A lot of people on dr.ofwhat Instagram have reached out to ask why I have taken a role in the industry, and to be honest there is not just one answer. There are many reasons why I am leaving, and none of them are particularly juicy, this is most definitely a “I hate academia” post. In fact, I love so many things about academia; I love researching what I want, being paid to be curious, teaching students, spending time on lively university campuses, getting to do media engagement, having a bucketload of agency. But to be truthful, the very heavy admin load in my current academic role has been grinding me down and has been feeling stale.
I have left academia before and as I have written in a previous blog post regarding my move back into academia, “I went and stood on the grass and realised it isn’t greener”. Therefore, this time I am not leaving on a search for greener pastures, rather on the search for different pastures.
I am also not really leaving for money, academia is a well paid profession in Australia, I know this is not the case in other countries, and the role I am taking is the same salary as my current academic role. However, out of transparency, the growth potential in industry and factors such as financial bonuses, are very appealing. I also love aspects of corporate lifestyle that academia doesn’t provide… long lunches, after work drinks, frequent travel, Christmas parties. I know these may wear thin, but while I am in my late twenties, I want to experience this.
I am a person that likes a professional challenge, and I have felt like I am playing it too safe. Teaching at the same university that I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at. I want to see if I can apply my psychology and research knowledge outside of academia. I want to be the best behavioural / psychology researcher that I can be, and diversity of experience is therefore key. I don’t want to remain teaching only for the next 50 years. I love teaching, but not full time, and not long term full time. I also want to be the best teacher that I can be, and hope that when I decide to return to academia full time, which I think I will one day, I will come with more experience and passion to share with my students.
Finally, I can keep doing my favourite parts of academia in my own time, as a hobby if you will. I can keep researching media and sharks, keep supervising research students, and potentially teach casually. The truth is, even in my current academic role I was doing most of these things outside of work hours anyway, so it won’t be much different.
And in terms of why now, well I felt like it was the right time.I know that a lot of higher-level industry roles require 5-10 years experience in industry, so if I want these, I need to get the experience now.