Making the decision to leave academia can be an emotionally turbulent time. You may encounter choppy waters as you chart a new course. You may feel a lot of uncertainty.
Sometimes leaving academia is positioned very negatively. You may position it in a negative way yourself. Thoughts like
‘I couldn’t hack it’.
‘I didn’t have what it takes’.
‘I’m not good enough.’
Let’s call that out right now for what it is! Being an academic is a job. It doesn’t have to be your identity.
You are highly trained, highly experienced, and probably an all-round amazing person too!
There are other jobs you can do!
The Ship Metaphor for Leaving Academia
In the ship metaphor, you are the captain steering your boat on the seas of life.
The water represents different domains like work, relationships, and hobbies.
The compass signifies emotions that provide feedback to guide you.
Your values are the steering wheel plotting your direction.
Weaknesses are leaks in the boat slowing you down.
Strengths are the sails propelling you forward.
Weather symbolises life events outside your control.
Other boats are relationships that can aid or undermine you.
Destinations represent goals that motivate and guide you.
As the captain of your ship, how you relate to these elements influences your well-being.
1) Choose to focus your attention on what energises you.
2) Challenge unhelpful beliefs.
3) Connect to values that give your life meaning and purpose.
4) Take steps aligned with your values and goals.
You can take charge of your ship. You can navigate to a new destination. Leaving academia is not failure. It’s an opportunity to chart a new course aligned with your true north. You can weather any choppy waters, you can trust your compass, you can sail into calmer seas where you are appreciated. You can sail on to a new destination again if you chose.
You are the captain of your ship and there are many destinations you can reach.
If you need help steering your ship, I’d love to help you.
Peer Research Network
Childhood, Policy and Law Network
Optimus Coaching HUB
Charity Evaluation Working Group
Social Research Association
International Coaching Federation
Naomi Tyrrell PhD
How to Move Home with Kids