Re: More on career paths--long flame

Rebecca Joseph (josephr@IIA.ORG)
Sun, 11 Dec 1994 00:57:46 -0500

Mike and others (especially students wondering what it's all for),

Interesting thread, this. It shows how little has changed since
I was in grad school (1981-87). Academia still held up as the model
for a successful career in anthropology. Behold, a tenured position in a
research university the grand prize!

Beyond publications, well beyond - my experience of several faculty
searches during my brief stint as an academic (I resigned from a
tenure-track position in December 1990 to pursue an applied career) was
that the deciding factor in any search was how well current faculty liked
the candidate's personal style. I don't think that my former
department was unique in this regard. Personal "fit" with faculty models was
also a salient factor in awarding TAships and other perks to students in
the graduate program I attended (at one of those research-type places).

One doesn't have to be an academic or even conduct research to be a
successful anthropologist. For those who are seriously interested using
anthropological skills and insights in the work of transforming the
world, I would strongly suggest looking beyond the university. You are
needed out here where choices such as "insider" versus "outsider" have
immediate consequences for real people.

I might add that of my grad school cohort (give or take a few years),
those of us who have left academia are by far the most personally
fulfilled - professionally, in most cases, too!

Best wishes,

Becky Joseph