Book review – Succeeding Outside the Academy

Succeeding Outside the Academy: Career Paths beyond the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM

Edited by Joseph Fruscione and Kelly J. Baker
University Press of Kansas, 2018; 198 pages

This is a fantastic collection of inspiring and very practical essays, that I wish I’d had to hand when I was making my own transition out of academia. Think of it as your personal masterclass in finding a new career, guided by fifteen highly experienced and eloquent PhDs, who’ve each forged their own unique and successful paths out of the academy.

Each essay serves as a case study of how to bring one’s learning to life, in roles beyond traditional academia. By the end of the book you’ll understand how to get better rewarded for all of the skills, insight and expertise you’ve developed during your doctorate. As Rachel Neff says on page 60, ‘Never, ever doubt what an employer will pay for an intelligent and dedicated worker.’

Packed with actionable advice, this book also doubles up as a powerful manifesto for change: not just for personal career change, but also for how we perceive the relationship between further study and the world of work. Forget the notion of the PhD as a reliable prequel to a professorship; read this book and understand how a PhD can be the springboard for a range of fulfilling and impactful careers.

As Lisa Munro says, ‘Academia, for all of its big ideas, might actually be too small to contain you, your talents, and your dreams’ (page 50). Think big, be bold and draw on these inspirational essays as you build a new career beyond the academy.

This collection is essential reading for all those pursuing a PhD, as well as doctoral supervisors, university careers advisers, and other professionals working in the modern knowledge economy.

You can buy Succeeding Outside the Academy from the University Press of Kansas’s website, in paperback, hardback or e-reader formats.