23 August 2017

Goodbye Academia: The Need for Speed

One big difference between academia and the rest of the world is the speed on how things move. When I was in academia, projects moved at a glacial pace, with job hunts taking a year to complete, papers taking a couple of years to publish, and so on. Outside of academia, projects move faster than that. Heck, it is quite normal to have a project run in a time frame of a few days to a week or two at most. Life moves fast outside of academia. And this is something that people wanting to leave academia need to get used to.

In almost every interview I had, I remember being asked this question. Recruiters are simply worried whether someone who is used to a slower pace of work can cope with a faster speed. So instead of perfectionism, pragmatism is valued here. Because sometimes you just need to come up with something that works. Coming up with the best isn't the focus sometimes.

For example, I got involved in a project during my first week in my new job. And by the middle of the second week, that project was over, and I was starting a new project. My output for the first project was already in someone else's hands, and I won't see it again. This is something rare in academia, where it is more typical to have multiple rounds of work, which at times can be frustrating, because sometimes it feels like a moving target.

Anyway, if you are an academic, and wanting to get out, a change in mindset is needed. Embrace it. Because as much as academia might be the venue where vanguard strides are made to further human knowledge, from a procedural perspective, academia is rather medieval. On the first two weeks in my new job, I came to wonder many times why I stayed that long in academia. Because honestly speaking, life outside the ivory tower is more exciting in more ways than one.

4 comments:

  1. Arghh! In my case, I've been a capitalist slave all my carrer (am a banker, btw) and now too chicken out to move to another field :((

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    Replies
    1. Ceritasikiky,

      If you're happy with your current career, then why not stay? But if not, then perhaps a sense of adventure is needed?

      Delete
  2. Consider to what happen in my country right now, it's not that bad. But as what you wrote, life outside the ivory tower is more exciting

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    Replies
    1. Ceritasikiky,

      I am not saying life is always better outside the ivory tower, there are some trade offs, but I suppose everyone values something different.

      Delete