Choosing the Right Holding Pattern

The job search isn’t looking so great (I’m an ABD candidate in biological anthropology with big grants and first author pubs under a well-known advisor, but no takers so far). I am trying to have a number of other options explored well in advance, including collaborating on postdoc fellowship applications.

However, if nothing comes through by this summer, what is the best thing for me to do for the next year? Should I: 1) attempt to cobble together some adjunct classes? 2) try to get a nonacademic job that pays better (say, as a statistician at the Department of Labor)? Or 3) live off my parents and my small savings and just focus on publishing my dissertation results and other papers? I am feeling rather defeated, but I’m not ready to break up with academia.

First off, thank you for submitting this question, dear reader! Others reading this now: Have a question? Please send it to me at

Now, to respond: All three of these are legitimate options, and I’d need to know more details about each to help you decide among them. For now, let me tell you what issues you should consider when choosing. <Read more.>

Via Karen Kelsky, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Vitae.