leaving academia

The nosedive

For my whole youth, I was spending most of my time reading books and going through thousands of textbook assignments. In the end, after twenty years of torturing myself with books, articles, and never-ending assignments, I realized that being an egghead doesn’t really prepare you for life in the real world. So, I made a 180-degree turn: I took a dive from the ivory tower straight to the street level.

High-flyers

When working with academics planning their first post-PhD jobs in the industry, one pattern keeps coming back: the more accomplished the person is in academic terms, the more difficult time they have with finding their first jobs outside academia. The underdogs on the other hand — the early career researchers who are nowhere near that accomplished, and who are often disrespected by their bosses and considered poor academics — are much quicker and more accurate in finding their next career paths. Often happier there as well.

These dark hours

The peak is so close; glowing somewhere on the horizon, yet looking like a fata morgana – step after step, and you do not feel like you are coming any closer. I felt exactly the same way while approaching the peak of Kilimanjaro in 2013. I am making this last effort in order to finally submit my PhD thesis now. And this will happen in literally a few hours. I expected it would feel orgasmic, but instead, it feels like a sad relief. Yet, I would like to capture this moment – just for the sake of memory. Maybe one day, I would get back to what I felt when I realised that all this tantalising pain is finally over.

The Tragedy of Commons

The year of 2009 was groundbreaking, for at least two separate reasons. Firstly, on January 3rd of 2009, the genesis block of bitcoin was mined. Secondly, on October 12th of 2009, Elinor Claire “Lin” Ostrom has became the first woman awarded with a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, “for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons”. The clue of this work is a phenomenon known in economy as the tragedy of commons. This phenomenon occurs when a group shares a resource, but at the same time, every individual acts on their own behalf, which is often against the common interest of the community. Can we spot the tragedy of commons in academia?