I saw two interesting articles passing by on Twitter.
A manifesto on leaving academia (I’ll refer to this as the “con” manifesto)
Because No system defines me (I’ll refer to this as the “pro” manifesto)
With only one year of experience in how academia functions, I was very interested in reading these statements from authors who have spent more time in academia and I thought it would be worthy to share some ideas on this. Continuously, I am asked what my future plans are, and if I’m pursuing a PhD as part of an academic career.
After one year, a year that was filled with tension because of the coming reorganization and shady political moving and gossip, I think I have seen a glimpse of what the author of the con manifesto means. Mostly, I was left outside of the discussion since I am only on a temporary contract and therefore not invited to discussions about the future of the department (we could argue about the validity of this statement too). But, I could capture the overall feeling of discontent that was wandering through the hallways.
It wasn’t creating a nourishing and future-oriented vibrant atmosphere at all, only the opposite.
However, I find the following words from the pro manifesto very inspiring:
Because all the trauma of a system amounts to what makes me rise above it
Although I depend upon persons which have suffered badly from the management decisions taken last year, and my working pace in the lab has been slowed down because there are less technicians available now, I still feel that I have control over most of my project. I still feel that I am the engine itself, and can take my project to the level I dream to take it, if only I push it hard enough into that direction.
I’ve also encountered the feeling, during the past year, that you are never alone in academia. As part of a rather small research group, I feel sometimes isolated. Through exchanges, conferences and social networking, I discovered the possibility to share my ideas, both on the contents of my research and the process of doing a PhD.
As food for thought, I would like to quote these statements, again from the pro manifesto:
Because my acknowledgment rests mostly in the truth of knowing who I am
Because in school I am only limited by my own lack of questioning
The question whether I want to stay in academia or not, is yet to be answered. But with more than 2,5 years of PhD left, it is too early to predict what might happen in the future.