"So What Are You Going to Do with That?": Finding Careers Outside Academia, Third Edition

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9780226200408:

Graduate schools churn out tens of thousands of PhDs and MAs every year. Yet more than half of all college courses are taught by adjunct faculty, which means that the chances of an academic landing a tenure-track job seem only to shrink as student loan and credit card debts grow. What’s a frustrated would-be scholar to do? Can she really leave academia? Can a job outside the academy really be rewarding? And could anyone want to hire a grad-school refugee?

In this third edition of So What Are You Going to Do with That?”, thoroughly revised with new advice for students in the sciences, Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius PhDs themselves answer all those questions with a resounding Yes!” A witty, accessible guide full of concrete advice for anyone contemplating the jump from scholarship to the outside world, So What Are You Going to Do with That?” covers topics ranging from career counseling to interview etiquette to how to translate skills learned in the academy into terms an employer can understand and appreciate. Packed with examples and stories from real people who have successfully made this daunting but potentially rewarding transition, and written with a deep understanding of both the joys and difficulties of the academic life, this fully updated guide will be indispensable for any graduate student or professor who has ever glanced at his or her CV, flipped through the want ads, and wondered, What if?”

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About the Author:

Susan Basalla received her PhD from Princeton University. She is a principal with Storbeck / Pimentel & Associates, LP, an executive search firm specializing in higher education. Maggie Debelius, who also received her PhD from Princeton University, is director of faculty development and an associate teaching professor in the English Department at Georgetown University.

Review:

“And let’s not forget that PhDs looking for careers beyond academe must often overcome stereotypes associated with the three letters trailing their names. As Basalla and Debelius note, a common assumption is that ‘Academics can’t work in teams.’ Some of this caution is justified: graduate programs in the humanities have a tendency to incentivize specialization at the expense of collaboration. The more successful a student is, the more likely they are to conduct solitary research in a quiet laboratory or archive.” (James M. Van Wyck Inside Higher Ed)

“This third edition . . . is especially timely. Graduate students and current academicians are struggling, rather publicly, with the realization that a career in academics is no longer desired. . . . Basalla and Debelius have written a supportive, resourceful, and well-structured guide for the possibly long and windy journey ahead. . . . This is just the resource to help those in transition find more rewarding work that values and benefits from the academic experience.” (Africa S. Hands, author of “Successfully Serving the College Bound” San Francisco Book Review)

“Fourteen years after they first published their guide on nonacademic career options for PhDs, . . . Basalla and Debelius are back with a third edition of that influential book.” (Chronicle of Higher Education)

“This is a book I wish I had written, because everything the authors advise is exactly the counsel that I give PhDs questioning, ‘Why did I do all this research if I can’t get an academic job?’ I find this book especially helpful for anyone just beginning to think about what a big deal it is to leave academe and those who are suffering ‘PhD identity crisis.’ (Remember, your degree is a credential—it doesn’t define your capabilities!).” (Natalie Lundsteen, director of career development, Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center Inside Higher Ed)

“A smart, insightful, supportive, straightforward, and engaging guide for anyone facing the prospect of change, career or otherwise. ‘So What Are You Going to Do with That?’ is one of the most important resources that I have, and I use it daily. This time, Basalla and Debelius dare to shed light on the science career myth that a career in academic science research is a panacea. The disconnect between a PhD student’s career intentions and the reality of the academic market behooves all science students to read this book and get involved more deeply in their career development and pathway options. I wish I had written it!” (Victoria A. Blodgett assistant dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, Graduate School, University of Connecticut)

“Full of practical tips and anecdotes from people . . . who have turned academic study into fulfilling careers in everything from marketing to community building.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“Basalla and Debelius use wit, directness, and great anecdotal evidence to guide readers through the soul-searching decision to leave academia.” (Publishers Weekly)

“As valuable for its can-do spirit as its specific advice.” (CNN.com)

“[The authors] have filled this volume with insightful anecdotes, probing and worthwhile questions and a host of resources. . . for more specialized job searches. Basalla and Debelius illustrate just how skills acquired in graduate school research, teaching, and critical thinking . . . can be translated into desirable attributes of a post-academic job candidate. Hopeful, upbeat, and helpful.” (Virginia Quarterly Review)

The reference tool for MAs and PhDs considering nonacademic career paths. The guide is comprehensive, hands-on, and much needed.” (Elaine Showalter, professor emerita, Princeton University)

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