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    Samuel Million-Weaver said:

    You were smart to think about alternative careers early on. I found the first few years of grad school so overwhelming that it took all of my resources just to plan out my experiments for the coming WEEK, thinking about my next steps or long term career prospects wasn’t even on my radar. Right now, as I’m finishing my own degree and considering a horizontal move from research to science communication, I wish that I had given more thought to my options (and talked to a few more people) earlier in my training.

    I agree that there’s a conspicuous absence of counseling on what other options exist, but I don’t think it arises from malice, more from a lack of familiarity. Landing a tenure-track position requires such single-minded determination and focus, that most faculty advisors just aren’t familiar with anything but their own highly specific, though successful, trajectories.

    Good luck with the job search! Have you got anything lined up?

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    Robert Aboukhalil said:

    Hi Samuel, thank you for your comments. Grad school can indeed become overwhelming, which is why it’s important to have grad schools push students to seriously think about career options. In my experience, one aspect that helps is to require students to outline detailed postgraduation plans (whether academia or not) at every committee meeting. It also helps to give students resources and funding to organize workshops/lectures by invited speakers who can share their career path and wisdom.