Our Mission

The academic job market has been in decline for over a decade and has only deteriorated faster in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Humanities graduate students throughout the country are being forced to pivot last minute, to join a non-academic marketplace that they know very little about and for which they feel radically underprepared. Many studies have demonstrated that such conditions overwhelmingly and disproportionately neglect students who are minorities, low-income, first-generation, female, and/or LGBTQ+. It is only through a wide dissemination of the “hidden curriculum” of academia and beyond that students from these disproportionately affected communities can fully achieve the success of their privileged counterparts. Furthermore, it is only by normalizing “alternative” career paths that our systems for supporting academics can experience meaningful and lasting change towards greater inclusivity and more equitable labor practices. In light of this, we at Working PhDs have begun to design resources that provide information on the clear and actionable paths available to all students, particularly in the humanities, who hope to pursue non-academic careers.

The goals of this project are twofold. First, we aim to highlight the numerous ways in which graduate training can prepare students for success in business, technological sectors, nonprofits, and government roles. We show how academic training helps solve issues related to a broad set of topics, from consumer and material culture to racial and economic inequality. With this first goal, we hope not only to educate graduate students on the paths available to them, but also demonstrate the greater relevance of humanistic training. Students can be an asset to the non-academic marketplace because of their humanities education, not despite it. Second, by highlighting the range of skills amassed in graduate programs, we aim to encourage and advise graduate students on how to shape their research for applications that have larger public impacts. Operating on multiple levels, our projects aim to make academic research central in the public eye.