A reader writes:

Within academia (or at least, for graduate students), this recession has been brewing for a LONG time.

I received a Master’s in political science (Dean’s Citation, no less) from a big state school in 2007, with hopes of either getting into a PhD program or going to work for the US government or an NGO.  I was turned down from every school I applied to, despite a 1500+ on my GRE and a 3.9 GPA at my Master’s program.  Moreover, no one was hiring for entry level positions anywhere.  I took to temping and part-time teaching to get by.  I tried to be frugal and keep out of debt, but it was very difficult with a wife who was unwilling to hold on to a job.

A divorce later, I’m deeply in credit card debt and accruing more student loan debt (at a professional Master’s this time) ...

... but I’m more confident than I’ve been since graduating last time.  My credit card debt is getting paid down, lowering my overall debt interest rates, and I’m learning the skills I need to get a career started.  Of course, I’d be foolish to ignore the trouble everyone else is having, so I’ve also made a backup plan.  Just 25 more pounds down, and I’ll be ready to join the navy.  (That’s 10 kilos for your int’l readers.)

Despite my misgivings over the idea, I’m more comfortable and satisfied with my life now than I have been since 2000-2001.  Come December, I will gladly say “au revoir” to academia forever, and begin my professional life, one way or another. 

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