Hide it under a bushel? Yes! or No?

I’ve been working on a post about vocation, but I think I will save that one for next week, because this weekend I will be at a conference where one of the topics under discussion will be “scholarship as vocation.” I’m also presenting on the alt-ac part of a panel on the job search, which should be interesting. I’m very much looking forward to all of it!

I’ve also been thinking about African-American spirituals again, or rather, letting their lyrics be a reflection of what I’ve been thinking about. Some of you might know “This Little Light of Mine.”

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. … 
Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine!
Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine!

When I was a kid, the answer to whether I’d let my light shine or hide it under a bushel. Yes, please, hand that bushel over! Quickly! At night before bed, I’d sometimes invite my mother for what we called a “chat.” Usually this meant not just a five-minute, how-are-you sort of thing, but something much more long-winded, usually about whatever was running around in my head at the time. If I had something particularly weighty to share, I’d put my favorite blanket over my head before proceeding to discuss whatever it was I need to share.

At the public library, of which I was a frequent and enthusiastic patron, I was terrified to ask for help from the librarians, for fear that they would judge me for being interested in whatever it was. The more interested I was, the more terrified I felt. I know now that librarians are some of the most helpful people on earth; helping others find information is one of their reasons for existing. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to ask for advice on how to find books about archaeology, or film-making, or Robin-Hood, or fantasy literature, or what-have-you. Consequently, I became a very good user of card catalogs. My strongest memory is of the old microfilm catalog, where you had to choose if you wanted to search by title, author, or subject, and then sit in front of what, to a 10- or 12-year-old girl must have been an very imposingly sized machine, in order to find those precious call numbers. Once I had the call numbers, I was good to go. I’d see what else was on the shelf and pick up a few more titles, all the while eyeing the librarian to see if she (or he, but usually she) was spying on me or judging me.

In retrospect, this sounds paranoid. What librarian wouldn’t have loved to help a kid eager to learn? I’m glad of my auto-didactic skills in the library (they certainly served me in good stead in graduate school!) but I wonder what it would have been like to trust people a little more. To choose a bushel a little less dark in which to hide, so that maybe some light would shine through.

Light seeped out. It seeped onto the pages of my dozens of little 3″x5″ journals that I’d buy at the local Hallmark store next to our grocery store. Light poured into the warmth of my favorite reading nook in the public library, a window seat in the back corner, as I eagerly read the books I’d discovered.

Open the bushel, close it. Throw the blanket over my head, remove it. One summer, one of those glorious summers in high school that you look back on for the rest of your life as an irrecoverable moment to which you’d gladly return, the light came pouring out. I was at a summer music camp, Tanglewood, where I listened to awe-inspiring music nearly every night. Ironically, I was there to study my instrument, and I did, but half-way through, sitting on a bench in a cozy bookstore in downtown Lenox, MA, I realized I wasn’t going to pursue the French horn in a professional capacity, but probably wanted to do something more intellectual, using my head.

(I may have been under the mistaken impression that it would be easier to get a job as a philosopher than a French horn player. After all, my second cousin was married to a philosopher, and as I’d found out at a family reunion, was getting paid to be in graduate school. What on earth could be better! I think that, the summer after 10th grade, was the most likely start point of this particular career trajectory. I didn’t ask them about what happened after graduate school, of course, but I was 14, doing quite well at school – thankyouverymuch – and the idea that I could get paid to do just that probably left a powerful impression on my young mind.  But I digress.)

At the end of that summer (the summer after 11th grade), I had one of those dreams that changed everything, at least for a little while. I don’t recall the specifics, but upshot was that I raised my hand in class, a philosophy class with my favorite teacher, said my piece, and the sky didn’t fall. I went back to school a different person than the smart, but quiet, person I’d been before. I raised my hand in class, especially humanities classes, and the sky didn’t fall. A little light was shining, and my teachers noticed, wrote glowing recommendations, and I got into a most awesome small liberal arts college.

Eventually stress, or college, or life–I’ll brush past whatever it might have been–got in the way, and things became less shiny again, and the cycle repeated itself a few more times. These things do run in cycles. What’s clear to me now is that I’m at a place in a cycle where I am no longer willing to hide under a bushel.

What that will mean, practically speaking, I’m not sure. I will likely be rearranging this website at some point in the future, or starting a new one (and I hope those of you that are following me here, will follow me there as well!) — all of this remains to be determined.  For now, though, I’m getting ready to take that blanket off my head once again.



1. It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything, or written, so rather than expecting something brilliant, I’m at least putting my fingers on the keyboard, and offering what I think I’ve seen called a “post by numbers,” but I think I might be making that up.

2. My life is very busy right now, with both kids working on therapy of one sort or another (PT for the infant, speech for her sister) and my own work with my career coach, not to mention two part-time jobs.

3. It’s been a few days since I’ve exercised. Probably since last Thursday. (See #2 about being busy). The rain we’ve been having since Sunday hasn’t really helped with that. In desperation, I took the baby out for a stroller walk when Accuweather said “rain will end in 7 minutes,” and we were lucky for the first 18 minutes, when it started to sprinkle again (despite Accuweather’s claim it would hold off).

4. I submitted something entirely non-academic to be published somewhere both non-academic, and relatively prominent. I haven’t heard back. I’ve never done this before.

5. I had a stomach virus for much of the previous week, or maybe it was just psychosomatic. It made me lie down on the couch for several evenings in a row after the kids were in bed. My husband thought it was psychosomatic. After all, I was bringing up all sorts of childhood hopes and dreams as part of working on a “mission statement” with my coach, and Professor Spouse knows well how my stomach can sometimes act up from emotional activity.  However, this week our baby seems to have a stomach virus as well, so now my guess is that my own ailment was actually an ailment, and not just a creation of my mind. This has me somewhat relieved.

6. I had two phone interviews recently. Neither one sounded very exciting once I was on the phone and talking to some of the people involved in the hiring. For this reason, it has actually been a relief that I didn’t receive a call-back for either one. As we talked, I could feel my excitement draining away, and couldn’t quite keep up the pretense of being more excited. (It didn’t help that the Early Intervention people — 5 of them! — were in my living room, seeing if my baby qualifies for the program due to her prematurity. Professor Spouse was with them, of course, but instead of having a longer time to psych myself up, prep, get ready, etc. for the one phone interview, I dashed upstairs just a few minutes beforehand and really wasn’t as well-focused as I would have been otherwise.) The only reason I might feel a bit sad at these interviews not progressing is that means I’m still working at night. I’d been hoping I might have a different job by the end of the semester, so that I don’t have to do the 2AM finals shifts again, but that’s looking less and less likely.

7. I am giving a workshop in a week and a half about alt-ac job searching to a group of graduate students and recent grads, many of whom were my peers and cohorts at a conference a few years ago, when I was one of the ones further along in my program (and therefore seemed to have my act together). I’m a little nervous about appearing in public as an alt-ac, much less one who offers advice, especially when I’m still searching for the right post-ac “fit.” I know, it’s ok to say I’m still in transition, but it sure would be easier if I could say, “I have this awesome job now, and here’s how you can too!”

8. I’ll end this on a happier note. Fall has finally been in full swing here. The maples are turning. I love maples. I love how light filters through their leaves. Maybe they become more transparent as they change color.  We’re baking pumpkin bread, going apple-picking, and we’ve had a couple of fires in our fireplace (a benefit of an older home). I can wear boots and scarves again, and that is always fun!

9. With luck, I will come up with a more unified post in the near future, but for now, I hope you all are doing well.

Don’t follow in my footsteps: a reverse roadmap for women in academia and beyond

I started writing this post back in April, 2014, as this other post reveals. It’s still with me. It’s personal enough that I’ve avoided posting it for almost six months, but since its subject matter is still with me, I’m realizing the post might be better off “in the world” than sitting in my drafts folder. So, without any further ado, here’s my personalized ranty post about gender, the two-body problem, and academia:  

It took until I had my second child to realize why the word “feminist” is often paired with the word “angry.” I’ve always been a feminist, at least as long as I knew the word. It seemed self-evident to me that women’s empowerment and women’s equality were good things. At the same time, I believed what my mother always told me: you can be anything you want to be, do anything you want to do, that it didn’t matter if someone was a woman or a man. All careers, all paths, were open to me. I believed strongly in the meritocracy: if you’re good enough, you’ll get rewarded for it, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or  woman.

What I didn’t know as a child and young adult when my mother told me these encouraging words was just how much being a woman, not a man, might eventually hinder those rewards and make a big difference in whether my life turned out like I expected or not. This past week, I told her this, and she said that I’d grown up, because part of growing up is facing the ways our lives turn out differently than we ever expect them to be. Here, then, is my growing-up story about gender, graduate school, and the path to post-academia. It’s a story that I hope others will not have to experience. It’s what I wish someone had told me when I was 22 and considering graduate school the first time, or 24 and considering it the second time. Now, I don’t know if I’d have listened to the story or not. I might have brushed it off, with the casual “well, that won’t happen to me” that many of us tell ourselves in order to do something that might, in fact, be against our own best interests.

I don’t know if I’d have listened to what I have to say, but here it is regardless.

I wish someone had warned me how having a husband – even a self-proclaimed feminist husband supportive of his wife’s career – could get in the way of pursuing my own dreams. I wish I’d told my husband I wasn’t applying to one-year academic jobs and fellowships–so that we could live together where he had his tenure-track job–if only so that he could have told me I was being ridiculous, and of course I should apply to everything and anything that looked remotely applicable.

Never mind that I’d had a revelation one day back in 2008, when I spent a summer battling depression brought on by moving from my vibrant doctoral academic community at a university in the northeast to a tiny liberal arts college in a few-thousand person town. I felt out of place and disjointed, but the one thing I knew with clarity was that I didn’t want a commuter marriage, especially once kids were in the mix, and – being in my early thirties already – I knew I wanted the kids to come along soon.

Knowing all this, that I wanted a family, that I wanted to actually live with and spend time with that family, I stopped applying for short-term, long-distance positions that would take me away from the family that didn’t exist yet. I didn’t know it then, but those decisions were my first steps along the alt-ac, post-ac path.

I wish someone had told me how having children could totally derail and support my thinking about what matters most in life, all at the same time. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and since I was “only” writing my dissertation, I thought I could combine writing the dissertation with taking care of an infant, at home, writing while she slept. This is what one of my advisors, a successful mother and academic, had told me might work well. Others suggested that I do as a former grad student in our department did, and get up in the wee hours of the morning to write. I knew myself well enough to realize this wasn’t going to happen. 

I didn’t put my child in daycare. She hardly slept, except when in a baby carrier.  As she grew, my husband took her on hikes (what our town lacked in people, it made up for in scenic beauty) and berry-picking expeditions so that I could work on my dissertation. I finished the dissertation, and we tag-team parented our toddler, even once she went to preschool 5 mornings a week. Professor Spouse’s job was flexible enough that he could stay home a few afternoons a week so that I could teach, both at the local college, as well as online, as well as taking on another distance-based part-time job. It was 2010, 2011 and the market had crashed, but I was living the dream.

I’d had a pretty successful run as a graduate student. I think I was pretty good at it — I always had been good at school (especially humanities-school). I’d presented nearly every year at our field’s major conference, much to the apparent admiration of my grad-school friends. I had a paper published in a major journal, plus a book chapter in the works and an essay in the works with a major journal in the field. It felt like I was “in academia,” most of the time. I was teaching, writing, researching, and a year or two after I finished the PhD, added a some online teaching closely related to my subject area, as well as a cool, but very part-time alt-ac job that I could do from anywhere, and helped pay the bills. Yes, for a while in 2010 and 2011, I thought I was living the dream.

Or so I thought. I knew that being an adjunct in the department where my husband was tenure-track was an uncomfortable state of inequality, but it didn’t affect his perception of me, and I’d heard enough through the years about the unpleasant faculty meetings to not feel too bad about not having to go, even though not going was indicative of my very contingent stature.  Besides, I told myself, “one day I’ll be tenure-trace too, somewhere, and we’ll be on a more even footing. This isn’t permanent.”

Occasionally things would happen, though, to disturb my sense of equilibrium. One thing I did was invite the other professors in the department to guest-teach in my introductory class (to give students a taste of what else went on in the department), and my husband was among those guest speakers. In a mid-semester course evaluation I gave the students, one of them suggested I “teach more like [my spouse].” Ouch. I know we have different styles: he’s male, more outgoing/performative, and I’m quiet and reserved and the students at this school historically had a history of difficulty with female authority, but …  ouch.

There were more “ouches.” When my spouse got the job that would take us away from the tiny town to our current big city, a friend of ours – a good male friend – said in my presence and Professor Spouse’s, “we are all so sorry that [spouse’s name] is leaving.” He didn’t mention me. Two years later, I am still so angry and upset at this memory that my fingers are shaking on the keyboard as I type. I am taking a deep breath so I can continue writing without crying.

In retrospect, I now see that our move away from the small town would form my second steps on the alt-ac path. Yes, my husband has always supported my desire to be a professor. Maybe with time and a different school students wouldn’t ask that I teach more like my spouse (and I still don’t know if they knew that we were married; we have different last names) and would accept my own, different (and still emerging) teaching style. Maybe, maybe not.

But I was tired of trying to keep up. Tired of adjuncting and having half of the pie, of feeling like an imposter because the structures of the system in place made it impossible for me to contribute as fully as I’m able. I was tired of walking the talk and acting the part when he has the full-time job, with the publishing, service, and teaching responsibilities, along with the full-time salary to go with it. I have the same training, the same basic abilities, and were I still a traditional adjunct academic, would be doing some of the same work (teaching, publishing, if not service) for a tiny fraction of the pay my husband receives. I am tired of it, and for the love of God, once in my usually pretty laid-back life, good and angry about it too.

Maybe I feel too entitled, maybe there is something wrong with me, but some how I doubt it. Somehow I think it still gets back to sexism, and that I, as a woman, as a mother, have the right to want my own life too, my own career on its own merits. I know, now, full well that women can’t really “have it all,” but I wish I’d tried harder, applied to some of those one-year fellowships, etc., before I decided to leave academe. As Sheryl Sandberg says in Lean In, I leaned out before I leaned in, and doing differently (as Robert Frost would say) might have made all the difference. I’m angry at myself for not knowing this earlier (even though I think my husband knew it without thinking; I can still hear the incredulity in his voice when I told him I hadn’t applied as widely and numerously as he’d thought I had).

I wish I’d known all this a long time ago. I wish I could write a letter to my younger self and tell myself that marriage to a fellow academic just might be worth it (since I do love my husband, despite what you might be guessing after reading the foregoing), despite the cost of doing what I thought I loved. I wish  that when a female advisor told me that being married to a fellow academic in the same discipline is “really, really hard,” I would have had a clue what she meant by “really hard.”  I don’t know if I would have believed any of it, but maybe I would have been better prepared.

The “Right” Post-Ac Job and the Big Picture

Tonight I read a recent post over on the excellent website/resource “How to Leave Academia” about “What is the Right Academic Job.” The post bemoaned the impression that seems to be creeping along in post-ac and alt-ac circles that one should find the right kind of non-academic job, one that’s not only one that’s well-paid, with benefits, but that it makes full use of the impressive skill set a PhD is supposed to bring to the world outside the academy. The post also suggested that the stories of people just starting out on their post-ac paths were somehow not getting quite the same press coverage. This post in particular, and this blog in general, is trying to be an answer to that call.

Thankfully, the post by JC led me to breathe a much-needed sigh of relief, since I’ve spent the previous long while worrying a bit that my own current work as a part-time evening library circulation supervisor isn’t making enough use of my skills. Yes, I get to work with interesting people and train them (which is kind of like teaching). And frankly my geekier side loves the techiness of the library – ILL library codes and MARC catalog records are a little bit like knowing a secret code, after all. But I don’t do much writing, research, or analysis, and I do miss that. (Thankfully I get a bit of that in my other part time job, and that keeps me sane).

I wonder if the skill-set in question has to do with what might be called the Big Picture.  At a recent meet-up with folks from the Versatile PhD board, one attendee mentioned that in her current stop-gap job providing customer service for a large company, she’s realized that she doesn’t like solving short-term problems that take five minutes to figure out. She’d much rather work on assignments that look at the Big Picture. As I recalled the conversation later to my Professor Spouse, I thought it made total sense. Doctoral candidates and professors are all about the Big Picture: we plan our research and writing projects; we organize and plan our courses.  It’s big picture and small details all together. We set goals that can take weeks (in the case of an assignment), months (in the case of teaching a course), or years (in the case of a dissertation) to achieve.  What I’d ultimately like to find is a position that allows me to use these skills on a similar level to what I’d be doing as a tenure-track professor. And I think the lack of Big Picture thinking is what might make some post-acs and alt-acs wonder if a job is the “right” kind of job.

The more I think about it, though, I need to remind myself that a job is just one step on a longer career path. (Not to mention that I just had a baby nine months ago, and she’s not in daycare).  My position and title (should they even really matter) might be very different twenty years from now than they are now. As old as the mid-thirties might sound compared to if I hadn’t gone into my doctoral program and had started regular work in my mid-twenties, I still have a good twenty or thirty years of work ahead of me which might lead eventually to more Big Picture jobs.

I do think the literature (blogged and print-published) about post-ac job searches can give the impression that one might be able to jump from finishing the dissertation to a major management position at a company or organization, and in some cases, this might be true.  My own experience over the course of the past year has been of a much more middling nature.

In the past year, in addition to having a baby, I’ve had a few job interviews, including one at the bottom of a totem pole, doing very basic work digitizing and scanning documents, and one at the other end of the very same totem pole, as the head of that department. Neither was a great fit: as Goldilocks might say, one was too hot, the other too cold, and neither resulted in an offer. The second job opening, at almost the top of the totem pole, would have been a dream alt-ac job, one that was connected to my academic field and drew on my alt-ac work experience. It would have been the kind of well-paid, difficult, challenging Big Picture job that made for the capstone of any career, and I would have been quite happy to tell strangers what I did for a living. Obviously, I was not well-enough qualified in terms of years of experience for it. I think I knew this from the outset, but I was honored and thrilled to get a screening interview with the recruiter, and also a first-round telephone interview with the company. The interview showed me something that might come as an unpleasant truth: it take a few years before I’ll be ready, from an employer’s perspective, for the kind of job that will most fully engage my skills.

I’m still building those skills, and that might mean I’ll have to be more selective about the kinds of jobs I apply for: ones that are neither too hot or too cold, but that fit well enough for now, and will eventually lead me to a job where I can do more Big Picture work. But for that, the baby has to be older, the resume has to be longer, and the timing needs to be right. In the meantimes, I’ll try to blog more about the semi-trenches (because really, my own trenches could be a lot worse) of the early phases of alt-ac career life, so that these stories of people just trying to figure life out still get told.

The challenges of social networks

I’ve been thinking about two types of social networks these past few days, both the modern social network, such as Facebook or Twitter or Google+, as well as the traditional social network, the one that sociologists have known about for years. This network exists primarily in the real, physical world, although it now overlaps into the digital.  This network consists of the people we known, who influence the places we shop, eat, drink, worship, educate our children, vote, and complete a host of other social tasks.

Thus far in my “ac-ac” life,* my active networking has involved people either rooted very firmly in academia, or those who are definitely more post-ac than alt-ac.  In a recent helpful blog post, the editors at How to Leave Academia have created a helpful distinction between the phrases post-ac and alt-ac. Their lengthy post suggests that post-ac is further removed from the academic world, whereas alt-ac remains in the orbits of the academy. As I try to sort out where I fall on the -ac spectrum–realizing of course that this sorting-out is a work in progress–I’m aware of how much I’m leaning toward alt-ac. Academic librarians, museum workers, university center directors — these people have been or are on my list of who I’d like to talk to.  And each one gives more names of people to talk to who also fall on the same spectrum.

I do think I am more comfortable in alt-ac than post-ac, at least at this juncture. If my social network is keeping me networked-in to the academic world (roughly defined), that may in fact be for the best. Temperament-wise, I already know it suits me. I have an easier time envisioning myself in an alt-ac role than a post-ac role, translating my skills of research and writing to the corporate world.

There are elements of the alt-ac perspective that give me pause, and elements that give me hope.  Currer Bell and Lauren Nervosa write in the article I just mentioned,

“…alt-ac is at heart scholarly. It is interested in research, publication, and disciplinary conversation. “Academic” is an active and meaningful identity to an altac person. Alt-acers call themselves “Dr. So and So” and/or identify as academics. Alt-ac has people who identify as “independent scholars.” They maintain CVs. Alt-acers often maintain a research (or R&D) and publication profile, and bring their disciplinary training to bear every day on problem sets of great importance to higher education.”

Some of this definition I am on the fence about:

  • I don’t know that I need to be called “Dr.” on a regular basis. (I’m working out of the house primarily right now. Being called anything by a live human voice is a step in the right direction!)
  • I am not sure I want to be an “independent scholar,” since that implies keeping abreast of research in my field, and doing my own research. I wonder if I’d feel better about both of these elements if I felt more freed from the idea that’s hung over my head for years, that I need to do these things to get a job! Alt-ac for me is about not having to do these things to get a job, (at least, that’s the hope), and doing them if I want to.
  • I still do have a CV, although it hasn’t seen much added to it lately.

Perhaps what I like best about the alt-ac idea was encapsulated by Brenda’s comment on the Mama Nervosa blog, that alt-acs want to “do academia on their own terms.” That I can see myself getting behind: but is it practical? Everyone would love to do things on their own terms, wouldn’t they!

These ruminations have led me astray from the idea of social networks, admittedly, except to show the degree to which the network I’m still a part of influences the current shape of my explorations.

What’s missing, in my mind, is the online piece of my alt-ac life, which is not yet connected to my real name. I find this bifurcation frustrating. I expect that this blog, as it’s currently being written, is too personal to put my name on. My @postacbooks Twitter feed, too, since it links back here.  In some ways, not using my real name has made me feel like I’m living a secret life that my family and friends, (many of whom are quite regular academics) aren’t privy to, the implication being that what I’m doing is somehow shameful (because of being hidden). That’s an implication I’d like to avoid. In fact, in a perfect world, I’d rather not feel that I ought to use a pseudonym or have this bifurcation.

(At this point, the scholar in me interrupts with a few half-formed thoughts about post-modernity, the multiplicity of the self, and “isn’t it par for the course ‘in this digital age’ to have multiple identities”, so why am I worried about this at all? Because, like I said, I’m not terribly  comfortable with it.)

If any of you have thoughts on how to navigate this divide, please share them in the comments here or on Twitter!


Obligatory footnote, since some habits are well worth keeping up:

*The phrase “ac-ac” was inspired this post at The Unemployed Philosopher’s Blog.

Hello, and welcome!

I never thought I’d start a blog about the post-academic career process. Yet here I am. I’ve had enough thoughts running through my mind over the past few months, and I feel the need to try to set them in a semblance of order. I really wasn’t going to blog, but then The Atlantic published that article about how being married helps male professors “get ahead,” and it’s spurred me to action.  The article felt very, very relevant to my own recent thoughts about an alternative academic life after the PhD.

… at faculty dinners, […] wives outside the academy explain they, too, once pursued a higher degree. Without fail, they look at you a little sadly and say, “best of luck” or, far worse, “stick with it.”

These faculty dinners are my new future, I thought. My husband has just started a new tenure-track job in a new city and state, and I am the oh-so-unfortunately named “trailing spouse.” He certainly doesn’t mean to put me in that position, but our luck of the draw has brought us here. The article hit even closer to home as it described the job searches of a husband-and-wife dual-historian couple. The similarities were too much to avoid:

He and his wife received concurrent doctorates in their respective fields, but he was offered a position first. “That meant the area she could look in shrank quite a bit,” he said, “and by then we had kids.” At the time, she was an adjunct professor without maternity leave, and so she stayed at home to raise their children. When she eventually returned to teaching, it was at the high school level.

When I started dissertation work, I moved to a rural location where my husband had just accepted a tenure-track job at a very (very) small liberal arts college.  “At least it’s a job!” we told ourselves. Over the five years we enjoyed beautiful hiking and mountain music, we had a child, and I finished my PhD. I applied for academic posts, certainly, and I received a few interviews over the course of as many years. But when one of us, in this case my spouse, became the first to receive a better offer elsewhere – and in a large Midwestern city with plenty of schools and cultural institutions no less – we jumped at the chance.

Two years ago I received my PhD in religious studies, one of those humanities fields where full-time jobs are scarcer than adjuncts. Our daughter is now three years old, and we have one more child very much on the way.  I’ve worked from home and I’ve adjuncted online and on campus as much as I could given my former rural location, but now that we’re here in the big city, I’m ready to try something else.

This blog will be a chronicle of why I got into academia in the first place, why I’m looking elsewhere for career options, and of the post-ac job search process itself. My life as part of a dual-career couple with a child certainly plays a role, but there are other reasons, too, for looking for a post-academic career, among them my own growing disenchantment with the academic life. If you’d like to read along to find out where I’ve been or where I might be headed, I’d be happy to have you here! And perhaps one day I’ll answer the question of what to do with all the books I collected over the years…