Day 1 of Beyond the Professoriate is Career Day, and it involves four panel discussions, each with four PhDs as panelists. We like to think of this as the day of informational interviews, sort of. Attendees will get to hear about what our panelists do, how they got there, and any advice they have for others traveling similar paths.
What makes this day so great is that panelists can offer personal glimpses into what it took for them to get where they are now. Some may speak to the emotional aspects of their journeys, and share anecdotes about challenges we wouldn’t otherwise know about. We like to keep things informal on Day 1; don’t be surprised if no one uses PowerPoint!
If you take a look at our speaker bios, you’ll notice that the vast majority of our panelists are working in fields that require them to draw on “soft skills” (terrible term!) rather than particular PhD-level technical expertise or scholarly content knowledge. The perhaps non-obvious connections between our panelists’ graduate school experiences and what they do now is common among PhDs working beyond the professoriate. And really, within it, too!
We’ll structure each panel the way you’d expect: After a brief welcome, we’ll give each panelist a few minutes to share their story in whatever way they deem best. Then we’ll have time for Q&A and discussion. Since we’ll be gathering online, the way attendees participate is by using the built-in Question feature in GoToWebinar. (More information about how the heck a virtual conference works is available here.)
I, for one, am excited to learn about what connections panelists see between their work now and their graduate experience, what energizes them about their jobs, and learn about the particularities of their journeys. I know from working with clients that every journey really is different, but there are similarities: personal reflection, tons of research including informational interviews, and then applying and networking like a pro. The details are fascinating, and attendees will leave Day 1 full of new insights, and feeling motivated to launch or continue their career explorations. Fun!
Read about Day 2 here.