I just looked up gender-neutral pronouns on Wikipedia
When I sat down with Advisor this week, ze seemed glad that after telling zir about wanting to leave a few weeks ago, I’ve felt only more resolve about making that choice. One of the first things ze asked me was what skills I’d need to learn in preparation for getting a job. Then, how my family, partner, and friends had responded to my decision to leave. No judgment! Not even the slightest interest in changing my mind!
To be fair, ze has known for a long (long) time now that I’ve been on the fence, at best. Pretty early on in grad school, I floated the idea to zir that I would be happy to teach at a community college, then a while later that I wasn’t sure about teaching and was interested in publishing. Ze knows I’ve had a lot of (personal) low periods in grad school (last summer was rough, there was a bad break-up several years back, blah blah blah), and I haven’t been particularly communicative this year. So, my decision to leave wasn’t, or shouldn’t have been, a big surprise at all.
Advisor wasn’t sure exactly what needs to be done for me to get the MA, but ze is ready to help make it happen this spring. (It looks like I’ll turn the partial chapter I’ve got into a thesis. Totally doable, and I just got some really great feedback on what’s already written.) I’ve got to talk to Departmental Grad Advisor about the nitty-gritty details of getting out, which I’m not really looking forward to for various reasons, but that will be accomplished within a week.
Anyway, it feels good to have some more certainty about leaving. And while it’s not unexpected, it feels really good that my decision was accepted practically and humanely by my advisor. Instead of second-guessing me or shaming me, ze affirmed that I’m right in trying to take things one step at a time—I’m worrying less about getting a Dream Job or a Perfect New Career Job, but instead I just want A Job, even if I have to temp. While obviously Advisor is a career academic, ze was completely understanding about my reservations about the profession, even when I wasn’t being particularly polite about it. And when I said I absolutely don’t want to be an adjunct, ze immediately replied, “No, absolutely not!”
I’m almost afraid this post comes off as bragging a bit. I really hope anyone else reading this who has left or is leaving or might leave finds supportive individuals in their academic department too.