Philosophers who work outside of academia – Part 2

A couple of weeks ago Helen de Cruz conducted in-depth interviews with philosophers who work outside of academia. This is a selection from the interview she had with me. Helen published the complete interview series at the New APPS: Art, Politics, Philosophy, Science group blog: part 123.

Philosophers who work outside of academia – Part 2: What’s it like to have a nonacademic job?

One of the main attractions of an academic job, especially one of a tenured academic professor, is the autonomy (intellectual and in terms of time management) it provides. However, there are downsides as well: the increasing pressure to churn out publications (which some of the respondents already alluded to in part 1, lack of support, and isolation lead to mental health problems in some academics. So how do philosophers with experience in academia and outside evaluate the work atmosphere?

How does a nonacademic job compare to academia?

How does a nonacademic job compare to an academic one in terms of climate, opportunities, work-life balance? Most of my respondents compare their current work very favorably with their experience in academia. Nonacademic work is more result-focused than academic work, which relies on metrics of what individuals achieve, rather than what a team can produce. […]

Claartje van Sijl (self-employed counselor) thinks academia and being self-employed is very similar in the autonomy and flexibility one has. She adds “Maybe being self-employed is a little bit more family friendly compared to academia regarding the scheduling of symposia, colloquia and the like, especially if you include the necessary networking during drinks afterwards. These events are often planned at the end of the work day, so as an academic and a parent you always end up juggling dinner and bedtime. Compromising your family for networking opportunities happens more often in academia, if you ask me, but that may very well be due to the nature and scope of my self-employed work.”

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