After; and before?
Since graduating I've become what they call an 'independent scholar', meaning I currently have no academic job but still have the irrational desire to do research. I'd certainly like to be a dependent scholar, but it turns out they don't hand out jobs with your testamur.1 Who knew?
So there are things I need to do. One is to keep an eye out for jobs. In Australia, we don't have anything like the AHA interview-fests, which sounds like a slightly terrifying (if hopefully worthwhile) experience for recent/almost graduates. Nor does Britain, as far as I know. So job-hunting is presumably less seasonal. We do have the usual job search sites, such as UniJobs.com.au and jobs.ac.uk.
Once into the job application and interview process, one useful site to keep an eye on is the Academic Jobs Wiki, especially the history section. There are also places to share good and bad interview experiences, or simply to vent. The entries are mostly about North American universities, but it being a wiki there's no reason why that can't change.
The other thing to keep doing is writing and publishing. Part of that is knowing which journal to submit to, and part of that is knowing how long it takes for them to get your article through the review process. It's not something journals advertise on their websites (and understandably so), so the only data seems to be anecdotal. Which is why I was glad to stumble across the History Journal Response Times wiki. It might have saved me some grief had I known of it earlier!
Finally, an inspiring blog I recently discovered is Nicholas Evan Sarantakes' In the Service of Clio, which is aimed at providing advice to history graduate students on the subject of career management. It's all there, from choosing a university, to conference strategies, to having a life. For me, the best posts are the numerous guest blogs from people who got their PhDs and then got jobs, mostly outsidetraditionalacademia. So it can happen.
I'd be glad to know of any similar resources I might have missed.
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Brett Holman - 12/28/2009
Thanks, Anthony. I completely agree about the value of a research blog: in fact I've been running one of my own for over four years now, Airminded.
Anthony Vaver - 12/23/2009
I hold a Ph.D., earned an M.L.S., and then worked as an academic librarian for many years. I stopped working a couple years ago in order to work on that book I always wanted to write. After spending a year in near isolation as an independent scholar, I decided to start a blog, so that I could share my research and writing more easily.
I have been writing and publishing EarlyAmericanCrime.com for over a year now, and I have found it to be a thoroughly rewarding experience. I highly recommend pursuing this course of independent publishing for scholars--independent or otherwise.
In many ways, blogs are the perfect venue for scholars who hold jobs outside of academia, but want to continue researching and writing about their areas of interest. My blog has opened up lots of opportunities for me, many of them unexpected. An as an added bonus, after a year of writing my blog, more people now read it every month than probably will read an article that I might publish in a scholarly journal over its entire lifetime.
If you are interested in pursuing this line of scholarship, I created a website to help scholars get started called TheDigitalScholar.com. It includes advice on how to get a blog up and running, as well as includes examples of other scholars who are doing interesting scholarly work with blogs (by the way, I am interested in adding to this list, so please contact me if you own or know about a blog or website that should be included).
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