Sometimes your current role is not exactly what you want to do in life or at the moment. And, in those cases it may seem like there are not many options. But, in reality there are lots. Most don't require retraining. And most can be trialed via/within your current role.
I guess as we come to this time of year where people are finding out whether their grants are or are not funded. You might find yourself whether you got funding or not. Asking the questions "What do I do
next?", "How can I get there?", and "Do I need to retrain if I'm interested in leaving academia?". To answer the last question first, I'd say “No, you don't need to retrain”, but you certainly need to take a look at what you have done and the skills that are required to do that. Make a list of those so to do a skills order. I wrote a blog about this that you can check out about doing a skills audit. The other thing that I think is worth knowing is that there are lots of different streams I guess of work that you could pursue given the training that you've had.
In some work that I did with the Department of Health and Human Services, we looked at how allied health Career Pathways have essentially five streams. We came up with five broad categories like I said:
- Called technical
- Called manager
- Called educator
- Called researcher
- Called policymaker
The technical is about the doing. In research, I guess you could be both. You're the technical side of things could be they're doing, or it could be operating a piece of equipment. For example, a scanning electron microscope or some kind of analytics facility whether that be data analytics visual analytics or wet lab sample analytics. Whatever it might be so that might be the technical role.
The manager is pretty self-explanatory. Anyone can rise up to be a manager. You know you might transition from being a researcher into a department head or a department manager or a faculty manager or something like that. Those skills aren't necessarily all going to be. Sorry. Your experiences might not necessarily prepare you for all of your managing roles, but they might prepare you for some of them. Certainly, if you want to transition into a management role taking on a project to do that is a good way of testing your skills and developing your experience.
Being an educator is another stream that you could follow as a researcher. The opportunities to educate are pretty high, I would suggest. Certainly, depending on what sector you're in, and what country you're in. There's increasing demand for teaching only staff versus people who do teaching and research or even just research only. But that's probably going to be, like I said a sector and organization dependent thing. But as a researcher, you could potentially look to transition into becoming more of a teacher. Again, you weren't nests in the university sector anyway. In Australia, you won't need to retrain in the first instance or take up additional training. Continuing to be a researcher, well I guess that's what you're perhaps moving away from. That's not going to be an outstanding role for you.
The final stream other than research is to look at the policy side of things, and so policy lot of people think primarily around government. I guess that's where we think of most of the policies that we live by are created. But don't forget those policies created at universities. There are policies created at other services like health services. There are policies created in big companies, big energy companies, banks, and etc. They all need people who are versed in the idea of that kind of writing and development of policies, and procedures.
Those five streams: technical, manager, educator, researcher, and policy maker. Have some of the options that you could consider that don't necessarily need retraining.