Reminder: Non-Academic Hires List

In light of anticipated pandemic-prompted reductions in academic hiring, I was asked to remind readers of the Non-Academic Hires page.

[František Kupka, “The Musician Follot”]

Created back in 2014, it’s a place where those with graduate training in philosophy can list where they’ve found work outside of academia. The aim of the page is to both recognize the sucess of those hired and to provide examples of possible non-academic work for current and former philosophy graduate students looking for employment.

If you are someone with graduate training in philosophy hired during the past few years to work in a non-academic position, please share that information in the comments on that page. Thank you.

Related: Grad Programs and Non-Academic Careers; Supporting Non-Academic Careers;  Duties to Graduate Students Pursuing Non-Academic CareersProgram Funds Non-Academic Internships for Philosophy PhD StudentsNew Site Interviews Philosophers With Non-Academic CareersProfiles of Non-Academics with Philosophy DegreesAPA Issues New Guide For Philosophers Seeking Non-Academic Jobs

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Eddy Nahmias
3 years ago

Thanks Justin. I hope people will add to the list and departments will let their students know about it, as well as this useful guide from the APA:

a.r. thompson
a.r. thompson
3 years ago

Thank you for trying to help!

For those visiting, I hope the advice/pages/etc. prove beneficial!

For what it’s worth, I have never found that the advice amounts to much more than: (a) there is non-academic work for which you can apply, (b) others who have had some graduate-level philosophy training have applied for and landed non-academic work, and (c) some are pleased with the non-academic work that they are doing. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I’ve been at it for five years now with nothing to show.

Further, some of the advice actually manages to increase anxieties and depressive moods due at least in part to (a) the fact that most of those relating stories about their success graduated from top-tier undergraduate and/or graduate schools, (b) most of those relating stories of their success have found work in fields/areas that sound awful, (c) most of those relating stories of success seem to have come from/etc. a higher SES than myself (and others in similar circumstances), and (d) most of the non-academic work that individuals claim to have found requires significant technical skill(s) that I do not currently possess. So, fair warning.

I’m not sure how to improve the advice. I am also not sure who cares to hear this. I just wanted to note frustration with the advice as I currently find myself looking for new-gigs to replace the two I recently lost. To be clear, I’m always carrying workloads from approximately 4 part-time academic/non-academic positions–usually across at least 3 different institutions.

In any case, like I said, thank you for the help and the conversation!!! take care.

some postdoc
some postdoc
Reply to  a.r. thompson
3 years ago

A.R, I’d like to second, particularly, points 2.a and 2.d, which I appreciate you raising.

3 years ago

I am a philosophy graduate. I have had a job as a school counselor since 2012 – 2016. I left the job and moved to a different country. Continued gaining more training and experience while also venturing into Agribusiness. I came back to the job position and was accepted due to the experience I gained. I am now a professional counselor guiding high school students on their higher education and study abroad issues.

Current PhD student
Current PhD student
3 years ago

I’m going to risk doing the thing that encourages anxious and depressive moods for people whose experience is different than mine. Number 3 might be hard for some people, but number 1 might be helpful.

1) When interviewing, I have found people (HR reps especially) like demonstrations of independent initiative (the kind grad students have when we write papers), as well as enthusiasm for team-based work environments that involve lots of everyday coordination and communication. If you can demonstrate being a team player (which means, usually, knowing when to keep your mouth shut and just doing the thing that needs doing), you’ll grease the wheels a bit. They also like to hear about your style of conflict management–it helps to have a success story or two about a conflict. Oh, and being a TA (managing students, managing student complaints, lecturing and grading, dealing with a manager/instructor who communicates harshly, inconsistently, or inappropriately) offers a wealth of experiences that people would like to hear about. From an HR perspective, this constitutes a lot of “client services” or “vendor relations” experience to reference in an interview as long as you sell it that way.

All of this language grosses me out btw, but we need money and no one deserves to be forced to adjunct or take any position that has been created in order to be thrown away (even though technically that’s all positions).

2) During the summer, I prioritize finding temporary administrative work in the same field where I used to work before starting grad school. So my real resume (not my CV, because no one knows what that is) continues to be updated with recent work experiences.

3) I worked in an administrative environment for three years before going to graduate school. Three years of post-college administrative work experience has been THE boon for finding summer work during graduate school. No one cares that I study philosophy, but they like that I have 3-5 years work experience, and the recent dates of the summer jobs keep me looking fresh. Remember: no one knows about philosophy besides us, they don’t care about it, and they don’t really want to hear about it. My strategy is to talk about my academic life in the same way I talk about it to my family, which is to say, I pretty much don’t talk about it. (No one in the family has gone to grad school or have a sense of what academic life is. They all give me flack because I don’t have “a job” during the school year, which is just to remind us that academia makes exactly zero sense to people who aren’t in it.)