This thread is in response to a poster's request. Please post any comments here related to non-academic jobs. Thanks!
Sonoma State University. The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies has an assistant professor position #103075, salary range approximately $55,800-58,000.Position area should include policing as well as one or more of other areas: research methods, theory, delinquency, introduction, law and others that will complement the department.A Ph.D. is expected to be completed by the beginning of the 2009/2010 academic year. A.B.D. candidates will be considered.Applications must be sent electronically by Nov. 3, 2008. Applicant information, a complete job description and submission guidelines are on the web at www.sonoma.edu/aa/fa.For further information e-mail Patrick Jackson (email@example.com), Search Committee Chair. The Department web site is at http://www.sonoma.edu/ccjs/.
This discussion doesn't exactly seem to be flourishing, so I'll post something general, in the hopes that people will respond. What kinds of non-academic jobs are people considering? Where do you look for them?
I've applied for a number of non-academic positions at non-profit research and governmental organizations (CDC NCHS). Some of these jobs were posted on the ASA job bank, but I found others on job search engines with the search terms "sociology phd"
I am limited in my job search to a particular geographic area that happens to have a large number of non-academic positions. There are a couple of R1s (aside from the one I attend) within about an hour's drive. What, in others' opinions, are the benefits to an academic position over a non-academic one? The non academic positions seem to pay better (80 or 90,000 to start). But my advisor and others in my department are pushing me towards academia. I do enjoy teaching. On the other hand, the tenure clock thing seems designed to induce early heart failure.
Just to protect anyone named Joshua who fits the description of the previous post: my name is not Joshua. Someone else was logged into the computer before me.
I am considering non-academic jobs. The main reason we are pushed toward academia, as far as I can tell, is that it brings more prestige to the department. Other things probably matter too, such as our mentors being more familiar with academia and that they feel favorably toward it.We hear that you have more autonomy in academia and you probably do, but the hours for assistants are insane so I am not convinced the autonomy (i.e. work at night and on the weekends) is worth it.Question: What is the time line for non-academic jobs? six months prior to graduation? More?
I think the timeline varies by employer. Some of the employers who posted general ads in the ASA Job Bank and interviewed at ASA and other conferences (e.g., APPAM) are looking to recruit ABDs now for next summer/fall. On the other hand, I have seen some more specific positions where the employer is looking to fill them immediately. I've been fortunate to have working experience in a non-academic research job (a think tank) while in grad school, which helped me to put things in perspective. Sometimes when you're in grad school it's hard to realize that there's a whole world out there--parts of which can be very exciting and rewarding. I know many Ph.D.s in sociology and other disciplines (econ, psych) who have very happy and productive careers in non-academic settings and are involved in professional associations and present at conferences. For those who are interested in cutting edge social science research methods, some non-academic jobs would provide an opportunity to learn and keep up to date on those methods more than perhaps a more teaching-oriented college would. There is also the opportunity for a lot of excellent mentorship at the right place. And, of course, the salaries are definitely much higher than assistant professor salaries.On the flip side, in non-academic jobs, you don't have as much control over your research agenda and that the work is mostly applied (e.g., evaluating the effects of a policy) rather than basic. I also think it's important to realize that there are many different flavors of applied work--at one continuum there will be research and writing, and the other there will be project management and budget preparation. Some career trajectories will blend both. I think the important thing is to find out what type of job would make you most happy. Just my thoughts...
I guess I'm not sure what will make me happy. As I see it now it breaks down like this:Think tank: regular hours, higher pay, less stress BUT less control, less creativity, little chance to work with students or teachR1: more prestige (which matters little to me), possible tuition reimbursement for my kids (my oldest is in high school--yes I was a child bride), opportunity to control research agenda, opportunity to teach and mentor BUT very high stress for the first 6 years, lower base salary forever, multiple obligations to juggle (teaching, research, committee work, advising)Local university: similar pay to our local R1s with lower pressure to publish BUT enormous course loads with huge classes, still expected to do research, but how? and no tuition help outside the state system.SLAC: more or less the same as above, but with fewer students who may be more motivated, plus potential for more tuition helpThen of course one has to consider the culture of each individual place--are people collegial? family friendly? collaborative? content?This kind of inner debate makes me wonder why I switched careers. I LOVE sociology, but I'm beginning to understand why some people just stay in grad school for 10 years.
I worked in non-academic research during a leave of absence from grad school. My experience was that the experience varied significantly depending on where I was working. I worked for a think tank where the entire focus was on getting grants and publishing. Publish a crappy article in a crappy journal? Fine! Get a grant for something you can't realistically do? Fine! I hated it.I worked for a large non-profit research institute and was bored to tears with nothing to do. The pay was great, but all I ever did was supervise telephone interviewers and write procedure manuals.Finally, I worked for a think tank which was focused on my sub-field. I loved working there. I was able to set my own research agenda within the scope of the organization. I received support and mentoring from my supervisor, and the pay was better than an academic job.The two key things that motivate me towards academia now are the tuition benefits for dependents (i'm another child bride with a kid in high school) and the teaching. If I could teach and work for a think tank that paid enough to cover tuition, I would do it in a heartbeat.
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Thanks 8:55, for reminding me of the diversity of non-academic research jobs. I worked in international development before grad school and what I hated was how trend-driven it was (and how short-lived those trends seemed to be). Every time the head of the organization had a brainstorm, we all had to scurry about and revise our work to make sure it addressed this new, priority concern. It was incredibly stifling and I know I don't want to go back to doing that kind of work. But something else more applied than academia, but with some freedom, would be ideal.
I too am struggling with whether to go the academic or non-academic route. I do know that I definitely do NOT want an R1 and would prefer a smaller university if I were to go into academia. However, this past year has taken a toll on my passion with teaching, as I struggled with teaching, taking classes, working on my prospectus, plus working on 3 other projects. At this point, I am craving an 8-5 job and would not mind monotony! I plan on applying to a handful of postdocs, in addition to government positions (Census, NIH, CDC, etc) and think tanks. What think tanks have you all worked at or are applying to?
Any way we can open a thread for post-docs?
Like many posters to this thread, I am ambivalent about academia and am applying to both types of jobs. I would be interested to hear thoughts on whether taking a non-academic job effectively closes off academia forever. I'm sure it varies with the specifics of the job, but let's say I worked at a think tank or at a university center for a couple of years in a staff, rather than a post-doc, position. Would I have a chance on the academic job market? Perhaps at lower tier schools, or those that have a more applied focus?
To 11:56...I think the answer depends on the discipline (sociology or public policy). I think working in a non-academic job for a couple of years definitely does not close off the possibiity of getting an academic job in sociology. You just have to use your free time wisely to finish papers, etc. I think staying there for 10 years would foreclose academic sociology as a career option. However, if you're thinking about academic jobs in departments other than sociology, then I think it's a very different situation. It is very common for someone whose been in a non-academic job for many years and has built a reputation in policy circles to get an academic job in a discipline like public policy. There's quite a bit of exchange between schools of public policy and reputable non-academic research organizations. I'll never understand why a sociology department would devalue someone with a great deal of real world working experience and excellent research skills who was looking for a career change. It doesn't really make any sense.
I'm contemplating grad school in Sociology (with interests in culture, economic, and organizations) but I'm curious about grad students' perspectives about the possibility of non academic career tracks. Although I think academia could suit me, I'm curious about my other "outs" with a Sociology PhD. I'd love to hear your opinions on this...When you applied to grad school, how confident were you that you wanted an academic career? Or were the posters on this thread pretty sure they wanted to get a PhD but pursue non academic careers before starting grad school? If not, why the shift?Does anyone know about the prospects of PhDs transitioning to management consulting, such as Mckinsey, BCG, etc? I've come across people who were management consultants that later went into Soc. grad school, but was curious about the other way around. What are the factors that contribute to a Soc PhD's success in breaking into the non academic career market? Are those factors different from the factors that'd help you land a R1 academic position?Finally, would being an ABD necessarily be a disadvantage in the non academic market?Thanks in advance for your comments.
November 5, 2008 5:49 AM I have applied for the largest, 'centrist', think tanks - Brookings, MPI, Pew, and Urban Institute. The pickings are slim among liberal/progressive think tanks since they are smaller and not as well funded. I'm sure there are more opportunities with the larger conservative think tanks (e.g., AEI, Heritage, Cato, etc.), if that's of interest to you.
What are the liberal/progressive think tanks?
9:56 AM - There aren't many big ones - but off the top of my head, Center for American Progress, Institute for Policy Studies, Child Trends, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Worldwatch Inst., etc.
And the New America Foundation...
I've no experience in non-profit research institutes.But in for profit research companies, anyone who is a serious researcher will soon feel like they are stealing money. Because the research is crap, absolute, 100%, grade A crap.Not because of lack of skills or insight: most people where I work know it is all crap.Now, don't get me wrong, there is legitimate stuff going on, like surveys, developing software and such.It is just that when it comes time to writing something up and getting the results out there, the people for-profits are trying to impress are not other researchers and academics, but public bureaucrats.So its not that you have a great publication at a great journal, or that you found some nuance in the results that leads to interesting theoretical contributions.It is all about the number of publications and the most basic results possible (is policy A good or bad).
The research might be crap, but at least you are treated like a human being, have reasonable hours, are not treated like a teenager, have benefits, some stability, and so on.It's a trade off one has to make, the research will be more basic, but you will be more in control of your future.QRC, Mathematica, Macro International, WRMA are all places that hire loads of sociologists, are fairly easy to get into, and do very diverse work, although the above caveat applies.
I'm beginning to pursue the non-academic job market and have a few informational interviews set up to get my feet wet. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I should ask?
what are QRC and WMRA? thanks.i just finished my MA and am pursuing the phd and am more interested in the nonacademic side of things so i'm researching options early.
QRC= Qualitative Research CentreWRMA= Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc. These are some of the places that hire sociologists to do research. These two are small, but often hire grad students.It is all about methods, though. Sociological theory is next to useless.Macro and Mathematica are much larger than the two companies, and have lots of offices spread around.
Does anyone know the typical timeline for getting a federal government job? If you expect to defend in June when would you apply?Thanks!!
My job search next year will have to be geographically restricted and I'd like to expand my search beyond academica. Do any of you know of any think tank, non profit, or other research positions in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area?
Minneapolis:You might try positions with the State of Minnesota. Budgets are very tight right now, but states often need researchers in various departments - human services, health, planning. The Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis also might be a possibility. The best I can think of now is to check websites, etc. Another option is to search the University of Minneapolis - often they will have postings for research positions - these can often be multidisciplinary and use many sociological skills. Finally, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy is in Minneapolis, but I don't know how much money they have. They seem to rely on unpaid undergraduate interns for much research - I think that is just the nature of the nonprofit world. It's been a while since I've done a job search in the non-profit sector, but I know that there are websites and publications that specialize in those positions. Does anyone have links?
Since the job market is so fabulous, I thought I'd post a position that came across my desk in the non-academic world. This job would be great for someone interested in living in Boston who has grant-writing and organizing experience. I've worked with the organization and they are a great anti-war org: http://www.mfso.org/downloads/MFSO%20National%20%20Director%20Position%20Profile.pdf
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