Monday, July 27, 2015

Out Of Academia

I will get back to this at some point!
Over the past several weeks I have noticed that many of my friends are leaving academia. It seems to be a nearly daily occurrence on my Facebook feed to see someone leave an academic or research institution for positions in finance, sales, and other, completely unrelated, fields. Having been in that same situation myself, I know both the pros and cons of that field and while there are many great benefits derived from leaving academia there are also a number of things that I miss on a regular basis namely the time and freedom to think, debate, and explore.

While I have enjoyed my career beyond the studious walls, there are times when I think about the work that I was able to do and the pieces I was able to publish. Those are the times when I miss the long days, late nights, and piles of rejection letters. It is a life that is fueled by the occasional kind note, acceptance letter, and rare inclusions in literary journals. And, at least for me on the literary side of things, it is a way of life that is disappearing and is rarely provides a means of financial support. This is the primary reason that I have heard from those leaving academia and it was my reason as well.

Many of us who have departed continue to find small ways to remain active in this unique world. When I first left I continued writing and submitting to publications keeping the daily routine of rejection sprinkled with acceptances. Since those early days on the outside, I did stray from writing and research for a little while but, since then, I have slowly come back to those relaxing and stressful habits.

The industry in which I now work does provide a little bit of the same feeling that I would get in academia. I still write for clients and seek inclusion in a variety of publications… a completely different set of publications but the process is quite similar. However, it has been the personal projects that have brought me back to those productive days namely researching my family and keeping this daily blog.

Even though the results are completely different from what I used to produce (and definitely less polished), I am back in the process and have a daily routine that combines my previous life with my current one. With that said, discovering where I come from, exploring who I am, and sharing both my discoveries and opinions is proving to be just as fulfilling as the work that I once produced. Maybe someday I can even go back to publishing but, for now, I will simply enjoy the process.