Saturday, October 16, 2010

So Glad....

Last night, I had one of those moments where I thought how glad I am I left academia and joined the State Department.

A friend from my dissertation program wrote on her blog about the current job market in academia. She said she thought she would be able to apply for four positions this year...that in years past, the number of available positions were in the double digits. Now she is faced with having to continue being an adjunct, with little pay and even fewer benefits. She said she made more twelve years ago as a secretary than she is as an adjunct college instructor. She is also looking at post-docs, which are temporary, and may not pay enough to justify a move. She has even been looking for non-academic jobs, but not finding them.

She finally says:
"Grad school is looking appealing again, which is absurd. I really wish I had not pursued my interests, but instead got a degree in something lucrative and kept happy with hobbies."

She is really good at what she does...she should have been able to find a job.

They just don't exist.

So who is to say one would have existed for me?

And I think about the timing of my joining the service. About how easy it was to join...ridiculously easy for someone who never even considered the Foreign Service. Like it was meant to be. Yes, I believe in that sort of thing.

And like I said the other day when I got an invitation to apply for a tenure-track position, I am getting paid far more than I would have in academia and am looking at a cool job living in Europe rent free for the next three years.

So glad I joined the service!


Anonymous said...

I want to first thank you for your heartfelt blog as it has been extremely beneficial and eye-opening to those like myself in the middle of the FS application/testing/OA process. I, too, am in the midst of a choice between a life in academia and the Service and am leaning heavily toward the latter for a number of reasons. I feel for your friend: I completed my PhD several years ago and after nearly 5 years of applying to hundreds of university jobs, I received an adjunct position this year.Such is the fate of those that still believe there is a new world to be found behind the walls of intellectual curiosity.Indeed, the role of State and Embassies the world over may be slightly isolationist, but imagine trying to teach the importance of reading and writing in a lecture hall where 80% of your students find answers on their "smart"phones. Keep inspiring us, Digger! Thank you (and its equivalent in Estonian) from a Carolinian.

International Librarian said...

Thank you for this post. I am very sorry for your friend and know quite a few people dealing with this issue. As a recent PhD grad about to join the Foreign Service (in one week!), I have no regrets about not working in academia.