I hear the academic job market is even worse than usual this year, so let me take a minute to tell you about the wonders of "academic adjacent" jobs.

This is a fuzzy term, but I'm talking about jobs at universities or elsewhere that are academic in nature but not faculty/tt.
These are people who do some or all of the same things that tt folks do, but whose focus is more applied because they work in govt or non-profit or at applied research centers. People who conduct lit reviews, collect & analyze data, and publish findings - just not as faculty.
I also include people who provide high level support for teaching/research at universities - people who work in educational development and program evaluation (like me!), people who support the writing of grant apps, people who create curricula and lead programs, etc.
These are more common roles than you'd think, & they can be WONDERFUL for people with PhDs who like research/teaching but don't necessarily want to go tt. In many cases you still get to work with great academic freedom & independence, which was a big factor for me when searching.
I also love that the work I do now is so applied! I love having a small population of interest & drawing data directly from them when I need it. I love knowing that the results of my work are being read & quickly put to use. I love having the answers to real, concrete questions.
It turns out I also love working with academics from other fields, with different perspectives and skills. It has been fascinating and extremely rewarding to get to know a field completely unrelated to mine, and to bring a little piece of my field to them.
And this might be an unpopular opinion, but I LOVE being staff instead of faculty. I love turning my computer off at 4:30 pm and feeling no pressure to answer emails in the evenings or write on the weekends. I love the level of work-life balance I've been able to achieve here.
Also, even industry jobs can be ac-adjacent! I was recently offered a f/t job with a company I've been consulting for, and part of their offer was that I could allocate time to research & publishing in academic journals. Perhaps a rare opportunity, but I'm not so sure about that.
Anyway, I'm writing this thread not to brag about my job, but to spread the word that the tenure track is not the only place where you can conduct rigorous, important, interesting research. It is not the only (or maybe even best!) place to use your teaching and research skills.
And the line between academic and non-academic jobs is not as clear as you might think. As a grad student, I always thought of jobs as either "academic" or "industry", but look closely and you will find roles that straddle this line or defy it entirely.
In other words: you don't know what you don't know. Get out there and explore your options even if you think a tenure-track career is right for you. You may be surprised at what you find!

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