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)
- ‘Project Management as a career path for PhDs’, which I wrote for Nathan Vanderford’s excellent site Integrative Academic Solutions
- ‘Deciding who to work for: finding employment outside academia’, which I wrote for the awesome website How to Leave Academia
- ‘Preparing for life after the PhD: retrain your brain’, which I wrote for Eva Lantsoght’s blog PhD Talk
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:
- Chris Humphrey: interview with Jen Polk, over at From PhD to Life
- Chris Humphrey: interview with Dan Mullin, over at The Unemployed Philosopher’s Blog
I hope you enjoy reading/listening; message me to tell me what you think!
Over 300 visitors to Jobs on Toast in August 2012, wow! Thanks to everyone who’s been in touch with feedback and comments: it’s really appreciated!
- Lots of UK university careers officers have been in touch about linking to Jobs on Toast; welcome to readers from Southampton, Brunel, London Metropolitan, St Andrews, De Montfort, Swansea Metropolitan, Manchester Metropolitan and Aberystwyth universities! Also to readers from the Open University!
- David Drysdale has been in touch to let us know about his site Alternative Academic Careers. David provides a handy list of sites for academics who are interested in expanding their field of options, and who want to branch out into non-academic work. This whole area of ‘alt-ac’ is one that I hope to explore in future posts.
- Thanks also to James Mulvey of selloutyoursoul.com and Karen Kelsky of theprofessorisin.com for posting links to Jobs on Toast on their Facebook and Twitter pages; the careers content that these guys are putting out is just fantastic! Check out my review of James’ awesome e-book How To Find a Career With Your Humanities Degree in 126 Days, which should be on everyone’s reading list!
So until next month, I hope all goes well with your research and job-hunting!