Railroad tracks in different directions.
Often, I get asked to talk about how I have the career I have now as editor of Women in Higher Education. Folks often want an easy story of point A (Religious studies PhD) to point B (editor and writer). They expect it to be linear and simple to follow. One thing lead to another and suddenly I have a new career that pays a fairly decent wage. I just shifted from one career to another. Easy peasy, right? Um, no.
I tend to subvert those easy stories that folks like to tell about their transitions outside of the academy. Rather than telling a story that wipes out my failures and focuses on my successes, I talk about how I struggled. Struggle is the one word that I would use to describe my career transition. I struggled for years to figure out what kind of career I wanted to have, how to get to that career, and then find my way to a semi-permanent gig.
My career is a hodge podge of gigs that I have pulled together after years of effort and the luck of the draw. The gigs change each year. Some gigs disappear. Others I let go. Then, I find something to replace them. Sometimes, I don’t.