I decided to look for non-academic jobs for two reasons. The first is that I tend to perform best when I’m busy, and being on a dissertation fellowship did not make me busy! I’ve actually written more of my dissertation since I started working full-time than I did before.
Secondly, I wanted to know if I would enjoy a non-academic career path. If I did, I figured that non-academic experience would be valuable since academia is a shaky job market these days. A good teaching job is by no means a guarantee.
And sure enough, I love this job. As of today, I still plan to enter the academic job market at some point, but I no longer feel stressed and anxious about my employment prospects. IdealShape has a fantastic working environment, I enjoy my coworkers’ company, I’m well compensated, and I’m learning more about my job every day, which is very important to me.
I am so happy that I decided to give this career path a shot. I am much more relaxed, productive, and happy since I started this job. My advice to other academics out there: If you have the opportunity, give a “regular” job a chance. You might find that you like it, and even if it’s not right for you long-term, you’ll gain experience and earn good money while you work.