After a lot of talking with the spouse and thinking about what I want out of life, I have decided that I won’t be applying for any academic jobs as of now. I have begun to focus my efforts on seeking non-academic jobs in mostly corporate or non-profit contexts. I am lucky to have a number of skills honed in graduate school and in my career that translate well into practical settings. Some of my friends in other fields are not so lucky, and have slogged through the academic market even longer than I have. It has taken its toll on them, and I don’t want that for myself or the people I love.
I haven’t entirely given up on academe, but I do think it’s time to be realistic and move on. I have applied for two jobs (non-academic) already, and will likely apply for more over the next few months. All of these jobs are in extremely desirable locations relative to the academic jobs I’ve applied for, and will be much better for the spouse as he tries to redefine his career.
I told my chair that even if given a third year, I will not be staying. She seemed a bit disappointed, but assured me that she understood and wants for me to have a career commensurate with my training and abilities. I told her that I was building my escape hatch in the form of looking at other types of careers, and she suggested a couple of our colleagues who have some connections at companies that would be interested in my skill set. I do love my chair, and I am sad that I can’t keep her as my boss forever. Maybe I will luck out again somewhere else in a place that can keep me.