How much do you know about non-academic career options? — R Voice

How much do you know about non-academic career options?

Mriganka Awati
Mriganka Awati Member Posts: 6
edited July 26 in Academic Careers

Dear RVoicers,

When I first saw the results of the CACTUS Mental Health Survey, I found it very heartening that the majority of researchers who responded found a sense of purpose/fulfilment in their work. It’s a privilege to do work that feels personally rewarding, is intellectually challenging, and aligns with the higher goals and values you have in life.

But as all of you know, the survey also highlighted less-than-ideal aspects of working in academia. Fewer than half the respondents were satisfied with their career progression. And while many were open to exploring options outside academia, only a little over half were aware of what these options were.

What makes matters worse is that the stigma associated with leaving academia is deeply entrenched in many academic cultures worldwide. So, even those who are interested in trying out a different career path—for whichever reason—may find it extremely difficult to take that leap.

I’m not a researcher and don’t have a PhD, although I’d aspired to get a PhD and become a scientist after post-graduation. But even for me, it was initially hard to close the door on this path. I wondered if doing so meant admitting failure. I can imagine how, for someone who has several years of research experience under their belt, choosing to stop pursuing academic research may be far harder to do!

Things have been changing though. More and more academics are boldly venturing into different avenues and guiding others who are considering switching tracks. Three such individuals have shared their journeys, experiences, and advice with us on Editage Insights. If any of you is curious about non-academic career options, do read these interviews here.

I’m sure you’ll find them very helpful. These interviews are part of an ongoing series, and we have a few more lined up with people who work in other sectors. All of these individuals are truly inspirational.

I believe a key message to take away from the series will be this: It’s not about whether a job is good enough for someone with a PhD, but what value someone with these skills and experience can bring to a job and how that value is recognized. And if no ready path exists for you, you carve one out for yourself.

How much do you know about non-academic career paths? Is there any which you've always been interested in but hesitated to explore? And if you've made this transition yourself, what advice would you give to those who're considering doing so?