In response to my begging for comments yesterday, a few readers have asked me questions so I thought I'd answer them in a series. First I'll start with Katie who asked me the following questions...
"I remember you writing that you would consider going back to academic research. Do you feel your current role has built helpful skills should you decide to return? Or did it just make you appreciate the academic environment more"?
I have to admit that I pretty much knew I would want to return to academia, which means that I probably didn't commit to this job as much as I would have if the return wasn't in the back of my mind.
The short answers to your specific questions are yes and yes.
I am gaining valuable experience in ANJ that I think will be helpful for a return to academia. First, I am learning a whole new way to write, for lay persons and for policy makers. These are things that academic jobs in my field want new research faculty to have experience doing. There is a big push to get the word out to the general public and to politicians about the importance of my field and the research that we do, having these skills will be a big selling point. I think it will also help me when applying for funding from both NSF and NIH.
Also, the content of the research I do for ANJ will help as well. It's a nice bridge to my previous work, using new methods and analysis strategies that psychologists of my background generally do not use but may make publishing easier (and faster).
In terms of my appreciation of academia:
I really miss academic freedom regarding what you research and how you do it. I don't have that freedom in ANJ, a number of my proposals have been shot down by the powers that be (despite my direct supervisors LOVING these ideas) and I am becoming increasingly more frustrated every time that happens. I sometimes wonder (sometimes even out loud) why they hired a psychologists if they won't let me foster the psychologists part of myself.
I also miss the experimental part of research, this isn't necessarily a pining for academia per say but I know if I had an academic job I could do more of this.
Finally, I hate the 9-5 part of my job, having to be in the office all the time and having to account to others about when I'll be where, and not having the choice of which projects I work on when. And seriously, ANJ is really awesome about this... they let me work from home whenever I want pretty much, and I make my own hours as long as it's 8 hours a day.....I just have a really, really low tolerance for this I guess and want to be able to work 4 hours on Monday and 12 hours on Tuesday if that's what I feel like doing. :)
Oh, and I really miss teaching. This doesn't really have anything to do with ANJ but it's one of the things that makes me miss academia and want to go back.
I'm happy to respond to follow-ups about this topic if I neglected to answer something.