Some of you will remember the Life as a Leak series that I posted awhile back. If you were interested in that then you may want to read this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education: Conference Confidential. Annoyingly, it is behind a paywall, so you may want to look around for a print version of the Chronicle – the June 1, 2007 edition, page C3.
Alexandra M. Lord writes about her decision to leave a tenure-track job in history for life as a public historian, and her subsequent experiences attending professional conferences. She also mentions in passing her father, a chemical engineer:
I left academe for many reasons, but paramount was my dislike of the intellectual narrowness of academic life. As a professor, I was frustrated by teaching the same classes again and again. Although I always changed the books and assignments, my classes covered the same basic principles, year in and year out. I was learning and growing, but my students, who changed every year, would remain undergraduates forever.
Long before I struggled with those heretical thoughts, my father-in-law, a chemist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had reached the same conclusions and left academe. He did not believe that leaving meant intellectual failure. Instead, leaving had opened doors to careers that not only encouraged intellectual growth but actually required it.
Lord’s tale is very positive. I hope you can get a chance to read it. Leaking never looked so good!