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Where Do You Go From Here?

Transitioning From Grad School... To Teaching, Writing, Consulting, or...?

After (too) many years in Grad School, many newly-minted "Dr."s describe themselves as "brain fried," foggy, bored -- and lost.

"My one thought after the graduation ceremony was over and I had stared too many times at my diploma was, 'Now I can finally get some deep sleep!', but that night, and for many nights after, I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep," said Nellie Cook, who obtained her doctorate in Education in 2015.

"I was gripped by deep fear and, ironically, a deep sense of loss.  It was like, everything I had worked for, everything that had consumed my energy and thoughts for seven years, just went 'Poof!' and I didn't know what I should be doing next."

Nellie was fortunate, in that she had a teaching position to go back to.

But she wanted more.

She knew she "should turn my dissertation into a book."

The question was, what sort of book: academic, or mass market; non-fiction, or fiction?

"Who would want to read what I have to say?  And why would anyone care about my thoughts and findings on how middle-school kids in my county make sense of what they believe is a disconnect between what politicians say, think, and do, and the effect on these children's confidence in their future?"

In her mind's eye, she wanted to travel and learn what children in other counties large and small think about what they see in their part of the country.

Simply put, Nellie wanted to continue discovering, and making sense, of the world -- and her intended book was not the end goal, but just a step that would get her to something larger, beyond her dissertation research.

She had begun that "discovering" journey when she was in Grad School, and now, free from the shackles of research papers and dissertation deadlines, she thirst for more.

"How do I go about doing this?" she asked.


Specifically, what she wanted to know was:

- Is there something to the train of thought I had set out to discover in my dissertation research?

- Dare I allow myself to explore, research, think, experiment, and write about what I've discovered? And repeat the cycle again and again?

- Am I brave enough to accept criticisms of my writing, thinking, analysis, and conclusions? Am I good enough?

- Can I make money doing this? Or am I being presumptuous?

- What should I write about, anyway?


Logic seems to suggest that, if you've spent several years writing a dissertation in the 80,000-or-more word range, writing about that area of specialization should be a breeze.

After all, you've spent countless hours at the library or hunched over your computer... you already have your data, or interviewed more individuals than you thought you would, or have done your content analysis ... all that's left is to sort through your files or notes and "write it up," and there, you have a publishable book.

How difficult can that be?

Sounds easy.

But, like Nellie and numerous others, you will likely discover that the post-"Dr." path is not any more certain or "obvious."


If you find yourself in that "I Don't Know How" situation, here's how I can help:

- I start by discussing your goals (what you really want vs. what you think you want), sort through your thoughts, and evaluate your options;

- Identify your expertise, outline a blueprint to position you and your expertise (this goes beyond resumes, bullet points, or info blips about what you have done to date);

- Identify decision makers, individuals, groups or organizations that may be interested in, your expertise;

- Career coaching (within, or outside of, academia);

- If consulting is a goal, I will outline possible pathways (beyond 30-second elevator pitches), clarify your objectives, determine your market reach and potential clients;

- If a book or monograph is the goal, I will address and provide guidance on marketability or market potential, discuss your purpose, narrow the topic, address how you intend to get your book to market, segmentation, marketing strategies and getting the word out, discuss whether the intended book is the end goal or the lead-in to something else, etc;

- If publication in highly-ranked academic journals and reputable media is a goal, list publication possibilities, topics and dates;

- If academia is the goal, let's narrow and broaden your options and possibilities, and how to get there (it's not the linear route you may have believed it to be);

- Communicate your expertise to your potential or target audience (e.g., if your funding source publishes your findings, let's make sure those that matter get to hear about you and your expertise);

- Determine what media channels or cross-channels need to be set up to further your goals;

- Coach and prep you for media interviews; and

- Much, much more. The above is just a sampling of how I've helped academics and others establish and position themselves in their chosen fields of expertise.


PS: To see results, you must take the first step. Start by contacting me.








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