How to Quit Your Job and Start a New Career With Your M.A. or Ph.D.

Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Robert Porter

Securing a job with an English degree, particularly when armed with a MA or PhD, can be a journey. Dive into my personal narrative of leaving my position and discover how proactive measures can expedite the search for roles suitable for those with Master’s and PhD qualifications.

Master's degree in English: I will mow your lawn

Every morning, I step out to my leaf-laden driveway, remnants from the tree shaken by the previous night's wind, a stark contrast to the coffee-infused, humor-filled McGill corridors where I could have been, enlightening undergraduates.

Choosing not to pursue a Ph.D. propelled me into the spotlight of The Chronicle of Higher Education. They showcased my journey, emphasizing the pressing need for clarity on graduate program data and job placement for Ph.D. graduates.

In my university group, I stand out as the widely recognized grad who charted a different course.

"Master’s in English: Will Mow Lawns" is the feature they ran. And a shoutout to Thomas H. Benton, or should I say, William A. Pannapacker, for the insightful remarks. Thanks to such pieces, many wandering academics might find their path away from the elusive Ph.D. employment maze.

Yet, here I stand, leveraging my Master's in English, hunting for diverse writing opportunities, and pondering the age-old question: to return to academia or to forge ahead? The journey continues.

Winter job-search mental hibernation

When I penned my initial article last spring, I was optimistic that landing a job with my Master's degree would be a brief endeavor. Interestingly, a study from a university guide suggests that the average English major can expect a 5 to 10-year journey to secure a steady career.

Yet, as winter blankets the landscape, there's an allure to postponing my job hunt, thinking maybe a few more months could make the difference.

Summer often sparks boldness: relocating, taking career leaps, or quitting the familiar. In contrast, winter subtly nudges us into our cozy corners, paying bills, and awaiting sunnier days to chase dreams.

But this winter, I'm not settling. The quest continues, irrespective of the season.

Narcissistic allegorical Post-Grad revelation, of course

Every day holds the potential to be remarkable, and the power lies in your hands. Embrace the liberty to select any day and etch it into your life's narrative.

Decide to make today the day you act.


As twilight descends, I cycle through a quaint village near downtown. A vibrant children's consignment store stands out on a bustling street, adorned with murals of painted elephants, vivid pink rhinoceroses, and exotic birds. Beneath its vibrant signage, a collection of sun-bleached toys decorates the window—a vivid oasis in the urban sprawl.

This year promises a departure from the last.

Today will be etched in memory, symbolizing either triumph or setback. Regardless, I'm resolved not to let another winter slip by in slumber.