…The Academic Vs Non – Academic Battle: Part Two

Part Two:

E ku le o ni be ye o!

That’s Yoruba for hello!! A very bush* way of saying it I am sure my friend, @Kunbilicious will say.But bleh…It’s the part of Nigeria I’m from. Apparently, we aren’t so “exposed” LOL.

Thank to you my readers in Nigeria, all over 💋

Before we dig in, I want to get some congratulations out of the way first..

  1. Dr Dipo Awojide
  2. Dr Olu Famuyiwa
  3. Dr (Dr) Ameh Omede ( lol, he is a medical Dr and now, he also has a PhD…!)
  4. Dr Dipo Adewale
  5. Wing Commander (Dr) Ehimen Ejodame

Verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry excited for the journey you are about to embark on.✌❤💋

( Lol, btw, they are all men – I’m sure I’ll have something to say about that in a separate post LOOL!)

RECAP: Sorry, Part Two is coming a bit late. I have been writing my life away LOL. So, Part One of the post looked at  who you are after the PhD. This post will consider some of the points from Part One, but, look at it from a career perspective. Thus:

The Academic Vs Non- Academic Battle: After the PhD

Congratulations – You have finished the PhD now, you are embarking on the next battle….to find a job. Sigh. It is almost like finishing your first degree..fresh out of school and looking for that graduate job..and getting a ton of rejections. SIIGHHH

Anyhow, that is not the focal point of today’s post. There are a few common misconceptions about the PhD that I’d like to bring to the forefront. Then, I’d like to inform you that it is in fact, rubbish!

  1. PhD/Doctorate Degree/Dr Fola/Dr Tom = Academia. Once you have a PhD, you are automatically enrolled for a life in Academia.
  2. Not embarking on a career in academia with your PhD means you are somehow a little less worthy of the title.
  3. Since you have decided to go into industry or, a non academic environment, what was the point of the PhD in the first place?

I am sure I have highlighted this previously, but in case it didn’t hit home hard enough or, I was not as clear, I am going to draw out some noteworthy points.

  1. It is OK to decide that academia is NOT for you.  The PhD is a versatile degree that can be transposed into ANYTHING, ANYWHERE and ANY FIELD. A life in industry is an ALTERNATIVE – it is not a LAST RESORT.

Listen boys and girls. The truth of the matter is academia is not for everyone. Not everyone that goes down the PhD route is destined for a life of teaching. It is actually a good thing because there are a limited amount of jobs there anyway!  But job spaces aside, academia still isn’t for everyone.

  1. Just because you decide the academic route is not for you, this DOES NOT MAKE YOUR PHD ANY LESS WORTHY!!!  I have a few emails that touch on this point and I have had this discussion so many times with my colleagues. The decision to choose industry over academia doesn’t make your degree any less important than the person who has a corner office on the ground floor with a mountain of books. You will only see that however, when you realise that the non academic route is not, a “failure route.”

You my friend, might end up on the 6th floor of a verrrry nice building, in an “industry related” environment. The bottom line in both these examples is this:

The job role may differ, but both the non academic and the academic ends up with an office with a view(depending on your position lol..) and are both addressed as Dr! Stay with it baby girl. Academia is not for everyone.

  1. Believe it or not, there is a growing need for the presence of PhD holders ( well me, almost mate..) in non academic settings. Listen son. I personally have seen job adverts which specifically require someone to have a PhD in a particular area. And, it is not academic related. Some Bank of England jobs for example require the candidate to have a Doctorate. Unless you’ll be teaching them at BoE about statistics, i can safely say it is not academic based. There is a life beyond the prospects of a career in academia.

4. You do realise that whether is a academic or non academic setting, YOU ARE STILL going to be called DR right? Sorry, I am just checking.

5.The PhD is for life – No one, not even your supervisor can take that from you!

6.The PhD qualification opens up doors, definitely. I mean, the purpose of you doing it in the first place is for you to have options right? Remember your three years in study means you are still cut from a different cloth.

As a result of the PhD you have so many transferable skills. ( Goodness, I hate that term LOL….it sounds so..ugh, anyway.) Your analytical approach to situations are different, your ability to pay more attention to detail is also sharper. You can utilise these skills in any setting.

Baby girl, the “options” post PhD stretch beyond the academic setting.

*

I am not an art person – but even I know that this image above speaks volumes. Take a minute or two to reallllly look at this picture. I think if you do, some of the points I am making and some of the other things I say below will really hit home.

As I mentioned in Part One, this post was inspired by a tweet/discussion a few weeks ago. I went on to read the post which brought out some important issues. I have tweaked them a bit but substantially, the points remain the same.

A professional with a PhD
For a realllllly good understanding of this concept, I would really urge you to look at Jobsontoast.com as this blog reallly goes in on this topic. Little me, I am just going to add my 2 cents on the matter.


What if I want an academic job, but can’t get one?

**

This is a tough one but I will try my best to address it because I think it’s a real question. If you go into the PhD hoping to get an academic job but you don’t, it is not the end of the world. Similar to this post ” PhD is not a passport to Professorship you need to have a real conversation with yourself and really prepare your mind in deciding to do the PhD. It most definitely is NOT a passport to Professorship, so you need to prepare for the instance that the academic job does not happen, immediately, or at all.

The first goal you have when you start the PhD is to finish the PhD. The Dr title only comes when you produce work as evidence to justify your entitlement to the title. Your second goal is to position yourself so that when you have achieved the first goal, (finishing), you are in a better position to get that professorship that you are dreaming of.  I have discussed this particular point in an earlier post, see The Trainee Academic.

The two goals work together, but as the jobsontoast blog notes, the general consensus is that the result of one and of two, leads to the job. Unfortunately, this is not always correct. So while you have done all the correct things, you still need to remember that there are X amount of other people doing the same thing that you are doing and, there are only Y jobs available.

In the case that you find yourself in this situation, what you should bear in mind is this:

  1. Life has a way of making you adapt to certain or every situation. Let me put this into context. Think of a time where you were sooooooo broke, you wondered how you’d manage till pay day. Somehow somehow, you pulled through right? I personally call that the Grace of God but i won’t engage in a discussion of evolution today. The bottom line is you didn’t have a choice but you made the best of it no?

The point of above illustration is this:

In application, when you are faced with no academic job being “forthcoming”, you make the best of the situation. You don’t let your skills and knowledge go to waste just because it didn’t fall into the setting you anticipated. Suck it up and get on with it baby love. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to see that a different route to your desired route is an OPTION. It is not a disguise for FAILURE.

Regardless of the route you go down – let this stick in : You are a Professional with a PhD. Because, (..and I hate to start sentences with “because” by the way but I feel it’s necessary..) this is what you are.

I hope this has all made sense today. Feel free to say if it doesn’t. I’ll curl and hide away if that is the case lol.

Keep your chin up!

✌💋

** Images are from the lovely and every trustworthy Google 🙂

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