Real World vs Academia, Lose lose?
April 14, 2006 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Is the choice between academia and “real world work” a lose-lose situation? Is it possible for someone with a BA in English to transition into PHD programs involving poli sci, government work, public policy / advocacy thereby offering non-academic options?


I am 24 years old and graduated undergrad in 2004 with a BA in English. As a junior, I began to look at my professors with a mixture of awe and envy. It just seemed they lived the life – pursuing teaching and scholarship that allowed them to tackle important questions of art, learning and society, while (it seemed to me) affording them a flexible lifestyle (hey, teacher’s are still the only ppl who get summers off). When I approached my profs about me going to PHD English programs, I received a LOT of enthusiasm. I struggled a lot from a young age as I come from an immigrant and difficult socio-economic position. The idea of the academic life, getting paid to go to school / teach– This was a beautiful dream for someone like me to harbor. My “dream” was then cemented – I was going to study to become an English Prof.

When I graduated undergrad, I was quickly swallowed up into the world of corporate work as I needed to help support my husband while he went for his MFA. For about the last two years, I have felt psychologically tortured for not “doing something with my life.” I kept thinking about doing the work required to apply to schools, but I was working a really stressful job that made me really unhappy, and I was coming home tired and in a bad mood all the time, so I put it off, procrastinated on grad school while shouldering a growing mountain of guilt, fear, anxiety.

Now, that I am doing background research on grad school, I am feeling those same feelings again with diff reasons. I knew the academic job market was bad, but had no idea how bad (esp in humanities as we all know). Ppl in their late 20’s, early to mid 30’s with no jobs, and living a life of financial and professional limbo and exploitation!! My gut reaction is – I have been thru enough, dealt with enough unexpected hardship, I don’t want to do this for the REST of my life. So, I feel like I am watching the only real dream I ever had crash to bits. However, the real world of work offers little comfort. I have worked a lot of jobs – I have dealt with stressful long work days, mean bosses, mind numbingly uninteresting tasks, and the feeling that my life is slipping through my fingers while everyday my inbox fills with more new assignments. There is a growing lack of flexibility in the world of work – ppl keep work longer hours for less wages to make $$ for the corp that may or may not protect your rights / needs as an employee (but apparently universities are not much better (??) So, I wonder, is this how it is? Is there no way to make a decent living and do something meaningful, worthwhile so I don’t feel like I have grown up to become a loser?!!
The world of work def doesn't seem appealing to me long term, would academia be just as bad / worse?

I tried to explain my concerns about the job market, the lack of financial security, my desire for a more flexible work/life balance, and my concern that getting an English PHD may not be the most sound idea practically speaking, to my favorite undergrad prof who had kept in touch with me and urged me not to take ANY time off and go to school immediately (adding to my growing mountain of guilt for not doing so) – this prof never returned my email so I feel even more tortured that I have gone and offended him and ruined what was a positive relationship.

So, what I am wondering of all of you is this – have others come across the same conflict between academia vs “real world”? Is the academic dream I have been harboring completely bogus? And is it possible for someone with an English BA to transition into PHD grad studies in a discipline that gives more non-academic options (with English you can only teach / write -- kind of limiting when you consider that it takes approx. 7 yrs to finish a PHD degree)? I have been considering poli sci (PHD or even MA) as a gateway to work in public advocacy, government, NGO work, while leaving the option to teach in academia if one is able to secure employment.

Since, I have spent the last two years solely working and dealing with the day to day issues of making a living without going (completely) insane, I feel I have a LOT of work ahead of me no matter which grad school direction I settle on (I am still working but in a less horrendous job). I may not get to enter a program until I am 26 (taking off 4 yrs since undergrad) – is this too much time to take off? Is 26 too old for PHD programs that can take 5-7 years?

Have other people come across similar dilemmas?

And sorry for being long, this stuff has been brewing in me for the last 2 years!!! This is the thing in my life that I think about all the time and feel guilty and tortured all the time about it!
posted by withdillemma to Education (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
First of all, 26 or 27 is not too old to start grad school by any means. There are people who go back to school much later than that. When I was in grad school, there were numerous folks who hadn't gone straight from college to grad school (like myself). In retrospect, I think some work experience is a good thing and helps prevent burnout.

I'll let others discuss the specifics of getting into a political science program. But, if your finances can bear it, perhaps you should get a job now doing advocacy work etc. This will give you a better idea if that kind of work is really a good fit for you and how you might benefit from further education.

If you live near the state capital in your state, you might want to get a job in legislative work. The not-for-profits will also all have offices near the state capitol (for lobbying purposes). It will be a real eye opener, trust me. There's theory and then there's reality. The skills requirements for legislative jobs are usually pretty flexible and vary somewhat depending on whether you work for a particular legislator or are part of central staff. There are even paid internships in some states (like New York).
posted by bim at 7:26 PM on April 14, 2006

You should keep an eye out for mid- and upper-level positions in arts associations, foundations, institutions, colleges. The combo of advanced degrees and real world management experience is very desirable in non-profit adminstration. Bonus: larger organizations pay pretty well and offer good job security, and have more women in leadership positions than the for-profit world.
posted by desuetude at 7:45 PM on April 14, 2006

About your prof: He's probably just very busy. Or was very busy, and isn't any more, but has forgotten that you emailed. Try again, maybe in the morning around 8:30 or 9:00. If you can email him just as he gets into work, he's more likely to reply. At least that's been my experience.
posted by lemur at 7:52 PM on April 14, 2006

Here's a longish response. ;)

Is 26 too old for PHD programs that can take 5-7 years?

Absolutely not! Ages of people in grad school spans the entire spectrum. You'll meet people from ALL different backgrounds, ages, etc. People who have worked for YEARS before they came back to school. People who are switching their careers entirely, too (for example, former Engineers now doing Persian literature or something). Much, much more common than you'd think. Grad school in this respect is NOTHING like undergrad.

Have other people come across similar dilemmas?

I'm in my 8th year in a humanities grad program. For the first 6 years, I thought I was the only one who fretted about all the things you mentioned. Grad school is much more of an alienated experience than undergrad. It took me that long to realize that VIRTUALLY ALL my colleagues worried about the exact same things, and just as obsessively as I did. It was a relief to realize that. Because grad school is more competitive than undergrad, these things just arent spoken about out loud as much. They should be!

this prof never returned my email so I feel even more tortured that I have gone and offended him and ruined what was a positive relationship.

That seems unusual to me; if he is at all a decent, open person, then my guess is he simply got too busy or lost track of your email. You should email him again and maybe ask to meet him for a coffee. He might be reluctant to be very open about these sorts of sensitive topics on email.
That said, keep in mind the following: having been both an undergrad and then a grad student, one of the things that startled me about grad school, was just how much about it, and about academia as an institutional system, was kept hidden from undergrads. . The happy 'lucky' profs that you meet as an undergrad, are the exceptions to the rule. First off, not all profs are even decent people - there are a LOT of assholes - and I mean easily matching anything you've met in the private sector - working in elite academic institutions. I mean nasty, nasty people. They're in the majority actually. Second: academe is EVERY BIT AS MUCH of a rat-race as the private or corporate sector. No doubt about that. All these happy profs even once they land a tenure job are not all that happy. Sure, teaching is rewarding. But if you do it every year with a full workload, it doesnt take long before you return to the SAME questions: Is this all there is? Shouldnt I be doing something more meaningful? Perhaps I should be in Rwanda helping refugees. Etc, etc. Then there's the publish-or-perish rat race which is UNRELENTING and MERCILESS. No joke. You cant escape it. Unrelenting pressure. Etc. What i'm saying is, landing a professorial job (after surviving a long, hard, alienating grad experience) is NO gaurantee that you'll feel that you're doing anything meaningful. (And I say this as someone who is relatively happy in my grad program! But the flotsam and jetsam of grad careers are all around me, we see them every day).

However, the real world of work offers little comfort.

Thats the truth, sister. Sorry to say in my experience, neither does Academe. Ie, 'rewarding' is a very subjective thing, and a multi-faceted thing. A number of different factors have to come together in a specific balance, and then maintain that balance -- in other words, its hard to achieve and fragile to maintain and thats AFTER you figure out what those things are, for you. That said, if you're unhappy doing what you're doing now, then of course you owe it to yourself to explore the options.

I began to look at my professors with a mixture of awe and envy. It just seemed they lived the life – pursuing teaching and scholarship that allowed them to tackle important questions of art, learning and society, while (it seemed to me) affording them a flexible lifestyle (hey, teacher’s are still the only ppl who get summers off).

Its true, the hours are nice. But you know what? If you want to succeed in any way in academe, in a sense you really wind up with a 24-hour job. Sure the hours are flexible, but thats cuz you are forced to be on the job continuously. Most 'successful' profs I know have severe personality disorders as a result (I'm talking about 'real' disorders -- obsessive-compulsive disorders, alcoholism, etc; and a long trail of failed marraiges behind them. True, some of them are quite normal - but I believe its a continuous battle to maintain that in this environment.

I knew the academic job market was bad, but had no idea how bad (esp in humanities as we all know).

Oh, its B-A-D. Think of the worst situation -- yes, its worse than that. That said, if you find yourself having something passionate to say, you will differentiate yourself right away. But thats why you should come into grad school with a Plan-B always at the ready, something to fall back on in terms of career and in terms of alternate plans. Its good for peace of mind if nothing else. Also, you should come into it with a genuine love of the subject, otherwise it will be hard to survive the process; and if you genuinely love the subject, then whether or not you get a job in the system, will really be a separate question, ie, you wont have regretted the decision to come.

Lastly, you might want to consider doing a public policy program (like at SIPA at Columbia). These programs are usually short (2 years) and affiliated with political science programs and other area studies programs.
You might also consider doing just a MA first, if you're interested in humanities. Its a smaller commitment up front, andyou can always apply for the phd if things go well and if you know you have support in the department.
A third option: apply for phd programs - you can always 'bail' after the masters. They always give you the masters degree if you bail.

So, I wonder, is this how it is? Is there no way to make a decent living and do something meaningful, worthwhile so I don’t feel like I have grown up to become a loser?!!
The world of work def doesn't seem appealing to me long term, would academia be just as bad / worse?

Academia WOULD be JUST as bad as the corporate world. That is my firm conviction. It would be as much of a rat race; you'll meet just as many nasty people; you'll have as much pressure; and the work will seem as endless and full of drudgery. Therefore, if you go to academia, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons that make sense in this institution -- love of the subject regardless of job guarantee, passion or originality or conviction, love of endless writing and endless speaking, etc. If you have all that, getting into a decent program is just a 'logistical' issue.

Frankly, speaking for myself, I switched careers and wound up doing a humanities phd in my late 20s. For myself, it was the best thing I ever did, in part because I did it for the love of the subject first, and deferred all my questions about the job market. I do have a fallback, too (my old career, which i can go back to). If I wind up getting a teaching job, I'll be pretty happy - but I'd also be happy going back to my old job having spent so many productive years learning all this alternate stuff. I'm more well rounded as a person and that alone was worth it, in my view. However others are not in the same situation. Many of my colleagues, for instance, DONT have a fallback option -for them its 'find a teaching job or move back in with mom'. They're in a pretty stressful situation right now.

Hope that helped; just one person's view, I know. ;)
posted by jak68 at 8:11 PM on April 14, 2006

Now, I like being an academic. But:

I have dealt with stressful long work days, mean bosses, mind numbingly uninteresting tasks, and the feeling that my life is slipping through my fingers while everyday my inbox fills with more new assignments.

This happens in academia as well. You have long work days, at least sometimes. You can have mean "bosses" of different sorts -- nasty department chairs, evil deans, provosts from hell, nasty people in the department next door, and so on. Committee work (putting together new formal descriptions of the same courses, putting together schemes for assessing different things, making small changes to a curriculum) is boring as all get-out. Going to teach the same course for the 20th time to another group of kids who mostly don't give a damn and see you as a means to fulfil a requirement isn't boring exactly, but can be disheartening and draining.

All of which is to say that when push comes to shove, it's still a job, not a panacea. Like all jobs, there are parts that rock and parts that suck and parts in the middle. If you go into it thinking that it's all big and life-affirming and noble, you're just setting yourself up for serious disappointment.

this prof never returned my email so I feel even more tortured that I have gone and offended him and ruined what was a positive relationship

I don't know this person, but surely it's more likely that (s)he just forgot, or set your email aside to deal with later and never got around to, or otherwise is not offended.

Can you get into a phd program in polisci with an English BA? Sure. If you put together a good application, which includes a solid statement of purpose about what you might want to do.

Can a polisci phd lead to work in nonprofits, NGOs, advocacy? I guess. A polisci phd will turn you into a skilled, moderately to highly numerate analyst.

If you pursue this, apply only to excellent programs. That doesn't mean excellent universities, or schools that you've heard of even, just specific programs that are very good.

A note of warning. If you're not in a good place now, and already feeling fragile, anxious, or wounded, graduate school may not be a good place right now. PhD programs tend to be austere and can be brutal -- your ego will take serious poundings on a regular basis.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:16 PM on April 14, 2006

1. Your prof would love to hear from you. We academics measure our success by the success of our students. He will have good advice.

2. The academic job market does indeed suck, and English is the very worst field. And yet, there are always jobs for the best. Are you the best?

3. What about teaching high school? Tons of jobs, in some states the money is comparable to being a professor, and a chance to make a difference. You could pick up a teaching certificate in about a year (google your state + "alternative certification").

4. Your feelings are just so typical for someone a year or two out of college. It is OK to be confused, uncertain, and scared. Life is long, and there are so many cool things to do. It is not absolutely vital that you make all the right choices right now.
posted by LarryC at 8:29 PM on April 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

I tell undergrads who express an interest in academia to avoid it like the plague unless they feel a driving desire to do nothing else. If you can't imagine yourself being happy doing anything but being a professor than go ahead and apply to grad school. It is better to suffer hardships doing what you want to do than suffer them doing something you don't even like.

(And the hardships of academia are no where near as bad as those of the corporate world. I've done both, I'll take university life over corporate life any day.)
posted by oddman at 9:13 PM on April 14, 2006

Because I have to.

Now, for the real answer. Let me tell you about my dad. He graduated with a BA in Journalism (technically A.B.J., but same diff) and worked in TV news for like 15 years. At some point, he got a job working for a city government, and they ended up paying for him to go get a Masters in Public Administration (MPA). It took, I think, a year or two of night school while working during the day, and he said he really enjoyed it. To reiterate, at this point he was almost 40 with a full-time job and two kids, yet he still went to school and (probably for the first time ever) enjoyed it.

(I wonder, if public policy work is your bag, if MPA might be a better route than the more "academic" MA/PhD in Poli Sci. At my university, they're in the same school and have a lot of overlap, just MPA has a more "practical"/applied focus designed for "the real world", while PhD is designed for being a Poli Sci professor, which I take it you do not want to do.)

In re: alternative teacher certification mentioned upthread, my dad did that too. He's still teaching, in fact, and while it's probably not the ideal job for him, there is a lot he likes about it and I think he'll be sticking with it awhile. My mom's in K-12 education too, and while it's much, much different from the college level, there are many benefits. Call the HR office of your local system and see if they'll give you some information on joining them.

One more thing -- have you thought about law school? That seems to be a common destination for English undergrads, but it's not a good fit for a lot of people. Here's a little info, though you should search for more if this is even an option. Bear in mind, of course, that law school is (supposedly) incredibly stressful.

All that said, if you feel the pull to be an English prof, go for it. I would think (hope?) that most programs would consider your situation, your circumstances, and what seems to be a (relatively) long-held ambition to teach collegians, and give you a decent shot (provided your GPA, scores, refs are good...). Don't give up if this is what you want to do. But if it's not, I hope I've helped a little.
posted by SuperNova at 9:17 PM on April 14, 2006

If you're interested in life in academia, but may be interested in research outside of English, then it might be worth looking into a PhD in some sort of business program. That seemed to be the overwhelming response when I asked this question and did some research to backup the responses. This response was particularly helpful, and if you contact the poster, he can send you some great information.
posted by lalalana at 10:23 PM on April 14, 2006

I may be somewhat deluded or oblivious, but it seems to me that most of my profs and fellow students who recently defended are pretty happy with their careers. You do have to a)really want to spend most of your time thinking about possiblity esoteric things and b)be really good at it, for things to work out, though.

I went back to grad school at 26 and then in my first semester got diagnosed with cancer - so that kinda put things on hold for a while. I didn't really get with the program unti l was 28, so I won't be really on the market until my mid-30s. but that still gives me a good 30 year career, so I'm not really worried about that.

Money mag recently claimed being a prof was the #2 best job in the nation, so I don't think it's crazy to see it as a pretty good deal. Again, I think you just have to honestly want to spend a lot of time sitting around thinking about whatever your topic of interest is. If you don't want to do that anyway, like as a hobby, then I wouldn't recommend grad school. But if you're trying to decide whether to just do it 'on the side' or to try to make a career out of it, I think the latter is a great opportunity.

might be worth considering a few fields and their relative numbers for finding a job. also worth taking into acct that as a woman you'd be flooding the market in english or comp lit, or prob even anthro/psych, but could stand out a bit from the crowd in poli sci/ philos / econ... worth noting, anyway. but first off, do what you love.
posted by mdn at 10:46 PM on April 14, 2006

I'm a marine biologist, I've always worked in this field with a brief detour into wildlife biology. "Everyone" says that it is impossible to get a job in either of those fields but it's not at all, it's pretty easy for someone who is a good fit and is willing to put in the work. If you feel that you're a good fit for academia, I say go for it. Hustle in grad school and you'll have no problem getting a position- a LOT of people go to grad school with no real goals and then can't get a job. There is a connection between those two things!
posted by fshgrl at 11:53 PM on April 14, 2006

Take it easy on yourself. :) Figuring all this out is "doing something." In my master's program, the 28-year-olds that had thought out why they were in school did so much better than the 23-year-olds that hadn't.

Working for nonprofits -- could that create the same sense of purpose & doing something with your life?

Look into masters degrees -- lots of professional advancement, much less time.

You don't need a Ph.D. to work in policy advocacy. Unless you want to be an economist at the World Bank or something.

Science programs have lots of non-teaching fallback jobs.

Law school? Med school? Sense of purpose? Better job markets?

Avoid school debt. Only consider grad school programs that guarantee you full funding. Funding is probably easier in the sciences, but I'm sure you can find some.

The academic life certainly has lifestyle perks, but in exchange, you have a lot of pressure and you're working mostly in isolation.

Also, how long are you willing to keep "paying your dues?" You'll have 6(?) years of school, 1-2(?) years of job hunting, 3(?) years as an assistant prof trying to get tenure... I rejected academia because I knew I couldn't keep proving myself for that long.

Good luck. Relax. All everyone wants, your profs included, is for you to find a career path that'll make you happy.
posted by salvia at 12:40 AM on April 15, 2006

Six years trying to get tenure in most cases, salvia. And if you don't, you're tainted goods. Tenure is an incredibly stressful, political process that, as an outsider, makes one question whether the so-called "job for life" is worth it.

Humanities professors are grossly underpaid. As a non-academic administrator at a state university, I make as much (sometimes more) as many tenured professors in English, history, etc.

Consider working at a university in a non-teaching capacity. I've worked in higher ed since I graduated with a BA, and enjoy many of the intangibles of academe without having slaved for the PhD.
posted by SashaPT at 5:19 AM on April 15, 2006

As a number of others have pointed out, the dichotomy between academe & the corporate world is a false one. Do you have to go to grad school? What's pointing you in that direction? Not sure what else to do? Think you can't get a job without the grad degree? Have some demons to slay?

I spent ~7 yrs whoring myself as an adjunct at 2- and 4-year colleges. It finally dawned on me (because I am apparently irretrievably slow) that working for exploitation level wages, no bennies, and no job security was kinda dumb. Don't get me wrong--loved it. Very rewarding, made me feel like I was part of a community (most of the time), and there were lots of students who really seemed to "get it" (a powerful experience to bear witness to).

Lots of good advice above. Don't buy the hype that a grad degree is necessary (unless it actually is). Overselling grad degrees & the academic life is the primary reason the market is so suckified.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:54 AM on April 15, 2006

Not that the job market is great (supposed to get great Real Soon Now), but it is possible to get a similar degree of academic immersion (complete with relative poverty, endless committee involvement, and exposure to shithead department heads) as a librarian in an academic library. And you'll have the same likelihood of actually having summers off (i.e. very slim).
Library school is a bit of a yawn-fest, but it is necessary (IMO) and at 26, you'll likely be one of the youngest faces in most of your classes. Plus, it'll take way less time than a Ph.D. Though you might consider pursuing an MA concurrently; a second master's degree a frequent requirement in academic libraries.
posted by willpie at 6:19 AM on April 15, 2006

My story, and then my advice:

I got my MA in English last year, from a terminal program. Like you, I had a very strong aversion to the "real world" and planned to go on to a PhD program.

But when it came time to fill out the applications, I just couldn't do it- I took that as a sign that I really needed to seriously reconsider my plan.

Did I want to set myself up for rejection, applying to 20+ programs in the hopes of getting into 2 or 3? Possibly move across the country (leaving a city I love) for school? Set myself up for more rejection in the job market? Move several more times if I couldn't get a tenure-track job right away? No, no, no, no. The day I decided to NOT apply to PhD programs was one of the most liberating of my life.

I knew, though, that I wanted to teach- that was the best part of my MA program, and one of the main reasons why I wanted to go on to the PhD- and so I got into an alternative-certification program so I'll eventually teach high school. I get to stay in Philadelphia, I now have geographical stability because my future teaching job (union, steady salary) enabled me to buy a house, and I feel I will eventually have most of the perks of the professor's life (even if that's 20 years away, it's all right with me).

My advice to you: look into terminal MA programs with teaching fellowships (so you don't graduate with tons of debt). If you like it and feel you want to continue on to a PhD program, then do it! If not, you won't have to worry about your grades so much and you'll be able to get a rewarding job down the road.

Email me if you want to talk further!
posted by elisabeth r at 7:26 AM on April 15, 2006

You can usually teach at community/junior colleges with an MA, too.
posted by willpie at 1:20 PM on April 15, 2006

Lots of good advice. I will add to the chorus of voices that are telling you to not be so hard on yourself. Most people who go back and get an English Ph.D. are as old or older than you. The intellectual and emotional maturity that develop with age are important traits to have if you are going to go the distance.
posted by mrmojoflying at 3:10 PM on April 15, 2006

Response by poster: Hi All,

just wanted to thank everyone for your time and advice. It's really nice to hear from others!! This has given me much to think about -- I will, for example, try very hard to NOT be hard on myself, and also am considering the terminal MA degree which I never really thought about before.
Thank you all and good luck to each of you on your own endeavors!!
posted by withdillemma at 4:08 PM on April 15, 2006

(hey, teacher’s are still the only ppl who get summers off)

Verify this 'fact' first (yes, I realize that you were throwing it in as a point of levity, but if it's actually a factor...) before you choose your path.

Going back to school = being shit poor for a goodly number of years with no guarantee that it (compensation and career satisfaction) will be worth the time, effort, and impecunity.

I'm not in the arts, but when I was a liberal arts undergrad at a small private school in Iowa; the arts professors loved their lifestyles; teaching and sslloowwllyy working on their little projects and occassionally publishing.

However, these were the one's who had paid their dues (ie., have a decent name) and chose the idylic pastoral lifestyle. I've also had professors who've put in an ungodly amount of time as students, finally got their PhDs, then moved from small liberal arts college in the middle-of-nowhere to (yet) another small liberal arts college in the middle-of-nowhere and then have to move to yet another...

On the gripping hand; I know a couple of phil profs who were journeymanning their way through random private schools in the midwest, met each other at my school, fell in love, got married, were actually kickass teachers and did a little publishing and got a reasonable university to hire both of them on tenure-track positions (based a lot on recommendations by peers and former students).

Best of luck, withdillemma! =)
posted by PurplePorpoise at 9:26 PM on April 15, 2006

Have you fully considered other avenues available? The private sector has lots of opportunities for people like you. These opportunities can involve research, writing, teaching, communicating, analysis, public speaking, program development, mentorship, training and so on. For example:

- corporate trainer
- human performance analyst
- technical writer
- marketing communications writer
- direct mail writer
- research analyst
- market researcher
- marketer
- marketing communications
- continuing education instructor
- community college instructor
- product trainer
- business coach
- program coordinator
- human resources

and so on.

I have a BA in English. I worked in high tech marketing and also worked as a freelance writer. I eventually became a marketing consultant who freelance writes and teaches on the side. I have very flexible work hours (since I choose them). My pay is pretty good. And I can still indulge my academic interests. In fact, my interest in diffusion of innovation (an academic communication theory) ties in to my practices in tech marketing. I haven't written much about the politics of containment in The Tempest lately, but my dedication to research, writing, analysis and follow-through remains the same. And I can afford to buy lots of books, go to plays, travel and the like.
posted by acoutu at 11:55 PM on April 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Oh, and just as evidence that you can change disciplines...I did an MBA and have been approached about doing a PhD in business. I don't have any current plans to move forward with that, though.
posted by acoutu at 11:57 PM on April 15, 2006

Picking up on acoutu, business PhDs are hot: supply (all those 70s PhDs retiring) and demand is sending starting salaries through the roof. Our new faculty are getting $100k+, plus guaranteed research funding, just out of PhD programs. if you have even the slightest aptitude/interest, it's definitely worth looking into.
posted by SashaPT at 7:05 PM on April 16, 2006

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