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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“I Quit Academia,” an Important, Growing Subgenre of American Essays

By  Rebecca Schuman
Slate's Culture Blog
Originally published October 24, 2013

But there’s an important way that Ernst’s essay distinguishes itself: Most I Quitters are like me, which is to say failed academics, or like Lord, whose disillusion hit her midway down the tenure track. Ernst is part of the sub-subgenre of quitters who did the unthinkable, giving up tenure. He joins, for example, scientist Terran Lane, who left the University of New Mexico for Google, and writer Anne Trubek, who ditched idyllic Oberlin when freelance writing was able to pay her bills.

It is still exceptionally rare for a tenured academic to publicly and voluntarily leave the field. (To understand the way the concept is viewed by academics, please say that phrase aloud the way you’d say “contract syphilis.”)  Despite their widespread and documented unhappiness, most associate professors (the rank one achieves upon being granted tenure) stick it out until the end, for numerous reasons.

The entire blog entry is here.
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