This piece shares three common responses to my news of leaving academia:
- “Good for you. I wish I could leave.”
- “You’re so brave.”
- “That’s a really big decision. Will you be ok?”
I also share my emotional reactions and processing around these responses, which truly surprised me.
More than anything else, I learned through announcing my decision that I’m not alone in struggling with higher ed. I explain in the article:
“In story after story, I’ve learned that I’m not alone in experiencing frustrations with overwork and burnout. I’m not alone in struggling to address rape culture, accumulating microaggressions, the trauma of graduate education, and other injustices in academe. I’m not alone in experiencing various pushes away from higher ed and pulls toward something else, especially public writing and community education. Only when announcing my decision to leave did I hear others’ stories and realize that, truly, I am not alone.
It was only after announcing my news that other academics opened up to me about exploring options outside higher education but keeping this exploration quiet for fear of how colleagues might react. I hope that sharing these three common responses might help other academics bolster their own courage to talk about career decisions and to make announcements. For if we are to follow our commitments, we need courage — regardless of whether we stay or go.”
If you mentor others, if you’re interested in better supporting colleagues, or if you’re engaged in career exploration yourself, I hope you’ll check out this piece.
It appears at a time when I’m gearing up to launch my first e-courses. One is a 40-day practice on strengthening emotional literacies to counter white fragility, starting March 6th to align with Lent. The other focuses on the subject of this essay and others in the “Outside Higher Ed” series.
Titled “Career Discernment for Academics: Aligning Career with Commitments,” the e-course will offer self-paced study through a range of contemplative practices and writing exercises as well as one-with-one coaching.
I’ll be publishing the e-course page with more information soon!
Though the course begins on February 19th, it can be taken anytime. It will make use of my Inside Higher Ed articles, offer learning modules with recorded presentations, and suggest a range of career discernment practices. There will be options to meet in one or two 50-minute coaching sessions to talk through your questions, experiences, and goals, too.
For now, if you’d like to know more, feel free to email me with your interest or with questions about the course. I sincerely hope that this e-course, like this new piece in IHE, invigorates meaningful, commitment-driven career conversations.
This post is written by Beth Godbee for Heart-Head-Hands.com. For more posts like this one, you might try “Deciding to Leave Higher Ed: Strategies for Career Discernment” and “Planning a Career Change in 3 Stages.”
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