When I listen to stories of post-PhD transitions, whether in the context of various communities in which I participate or in the context of coaching conversations, the theme of silence and isolation comes up quite frequently. Very often, those going through the process of leaving academia or maybe entering that pre-contemplation stage and weighing up their options feel quite alone and made to feel like their situation is somewhat shameful and so at odds with what their career path “should” be; as in, relentless forward progress towards academia. This is regardless of the increasing awareness that non-academic careers for PhDs are the norm rather than the exception, as discussed in a recent Times Higher Education article which argues that it is only 1 in 10 PhD graduates are likely to work in academia so non-academic roles shouldn’t be perceived as a consolation prize. Getting to that mindset shift may take a while and so I really appreciate what feels like an underground movement online of sharing post-PhD stories through podcasts and wanted to share with the readers of jobs.ac.uk blog a couple of recent additions I really enjoyed and which others may find helpful on their journeys.
The recovering academic: The first episode aired in August this year and there have been four episodes so far, a combination of practical career advice such as identifying transferable skills or preparing job application materials suitable for non-academic roles as well as more personal stories of post-PhD transitions. These accounts have focused on reasons for leaving academia, including the ins and outs of the decision-making process. The podcast is produced by a team of three PhD graduates, two of whom left academia within the past year and so the experience is still quite fresh and that certainly has influenced the shape of the podcast and will be something that should resonate with a lot of others in a similar situation. At the moment, the career advice and the issues discussed are most pertinent to those within the US graduate system and so some of the career advice may not be that relevant to UK listeners, however issues around personal transitions should be universal across the board.
PhD career stories: The first episode aired in July and there have been seven episodes so far. Once again, the podcast combines personal stories of post-PhD transitions and practical career advice through the “tips and tricks” episodes which include managing online presence and undertaking an inventory of skills. The team behind the podcast are located in Sweden and so understandably so far the transition stories have focused on Swedish PhD graduates but it does look like the creators of the podcast have ambitions to reach out to a broader European audience, given the choice to broadcast in English. The episodes are fairly short (maximum of 20 minutes) but fairly informative and I found the inclusion of transcripts really useful.
It would be great to hear from others to see if I missed any recent additions in the podcast landscape!