R.I.P. my academic career

We've put years into academia, only to find ourselves cast out of it. Or we're trapped in difficult, precarious positions on its margins. We deserve better than what we got.

I think we deserve to mourn our lost careers, or acknowledge we're in purgatory. Half-seriously, I made this site: a virtual career graveyard.

My serious point is this: loss deserves recognition. Anyway, add yourself too if you want. It's for anyone. For all of us.

Add me now Reserve a plot
FPM
A liberal arts education meant jack.
West coast, USA
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Dr. Leahcim Semaj
Resurrected as Above or Beyond Inc.
Boca Eaton, Fort Lauderdale, Kingston
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Harpy
Over-40 PhD meant adjuncting in basements until death (I left instead)
USA
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Dymphna
Died a slow and painful death alone, body found covered in unfinished articles
Toronto
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MBR
Subjectivty and bullying, alas the tenure reqs could not be assessed well.
Corvallis, Ore.
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Liz B
Sanity Prevailed, I left.
UK and Ireland
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OB
Former postdoc
Cambridge
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Jakob Williams Oerberg
Liked working and building things with other people too much
Denmark
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DSV
Cause of death: academic cliques, abusive partners, and becoming a mother.
Canada
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Jess
I never saw a well-balanced life I wanted there anyway.
Vancouver, BC
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RP
Where do I begin?
Hobart
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CMT
I finally get benefits, vacation, and can pay my bills.
Somewhere I chose to live, not where academia had a job.
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WCO6
Life sucked out by postions of responsibility, but no authority.
USA
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support open education
if i hadn't been laid off due to COVID i would have died from the toxicity
HELL
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MP
22 years and adjunct, still holding on. Why??
East Coast US, where there are lots of colleges but no jobs
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Harassed out
Realized I, and my skills, would be more valued elsewhere
Everywhere
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AJF
Academia, rigmarole defined.
Canada
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SW
Couldn't balance job search with family needs
California
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S H
Lacked the confidence of a straight white man and died under pressure.
France
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DL
Tired of being disposable labour
Oxford
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Unemployed PhD
Here rests a PhD that did worth less than a covering letter
United Kingdom
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NR
Pushed out of my staff job at my Alma mater so boss could give my job to her BFF
NY
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GW
Another five years buried, more years to bury.
Nigeria
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Hannah Alpert-Abrams
would've been good at it
usa
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A defeated Library Media Specialist
Here lies an awesome library program, now dead due to no district funding.
Florida
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PTG
Simply not that good at doing experiments.
boston, MA
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SC
Nervous breakdown, torched PhD. Now I'm a librarian.
The Northeast
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CMS
student 4eva
Colonial hellscape
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Beloved Wife and Mother
Death by Two-Body Problem
College Town, USA
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JD
Overworked and underemployed
a little bit of everywhere
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Jane Doe
Refused to be a Marytr
PA-NY-IL
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M S
Left a husk incapable of loving the field that was a lifelong passion and escape
Cambridge UK
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HB
Here lies wasted potential and a handful of years of trauma gained
~Moved on to the materials and microscopy industry realm~
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SG
Believed in meritocracy, killed by neoliberalism
UK
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AS
Tired of the job market
England
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Sarp Kargi
Welp, I hope round 2 of undergrad works and this plot goes unused..
Manchester, UK
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LKG
Dum spiro, scribo. But... after 20+ years of online adjuncting, I quit.
the Interwebz
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AJH
Dead academic careers leave no corpus
I travelled far to live
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R
Here lies a career that would have ruined my life
A better place
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Anon
Wouldn't spend 3 months living with a man I had never met
Colorado
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Anon
Neurodivergence and academia=recipe for disaster
Betelgeuse
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I gave up
Former Acadmeic
Melbourne
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FCKDK
I will haunt the dreams of those who create a toxic environment in academia
USA
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Former Assistant Professor ASF
Being an academic engaged in the community is an oxymoron.
USA
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A n other
Patronised once too often by faculty with fewer pubs and less grant capture
teaching and learning center
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KBG
I thought there would be cake.
Washington, D.C.
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GG
Wasn't very good at it
A different one every 6 months
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TKO
"You'll never get promoted doing work like that"
UK
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SG
Too many ideas, too slow at writing them
The universe
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GH
Outstanding teaching.Never published.
Atlanta, GA
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AAH
To be true is to be free
Seattle, WA
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CS
Not enough papers and thought staying longer would fix it
USA
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MS
Neurodivergent PoC grad student thought it was a safe space.
TO, CA
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E
Perished instead of published
Australia
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TheScientist
Dearly missed
Earth
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RDK
Now to become the gnarled oak; to thrive uncut
Washington DC
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Eli Rose
I miss teaching.
Atlanta, GA
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Altha Jane Cravey
Fought injustice as long as possible.
UNC
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JS
She started with hope, and she just was not what the boys wanted.
New Zealand
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SL
Exhausted Postdoc - expected the grind to have end - wishful thinking
Germany
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EJWB
Wanted to understand what makes a safe place
Scotland
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BB
Here lies the dreams and goals of a young graduate student
Davis, CA
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Rainbow
Doesn't play well with narcissists
Oxford
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Meritorious Anon
More work and no money = burnout
Online Prof.
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GW
Lost a lot of myself in this journey... I shall arise and live again.
Nigeria
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A
Forever ABD
EU
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Dead and dying
Death by UGC's apathy
Hyderabad
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P. E. H.
Tried writing a thesis while severely depressed. Failed and dropped out.
Germany
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pre-pandemic postdoc
Suffered from severe depression and a narcissistic PI
A Dark Place
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BLC
Abused every day for last 3 yrs of PhD. These people are sick and untouchable.
York, UK
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DISESTABLISHED
Never allowed to fly
Newcastle
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Neizvestnyi
Academia is no place for a disabled person
USA
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Godswisdom
I had abandoned everything... Farewell my years of hard work!
Nigeria
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Laertides
Here lies a undergrad who thought he could be someone
Exeter, UK
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Recent Ph.D. Grad
Naive in my program choice ~ Severely bullied and drained of money and time.
A Prestigious School
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MW
Had Bills to Pay
UK
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shine choi
I tried but it was fucking impossible!!!!
aotearoa nz
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S.E.N.
She thought her love for poetry and literature would see her through
Hyderabad
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WY
"sub-optimal fit" & "Narrow and topical research"
The Netherlands
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VC
Tenure denied
PA
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Black Dragom
Do you deny the favours of your lord ?
Englandiana
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Tim Rayner
Saw The Light
Cambridge
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Former Assistant Professor
She realized tenure-track hell was paved with good intentions
Anywhere, USA
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LF
Let down by those who should have raised her
SW
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Bebop
Could publish but no funding
Northern England
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Jack H
Homless PhD resorting to crime to enter Cern or roof over my head? A Roof it is
Milton Keynes
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NJM
I chose career stability and sanity over endless adjuncting.
Seattle, WA
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CB
Overworked, underpaid adjunct.
NY
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S. T.
No room for sick people
Academia
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AD
Here lies the academic everyone wanted me to be. Everyone except me.
Hong Kong
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DM
less production of knowledge than egos
nowhere stable
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L
University destroyed my mental health so I had to drop out
Spain
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JB
Had to choose between supporting my children or furthering my career.
UK
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FML
Bullied for two years and then kicked to the curb.
USA
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The Ginger Dwarf
Forgot to Lie for the Dean
Bath Spa University
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HB
I didn't know I was just supposed to build YOUR empire rather than my own ideas.
PhD Advisors' Former Pawn
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EA
Funding and passion dwindled to nothing
R1, USA
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M
Derailed off the tenure track
North Carolina
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K.K.
To the prof who said "Maybe you don't belong here", I'm glad.
Heaven, too, is a gated community; Hell is for the people.
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CD
A broken system that breaks too many. I miss my students but couldn't continue.
NW England
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BJS
Quit after discovering there really was a last straw
Sydney Australia
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RN
they wore down the soft parts.
London, Englandia
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Jennifer Polk
She had so much potential
Toronto, ON
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DJ
Should have listened to the friends who warned you about that advisor
Brooklyn, NY
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CT
You wanted enough income to buy a house here? You absolute moron.
Ann Arbor, MI
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Biffo
My PhD made me unemployable.
A Citizen of the World
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M.
Find a project you love and you'll work really fucking hard and then burn out.
Brighton, UK.
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DR
R.I.P.
USA
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Anonymous
...Educational system that feeds on students
A country
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2nd Author
PhD + Postdoc + Fruitless Job Search = Divorce
A major metropolitan area
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Burnout postdoc
Bullied to the point of burnout
Scotland
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Andrew Johnson
Should have been better
Baltimore
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DHA
Child of 2 academics. Failed grad student. In exile as staff of faculty union.
A Nutmeg in the Land of Steady Habits
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Dr. A
research not 'niche' enough
USA
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JB
A once promising graduate student spoiling every opportunity and relationship
USA
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RBW
She soon learned this "lifestyle" came with a cost: her health & happiness.
Maryland, USA
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AA
Tried to unionize
Northeastern University
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David
PhDone with this Shit
Boston
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WGL
No job, no prospects, no hope.
UK
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R.C.
No publications + no funding = no postdoc
UK
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Anon
My work's in the REF submission, I'm not employed in UKHE anymore
UK
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LAA
Tenure-track but university is no longer honoring tenure.
USA
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N/A
tried to climb the long ladder but fell into a wheelchair
Fortress Europe
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Alexis Santos
Let me run one more model
University Park, PA
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DeathByOverwork
Killed herself working still not feeling she was good enough
Sitting at desk to mark those last scripts at 4am
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IRH
He wouldn't move to Sh*tsville Arkansas for a 1-yr VAP
Purgatory
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J.B.
Too trans. Got ill. Here lies the career I wanted.
London
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DS
Here lies an academic who didn't want to be an academic
Hyderabad.
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RS
Likely Perishing
UK
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Anonymous
Long hours, low pay, limited opportunities
UK
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JW
Started lots of projects, never finished them
Purgatory
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GMS
Loved doing research. His awards showed his fit. Never got an interview.
Porto Alegre, BR
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SdL
Impossible to get a PhD in my field
The Netherlands
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s.a.
some dumb 1st gen redneck who thought working hard would be enough
new england (reluctantly)
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H
Death by trying to make a full time wage as a casual
Regional University
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ZA
Actually found I can do research just fine outside of the academy
UK
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A. Z. B
I got pregnant. RIP digging around the world.
Europe
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WER
Crushed by the excessive expectations of the academic job market
NC
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Elisa, PhD ABD
Adjunct - TA - Adjunct - admin GA - ?
Central NY
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K Giles
Published and perished
USA
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S
He peaked too soon and ultimately disappointed his employers.
The North, UK
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AMH
Adjuncted too long, delayed completing my PhD, there is no longer a place for me
PA
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C
Leaving with a little bit of sadness but an overwhelming sense of relief
Australia
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Anon PhD
Bullied by advisor. Will find some job that deserves my efforts...
UK
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Gabriele de Seta
Just one more postdoc and I will be employable
Wherever there is a job
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VWN
Applied for jobs diligently but never got an interview, or feedback.
Normal Island
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Pinar
In loving memory of "research time"
Liverpuuul
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anon
15 years service, fired over MS Teams
UK
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Unknown Academic
Simply didn't "want it" enough
Cambridge, UK
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anonymous
She could no longer navigate the exploitative, sharky behavior of older scholars
South Africa
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JC
how naive of me to think it wasn't nepotism & backchannels all the way down
bumblefuck, indiana
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AOK
Scholarships all cut to pay public debt interest and praise neoliberals
Brazil
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KM
Zero support, confidence destroyed. 5 years on happy in new job
UK
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SW
Failed academic, well, not really failed, A+ for effort, B for actual results
Ohio
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Tenure Denied
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Unemployed
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Grad Student Worker
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Tenure Denied
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Former Academic
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Unemployed
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Contract Expired
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Former Academic
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Visiting Faculty
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Adjunct
πŸ‚
Dead End Job
πŸ‚ 🌹
Faced Structural Violence
πŸ’ πŸ‚
Toxic Workplace
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Toxic Workplace
πŸ’
Faced Structural Violence
πŸ‚ πŸ‚
Visiting Faculty
πŸ‚
Fatally Exhausted
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Dropout
πŸ’ πŸ‚
Former Academic
πŸ₯€
Tenure Denied
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Fatally Exhausted
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Contract Expired
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Adjunct
🌹 πŸ’
Occupational Injury
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Former Academic
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Occupational Injury
πŸ‚ 🌺
Former Academic
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Former Academic
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Former Academic
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Faced Structural Violence
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Former Academic
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Former Academic
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Attrition
πŸ₯€
Former Academic
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Visiting Faculty
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Dropout
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Grad Student Worker
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Toxic Workplace
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Occupational Injury
πŸ’
Attrition
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Dropout
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Grad Student Worker
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Grad Student Worker
πŸ₯€
Attrition
πŸ₯€ πŸ’
Toxic Workplace
🌹
Adjunct
πŸ‚
Former Academic
πŸ₯€ πŸ₯€
Former Academic
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Fatally Exhausted
πŸ₯€
Former Academic
πŸ‚ πŸ‚
Adjunct
🌹
Contract Expired
πŸ’ πŸ’
Dropout
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Unemployed
πŸ‚ πŸ‚
Tenure Denied
🌹 πŸ’
Former Academic
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Former Academic
🌺 πŸ‚
Occupational Injury
πŸ‚
Former Academic
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Visiting Faculty
πŸ₯€ 🌹
Faced Structural Violence
πŸ‚ πŸ‚
Dead End Job
πŸ‚ 🌺
Fatally Exhausted
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Unemployed
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Dead End Job
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Dead End Job
πŸ‚
Attrition
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Contract Expired
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