Academia is broken. The time to leave it is now. If you don’t leave, you will be poor, mistreated, and unhappy. There’s a myth in academia, perpetuated by other (mostly unhappy) academics that says you can only be a successful PhD if you become a tenured professor and continue to publish in academic journals. This myth survives by encouraging young PhDs—postdocs and PhD students—to look down on anyone who expresses a desire to leave academia. As a result, a kind of feedback loop is created in academia. Once you’re in the system, the system keeps you there by weakening your mind and eroding your confidence.
You’re told over and over again that nothing else but staying in academia is respected. You’re told over and over again that you can’t do anything else—that there is nothing else. The academic system makes you so dependent that you get used to being treated poorly. You get used to your advisor yelling at you or making you feel small. You get used to believing that there’s nothing else for you in the world. Then, you wake up one day in the middle of your seventh year as a postdoc living in a one bedroom apartment with your family hoping the government will approve you for 12 more months of food stamps. This may sound harsh but it’s reality. There are real people facing this reality—real postdocs and PhDs that I know and that you know too who are waking up every day broke and afraid. Ignoring these facts will not make them go away. Hiding from truth will not protect you from this future. The only way to protect yourself is to take steps to change your situation right now. <Read more.>