Lately I've been seeing a slew of postings about the recent exodus of academic bloggers from academia -- IA, Academy Girl, Erin O'Connor, Amanda, wolfangel... -- and, often, my own name is part of the list.
As I wrote over at John Bruce's blog, I appreciate the gesture, but I'm not so sure I really fit into that company in the way many posters seem to mean.
That is, while I have certainly left academia, and have blogged extensively about the experience, I don't feel that lumping me in with those who have chosen to leave academia is entirely accurate.
I have made the choice to stay out of academia for now, but I never chose to leave. True, I was feeling a bit burned out, but figured that it was a passing thing, and was ready to keep on. Indeed, if I had made a deliberate decision to leave, I would have prepared a better exit strategy! Instead, what shocked me out of my faith in the academic dream was being tossed out of the ivory tower when my 2002-2003 job search failed to turn up anything, even a part-time adjunctship. So my departure was one of suddenly being without academic prospects, not a gradual acceptance that my needs were not going to be fulfilled in academia nor a growing disillusionment with the institution as a whole.
Indeed, I still think wistfully of some aspects of academia, miss my friends, miss my faith in the institution, etc. Would I go back, if a tenure-track job was suddenly offered to me? I don't know. A fair bit of stream has passed under my bridge since then. But if you'd asked me a year ago, I would have eagerly jumped at it.
So, please, don't equate me with those who've made a courageous decision to leave -- it was not courage or principles that propelled me out of the academy, but bad luck.