Conclusion: Evaluate Your Opportunities
Select the career you'd like to try next

  • How to Evaluate Your Best Opportunities
  • How to Decide What Career Path to Try Next
  • How to Manage Self-Doubt and Impostor Syndrome
  • Develop a Strategy for Telling Your Advisor About Your Decision to Leave Academia

About this lesson

One of the biggest mistakes we see PhDs make is that they try to apply for any and all kinds of jobs that look interesting. They’ll apply for a job in student affairs, another one in data science, and a third in project management.

The problem with this approach is that professional careers are highly specialized, each with their own tools, discourses, and practices. Employers will expect that you’ll spend a few months getting up to speed with how things work in their organization, but they’ll also assume that a new employee will know the basics of their career field.

That’s why you’ll need to spend time reading yourself into a new career field—learning about the tools people use, how you’d approach your work, and maybe even creating a portfolio. Plus, you’ll need to build a network of professionals who can guide you during your job search. It’s a lot to do for one career field and impossible to do for multiple pathways.

This lesson will guide you through the decision-making process so that you can choose a career you’d like to try next. As you make your decision, consider where you want to live, who you plan to live with, your financial goals and needs, and anything else that is important to you.

Workbook Activities

This lesson covers pages 88-118 in the Evaluate Your Best Opportunities Workbook. You can also use the Take Notes widget to complete these activities.  

  1. Based on your research, select 3 career opportunities. For each career opportunity, write down the motivators and values present in this career, the skills required for this career, the training and experience you need to enter this career, the compensation provided by this career, the work culture of this career, and the number of job opportunities available in the city you live in. Which career opportunity provides the path of least resistance?
  2. Write down any negative self-talk you find yourself experiencing. Beside it, write down what you would say to a friend if they shared that negative self-talk with you.
  3. If you decide to tell your advisor about your decision to leave academia, write down a script of what you will say. Outline your next steps. Be clear about how your future career connects with your training and education.

Do you have a question for the Beyond the Professoriate team? Send us an email

Conclusion: Evaluate Your Opportunities

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