Alternatives to the academe/workplace dichotomy?

Subject: Alternatives to the academe/workplace dichotomy?
From: "Geoff Hart" <Geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 08:53:31 -0400

Anonymous Poster has <<... regretfully decided that earning a
Ph.D. in English Literature was probably not going to land
me a tenure-track position... Over the past ten years, I have
held positions in technical communications up to Director of
Documentation. At this point in my life, I realize how much I
miss teaching and working with students.>>

Given that you've got a track record both in the academy and
in "the practice", you've got a huge array of options open to
you. These include:

1. Satisfy your desire to teach by doing pro bono work at
high schools or universities (e.g., as a tutor, "big brother" or
"big sister", mentor). You may even find community centres
that need tutors for recent immigrants struggling with English
or dyslexic or illiterate non-immigrants. There won't likely be
any financial compensation, but there will be lots of
satisfaction. (I say this with full knowledge of how much I
enjoyed tutoring throughout high school and university, and
how much I enjoy the virtual equivalent here on techwr-l.)

2. Contact a local university and offer to come in as an
occasional lecturer or teaching assistant. In both cases, you
may even get an honorarium to accompany the pleasure of
teaching. Variants on this include providing "work terms" for
students at your own company, or letting students complete
classroom assignments by working on small projects for you
rather than coming up with fictional projects.

3. Develop your own series of courses and market them
locally and eventually nationally or even internationally.
Given your firm grounding in both the workplace (practical
stuff) and the academy (theory), you should be able to come
up with a series of killer 1- or 2-day courses. At $100 to $500
U.S. per student per day, you can make a good living this
way... provided that you keep evolving your course material
and acquire a good "word of mouth" reputation.

4. Set yourself up as an independent contractor, and do
consulting work ("train the trainer" or "I'll come into your
office and train your staff") on the side.

Except for options 3 and 4, you'll probably need a day job to
pay for the kitty litter and other necessities of life. And the
boundaries between these categories blur enough that you
can choose somewhere along the spectrum that balances your
need for income and teaching time. Best of luck!

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Perhaps there is something deep and profound behind all those sevens, something just calling out for us to discover it. But I
suspect that it is only a pernicious, Pythagorean coincidence." George Miller, "The Magical Number Seven" (1956)

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