In case you missed it: the May edition of my email newsletter is out and includes a link to download the awesome e-book From Scholar to Dollar. Written by Dr Anna Harrison, this beautifully designed transition guide is hugely informative, great fun to read and it’s free! I also report back on the two conferences I attended in April, where I ran sessions on making the transition into careers outside academia.
I started Jobs on Toast because I wanted to give something back to the community for which I still feel a strong affiliation, 13 years on: PhDs and post-docs.
It’s my belief that everyone who embarks upon the massive challenge of completing a piece of cutting-edge research should feel fully supported, both during their research and as they launch their career. While many universities do an excellent job of taking care of their PhDs, we know that some of our peers will find it a struggle to complete their dissertation, and to navigate the job market post-PhD.
So through Jobs on Toast I’ve shared my experience of forging a successful career outside of academia, as a PhD in Medieval Studies. I try to pass on the lessons I’ve learned during my own transition, as well as linking to stories and advice from others who’ve made the same journey. Over 1,500 readers a month are now benefitting from reading the blog!
But there’s so much more that can be done to support PhDs and post-docs from outside of the academy. There’s already a solid range of books to help researchers with completing the PhD and with post-PhD careers. It’s been great to see many former academics and business professionals start to offer consultancy services to researchers and university departments (see my post on How to get help and advice when applying for jobs outside academia). We need to cultivate these productive partnerships between researchers, universities and entrepreneurs, to ensure that the very best resources are available to all PhDs.
That’s why in early 2014 I’m launching a new initiative called ‘PhD Springboard’. PhD Springboard will aim to connect individual PhDs directly with a global community of experts who can offer them help and support. There are already lots of great blogs and websites which share free information and enable PhDs to help themselves. The next step is to build a one-stop shop where PhDs can find an expert who can help them with:
completing their dissertation;
firing up their motivation and enthusiasm;
boosting their chances of landing a great job inside or outside of academia.
The first version of PhD Springboard will be launched in early 2014, as a set of pages within my blog Jobs on Toast. The intention is to grow the directory to the point where it can become a stand-alone website. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments about PhD Springboard.
As well as writing my regular posts for Jobs on Toast this year, I’ve also written guest articles for other blogs and websites serving the post-ac community. There are some great sites out there which I’ve been really pleased to write for, so I hope you find these links useful:
My very own ‘Week in the Life’ series: five posts giving an insight into my day job as a project manager at an ethical bank. Written for Michelle Erickson’s fantastic blog PhDs At Work (in my view the No.1 site for post-PhD profiles)
I’ve also given two interviews this year about my transition out of academia, which may help you when deciding on your own future path. If you haven’t done so already, check out the following interviews: