Finding Life After Academia — and Not Feeling Bad About It – NYTimes.com

Finding Life After Academia — and Not Feeling Bad About It – NYTimes.com.

The market in my field (eighteenth and nineteenth century British Lit) is very poor this year. Fortunately I am also able to market myself as a digital humanist. My ideal job would be a dual hire in which I teach in my area plus work on creating digital collections. I do have programming and statistical skills,  so I can do some of the big data projects; but my heart is really in creating digital collections and digital tools to help scholars have access to materials that are otherwise inaccessible. My  dream project would be to be part of digitizing the George Eliot-Henry Lewes collection at the Dr. Williams Library in London.  They were known to be inveterate annotators of their books, and to have the annotations available digitally would be a great boon to Eliot-Lewes scholars.

But right now I am feeling oppressed by the terrible job market, and the necessity of marketing myself. Academics are already prone to suffer from imposter syndrome, and being on the job market only exacerbates this feeling for me. I still also feel that after nearly ten years in grad school, I “should” try to get a “real” academic job first (i.e. tenure track assistant professor in my field), before looking for alternate careers. So even though I embrace alt-ac and digital humanities, I still feel that it is the consolation prize for those who don’t make it in academia. So mea culpa, and I will try to keep my emotions in line with my stated beliefs and commitments.

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