 05/26/2014 2:42:46 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (If you lined up the best and brightest of this administration, you'd just have a string of dim bulbs)
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