Describing the things that led her to create the Beyond Academe website for escaped or escaping academics, Alexandra Lord writes:
Students need to understand that the university is not the only place where one can live the life of the mind. Believing that myth is what leads smart undergraduates to rush to graduate school and is what prevents doctoral students from exploring varied careers with an open mind. A good start would be to acknowledge that there are many ways to live the life of the mind, that nonacademic careers are so diverse as to defy simple characterizations, and that neither a Ph.D. nor an academic position are prerequisites to writing and publishing excellent scholarship.
It is troubling to realize that so many academics seem determined to create or, more simply, maintain an artificial wall between the academic and nonacademic worlds, even when it is against their interests to do so. Equally troubling is the passive acceptance, and even nurturing, of an academic culture that tells students that a lifetime of underemployment as an adjunct or an unhappy professor is preferable to — more honorable than — life as a nonacademic.
Alexandra M. Lord, "Our Secret Nonacademic Histories," published 20120326 in The Chronicle of Higher Education and accessed the same day, at http://chronicle.com/article/Our-Secret-Nonacademic/131280/.