• Amba Brown

A Job Doesn't Have to Be for Life

Updated: May 20, 2019

No matter what move you are making, there will always be opportunities to change the direction of your career path if you need to, writes Joseph Barber.

Many of you have probably heard the saying “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.” It is a reminder to parents to tell their children that while they may really want a puppy, they have to realize that they can’t just throw it into the cupboard or leave it lying around on the bedroom floor like their other holiday gifts when they get bored with it. Owning a dog is a lifelong commitment. The same holds true for bunnies (often purchased around Easter), for parrots (perhaps bought for a Pirate Day -- yes, there is one) and guinea pigs (bought for … OK, no holiday that I know of is strongly associated with them, but you get my point).

It is perhaps with the words “lifelong commitment” ringing in their ears, and a mental picture of their 30-years-as-a-professor adviser in mind, that Ph.D. students and postdocs often face challenges feeling comfortable making career decisions during their academic programs and training. It can be hard to make any such choice when it feels as if it can have lifelong consequences.

The good news is that whatever job you take next doesn’t have to be for life. Yes, that’s true even if you decide to pursue a tenure-track faculty career. I have met with several new faculty members over the last couple of years who have successfully navigated the process of shifting their career paths toward non faculty roles. More than likely, whatever job you choose next will be part of a career journey that takes you on a curvy path through different types of positions in a range of career fields, where your developed and developing skills and experiences are going to give you the ability to add value.

Read More via the full and original article at Inside Higher Ed Here >


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