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078: Knowing When to Leave Academia – Feat. The Recovering Academic Podcast

Maybe you’re in love with science, but you just can’t imagine your life as a PI.  And maybe you’ve had a string of experiments fail and you’re just ready to put the entire ‘lab thing’ behind you.

You have a choice – you could leave academia and try to find your way in industry, publishing or some other career. Or you could try to revive your research in the hope that lab life will eventually improve.

But how do you know which choice is right for you?

What happens if you make a mistake?

Uncharted Territory

Knowing when to leave academia is a perilous choice. After all, your colleagues and mentors will tell you that there’s no turning back and that you’re throwing away an amazing career in an academic lab.  You’ll regret it!

And yet, people survive and thrive in the transition every day – they just don’t always talk about it.

The Recovering Academic Podcast is here to break that silence.  The hosts, Amanda Welch (@LadyScientist),  Cleyde Helena (@Doctor_PMS), and Ian Street (@IHStreet) share their real-time experiences with transitioning out of the lab and into careers from publishing to sales.

This week, we talk with the Recovering Academics about the tell-tale signs that it’s time for you to abandon the faculty track in favor of an ‘alternative career.’

It’s never an easy decision to leave academia, but it also doesn’t have to be fraught with fear and regret. Taking stock of your skills, goals, and options early is the best way to ensure you have somewhere safe to land when you finally decide to make the leap.

For more help on this topic, check out HelloPhD Episode 027 The Road More Travelled: Stepping Off of the Tenure Track.


In the true spirit of science, we share a beer with our new friends Amanda, Cleyde, and Ian.  It’s the Unfiltered Sculpin Extra-Hopped India Pale Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company.  Though it’s one of their limited edition beers, we were able to locate it in no fewer than four different cities so that we could raise a glass on this week’s show.

Find some for yourself before it’s gone!

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