Post-PhD Employment

I was in my second year of university when I first thought, “Wow, being a professor would be pretty cool.” I started looking into what the job of a prof was like noting that finding a tenure track position was becoming progressively more difficult (this was over ten years ago). I went to grad school knowing that there are more people with PhDs than there are tenure-track jobs. But I thought I wanted a PhD anyway.

I endeavored to apply to Masters programs in order to see if a PhD would be possible given the academic skills I had. After a year of unsuccessful attempts (which I documented here), I was accepted to three schools in my second round of applications. I applied to PhD programs at the beginning of my second year and was accepted over the winter break.

The statistics about acquiring a tenure-track position have not improved since I was an undergrad. Data from 2011 indicates that 18.6% of those with a PhD hold a full-time professor position: this is not the same as a tenure-track position.  Nearly 40% work in higher education in other capacities, some as part-time professors. This means that when I (finally) complete the eight stages of my degree, I have less than a 20% chance of being employed full time as a professor (that is, if my disability and chronic illness can even be accommodated because I truly have no idea). I have been told by faculty (ones not on my committee, even!) that I have the skills and knowledge to become a prof; however, I have no control over the hiring market.

In short, I really have no idea what I will be doing when I’m done. I’m going to see if I can get a post-doc or a tenure-track position, but I know the odds are against me. At the same time, I know I am suited to work in policy, government, editing, and copyediting based on my degree and how I am employed currently. To be honest, I’m not sure if I care all that much so long as I’m making a living wage: money is needed to exchange for goods and services after all.

The following is a list of job/career choices I may be considering for after my defense. I’m not sure if I should call these ‘dream jobs’ or ‘dreaming jobs’ as some of them are probably not very economically viable. But if you know me, you can probably see me doing these things:

  • Expert cat herder
  • Dog walker
  • Doggie daycare owner
  • Often-swearing-while-recording craft vlogger
  • Redesigner of thrifted clothing
  • Tea blender
  • Cactus and succulent breeder
  • Band-aid tester
  • Giant dinosaur sculptor
  • Closet and cupboard organizer
  • Children’s book author
  • Coffee taster
  • Ostentatious outdoor holiday decorator
  • Chronic illness advocate
  • Snow fort construction worker
  • Bookshelf organizer
  • Dinosaur- and animal-themed furniture and homeware designer
  • Pillow and blanket fort technician
  • Bumble bee trainer
  • Personal shopper
  • Macro photographer
  • Themed party planner
  • Blanket merchant
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2 Responses to Post-PhD Employment

  1. Y Vermeer says:

    I think the pillow and blanket fort technician is the one for you! (Great realistic read thanks!)

    • l0rend says:

      Thanks! 🙂

      It seems cat herder is winning the unofficial poll, but I’m going to formally ask folks on social media now and see what they say!

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