I am a devout reader of Dr. Karen Kelsky’s blog The Professor is In (which I’ll take the liberty of abbreviating to TP). TP focuses on career advising for people in the academic and, especially, those in or considering post-academic careers, i.e. getting off the tenure-track hamster wheel.
I am not in a doctoral program, nor (partly in thanks to what I read in Dr. Kelsky’s blog) am I likely to ever apply for one. I have, however, worked in higher ed for several years now, including working today as an academic librarian, a job market which shares many dysfunctional features of the market for PhDs. I take a keen interest in understanding the peculiarities of the world inhabited by the faculty my colleagues and I work with, and Dr. K offers an unvarnished take that her readers desperately need.
In her most recent post, “Why You Need a Five-Year Plan,” Dr. Kelsky exhorts readers to draft a formal plan for the next 5 years of their career, to help them stay on track in meeting their goals and checking off the many boxes on the tenure-track applicant’s “Must-Have” list. While I’ve drafted rougher versions of such a plan like this over the years for my own career, Dr. Kelsky links to a helpful template based on a plan drafted by one of her PhD students. I’ve added drawing up a structured table like this for my own career to my action items for this week. I imagine many others will find the idea helpful too.