The Millennial PhD: Creative Survival at Work & Beyond

Ep 22. Professional Pivot into Marketing ft. Alyssa Wells

April 20, 2022 Carmela Season 2 Episode 22
Ep 22. Professional Pivot into Marketing ft. Alyssa Wells
The Millennial PhD: Creative Survival at Work & Beyond
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The Millennial PhD: Creative Survival at Work & Beyond
Ep 22. Professional Pivot into Marketing ft. Alyssa Wells
Apr 20, 2022 Season 2 Episode 22

Who knew the transition from academia to marketing could Alyssa Wells talks about her transition into marketing work at game company, Sporcle. She also talks us through  strides some corporate environments are making to create more humane workplaces and the skills she used to pivot to a new career trajectory.

Connect with Alyssa on twitter @alymadeerah. She is happy to talk or connect you with someone else!

Interested in starting your own podcast? I host The Millennial Phd on Buzzsprout and I love it because, for me, it was the easiest and most user-friendly podcast hosting site. Follow this link to sign up, and you'll automatically get a $20 Amazon gift card included in your sign up; plus, it helps support The Millennial PhD. Happy podcasting!

Support the Show.

Dr. Carmela Muzio Dormani - aka your host, Mela - is a sociologist, dancer, and creative consultant.

Learn more about Mela and get access to creative resources at

The Millennial PhD is all about building community. Join the conversation:
- Connect with Mela on IG @melamuzio
- Follow @themillennialphd for up-to-date info on the podcast & blog.
- Email with feedback.

Show Notes Transcript

Who knew the transition from academia to marketing could Alyssa Wells talks about her transition into marketing work at game company, Sporcle. She also talks us through  strides some corporate environments are making to create more humane workplaces and the skills she used to pivot to a new career trajectory.

Connect with Alyssa on twitter @alymadeerah. She is happy to talk or connect you with someone else!

Interested in starting your own podcast? I host The Millennial Phd on Buzzsprout and I love it because, for me, it was the easiest and most user-friendly podcast hosting site. Follow this link to sign up, and you'll automatically get a $20 Amazon gift card included in your sign up; plus, it helps support The Millennial PhD. Happy podcasting!

Support the Show.

Dr. Carmela Muzio Dormani - aka your host, Mela - is a sociologist, dancer, and creative consultant.

Learn more about Mela and get access to creative resources at

The Millennial PhD is all about building community. Join the conversation:
- Connect with Mela on IG @melamuzio
- Follow @themillennialphd for up-to-date info on the podcast & blog.
- Email with feedback.

Speaker 1 (00:09):

Welcome to the millennial PhD, a podcast about creative survival and beyond. My name is Dr. Carmela Muzio Dormani, and I'm a sociologist, dancer and creative consultant from New York. In these episodes, you'll find inspiration, ideas, and actionable tips for building new pathways forward in work and life. You'll hear from artists, activists, creative entrepreneurs, PhDs, and professional pivoters. We talk about radical humanity and practical steps to follow your dreams, even in the context of challenging social conditions. Before we jump into today's episode, a quick reminder to follow the millennial PhD on Instagram. And to please take a minute to rate and a review the millennial PhD on Apple podcasts. Your rating really helps the show reach as many listeners as possible. You can learn more about me and get access to free creative resources on the millennial PhD Instagram page, I hope you enjoyed the episode. Welcome back to the millennial PhD, where we've been talking art, creativity, and radical humanity in motion. Today I'm talking with Alyssa Wells, who is a musicologist and describes herself as a recovering academic. Alyssa is completing her PhD this spring and has recently pivoted into work as a marketing communication specialist for a game company, Sparkle Incorporated. Alyssa, welcome to the millennial PhD. Thank you so much for coming on. 

Speaker 2 (01:44):

Hi. Thank you so much for having me. 

Speaker 1 (01:46):

Um, I'm so interested and excited to talk to you and hear a little bit about your journey out, out of academia or, or dipping into the post NOAC job market and into the work that you're doing. Now, you're working for a company that makes games, which has its own sort of cool factor, um, <laugh>, but I also think it's, it's pretty interesting in general to hear about the move into marketing and communications, um, because in this season of this show, I've been shining a little bit of spotlight on different industries that, uh, potentially appeal to folks who are looking to exit academia or just looking for professional pivot. And in particular, I hear from so many people who are really itching to flex a creative muscle in some way or another. Um, so it's really wonderful timing to have you on also, because you're a musicology PhD, so representing the humanities, the humanistic social sciences. Um, I'm a sociologist, but I did my work on dance, so I I dipped a little bit in <laugh>. Yeah, perfect. Yeah, so that's, I did like a very brief bullet points of your bio, but let's start with, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Speaker 2 (02:55):

Yeah. So, um, I am currently a marketing communications specialist with Kel, like you said. Um, I began this job in October, and I've been in grad school for a decade straight now. Um, before I was at the University of Michigan, I did master's degrees at music history and German studies at UMass Amherst, and then I studied German and trombone at Western Michigan University. Um, I'm originally from southwest suburbs of Chicago, uh, Romeoville, if anyone's familiar. No, it's not Naperville. <laugh>. Um, <laugh>. Yeah. And so my, my journey is I enrolled at University of Michigan thinking I was going to actually work on music festivals in East Germany. So very, very different. Um, and through some personal revelations, I decided that I really didn't want to go spend a year in Germany and leave behind my home life. Um, and so I decided to pivot first time. 

Um, and I began working on marching bands of Nazi associations in Chicago in the 1930s. And that was going to be my, my dissertation, but then covid hit and I could no longer access the archives. And it also turns out that people really don't keep good records of marching bands, which is, you know, part of my, was, part of my whole argument is people think they're innocuous. Um, yeah. And so I turned to something that I had done in my college years in high school, which is drum and bugle course, and I decided to address a hot button issue, which is this rampant culture of abuse and sexual assault that's really gone unacknowledged for the better part of a decade. Um, the Me Too movement brought it to the fore, and the activity of Drum and View Corps is incredibly important to those of us who have participated in it. 

And so it's been really difficult trying to acknowledge these, these issues in a way that doesn't jeopardize the future of the activity or our future involvement in it, or, um, you know, just taint the memories that people have that are positive. Um, so I decided to yeah, approach that topic, and I use my status as an insider to interview about 80 people, and I ended up getting about, um, 250 survey responses mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and that, that was challenging for me because Musicology primarily trains you to be an archive researcher. Mm, interesting. Um, so I had to pick these skills up on the fly <laugh>, uh, which is I guess also a feature of musicology. We kind of dabble a little bit in everything. Um, and that's too, Yeah, <laugh>. Yeah. It's the worst goal. Sorry. Oh, yeah. It's, it's, it's, yeah, it's accurate. Um, and as I was doing this, I started to use things like, uh, qualitative, um, evaluation programs or qualitative research programs like in Vivo, um, to analyze the interviews I got and figure out trends. 

And I realized I, I like that sort of thing. Um, but more important to me was I discovered that I really like organizational problem solving, so looking at what is going on here, like what is causing it and why, and does that have like a bigger effect on people? Um, and again, that relates just really well to musicology and I'm sure dance to where you're thinking about constantly thinking about the audience. Like what's the audience going to interpret this as? Like, what does this movement mean? Um, and so the general perspective of really understanding that art and culture and really everything you do is imbued with politics and has a larger social meaning, um, has really gave me a leg up in marketing actually, um, because you sort of reverse engineer that. So as I was completing this research, um, I started to go on the job market. 

I had decided early on that academia wasn't for me. Um, I'm a first generation college student and had quite the time adjusting, um, at the University of Michigan in particular, um, a lot, a lot of my colleagues come from more privileged backgrounds. And so it was a bit of culture shock for me. Um, between that and just the realities of the job market, I decided that it wasn't for me. Um, so I started, you know, trying to figure out what I was going to do. I'm really passionate about equity and social justice work, um, as you might guess from my dissertation topic. So I started initially pursuing that and I ended up applying to sport because I was really familiar with our pub quizzes. So, you know, just your run of the mill bar trivia. And I had participated in that a lot, so I knew the, that i r business pretty well. 

Um, and I heard of the job opening through a friend who, um, like sent this job posting to me. And then I, I, I applied, um, I had applied for like 15 jobs over the course of the summer and fall <laugh>. And of course, you know, 95% of them ghosted me. I think maybe one person emailed me back saying, This isn't a good fit. Um, and yeah, the I interviewed and it, it went well. Uh, the biggest hurdle was just getting over the like general popular understanding of like what a PhD is and what it means. Uh, it turns out a lot of people think that we make a lot more money than we do. Right. <laugh>, that's my, my new favorite thing is shocking my coworkers by telling them, you know, your professors probably made 30,000 <laugh>. Yeah. Um, so yeah, that's, that's been my transition and it's been incredibly eye-opening. I hadn't realized just how skilled I'd become in writing, um, and forming arguments and, and, you know, all the things in academia that people tell you that you're not good at are actually strengths, um, on the job market. So having to reevaluate, just like what I think about myself was huge. Um, and like what I think I'm capable of. 

Speaker 1 (09:42):

Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing. First of all, your work sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing, sharing about that a little bit. And I feel like so much of what you just said will resonate with a lot of people from your experiences as first gen PhD candidates student at, at Michigan, through that mental and emotional process of deciding to step, deciding is not for you for, for a number of reasons. And I know people have a very wide variety reasons that they decide it's not for them because there are so many ways in which academia really dehumanizes us and messes with us, um, <laugh>. So thank you. Thank you for sharing. I feel like every time somebody talks about their, their perspective and their journey, it's comforting to hear, It's interesting and it's helpful too, especially to hear about you talking about the kinds of skills, um, that you had in, in abundance, right? Yeah. Um, that were really helpful. 

Speaker 2 (10:40):

Yeah. It's, you know, you mentioned the, like speaking to first generation college students, and just for listeners who maybe aren't seeing this, I'm white. I'm from middle class suburbs, Uh, so I just wanna like, recognize and recognize that privilege that's helped me. I don't know if I would've survived, um, if I had any more identities, if I held any more identities that were marginalized by the academy. Um, so yeah, I think that that's important to note. But also <laugh>. Yeah, it, it's been a pretty, um, I like to use the word horrific <laugh> a horrific experience, um, in term just in terms of 

Hazing, like academic hazing and just outright illegal and abusive conduct. Um, and yeah, so being on the other side and the, I continually just tell people it's, it's, it doesn't have to be like this, right? There's, there's more, there's more out there. My coworkers are amazing. My boss like regularly sits me down and like, we actively work through things instead of just demeaning me and telling me I'm not good enough for the job, that sort of thing. Um, so yeah, that's also been really, really eye opening, knowing that like, it doesn't have to be that way. And, you know, as a first generation student, um, you come in with, I guess I see it as rose colored passive. Yeah. Because you don't know what college is like at all, so you have no expectations for what it should be like beyond movies, <laugh>, and in movies, it's always, you know, parties and people getting yelled at <laugh>. Um, so yeah, not having a frame of reference has made it difficult. 

Speaker 1 (12:25):

Yeah. And so, so interesting too. I don't even know if interesting is the right word, but the academia often presents itself as this, like ostensibly progressive like liberal space, whereas I feel like a lot of us are taught to see marketing as like a 

Speaker 2 (12:43):

More, more, 

Speaker 1 (12:44):

Um, not conservative, but 

Speaker 2 (12:47):

Yeah. You know, it's 

Speaker 1 (12:48):

Deeply capitalist 

Speaker 2 (12:50):

Space. Like, you know, you're reducing 

Speaker 1 (12:55):


Speaker 2 (12:56):

That are going to be, Oh, there you go, explicitly consumed, rather than, okay, you're producing things that are going to be explicitly cons or, or explicitly for the purpose of consumption. Um, but actually, so, uh, at Michigan I did, uh, DEI certificate and it 

Prepared me. And then also, like a lot of the advocacy work I've done within my department, um, and in other areas prepared me for, um, I think knowing how to approach diversity, work labor, um, in that sense. But I've been really surprised at how much of an effort the corporate world is, is making. Um, and I mean, of course there's some, there's probably majority are approaching it from like this very performative neoliberal aspect where nothing actually changes. Um, but yeah, like today I was just putting together, um, an ads, like an advertisement, um, for our women's history month themed trivia. And I realized I've got the power now to foreground, um, like these, all these historical women, uh, who've been really erased by history. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like I was able to put disabled, uh, disability activists in there. I was able to put, um, just like anybody who is just typically not, not considered, like, so, you know, it's going to be an ad where people don't recognize the faces, but I'm hoping that that might trigger some thought as to like, okay, you know, this is women's history month and these are all people who are not like wealthy white women. 

What does this say about women's history? Um, and our reception of it. So yeah, marketing, like, you get to, at least for Boel <laugh>, um, you get to do a lot of really cool things because you have total control over what message the public sees. Um, and so being really intentional about it is something that I definitely was not able to do in academia. Um, it's just, you know, you don't have to fight tooth and nail <laugh>. I say like, Hey, maybe we should put on the website, like what venues are, um, trans-friendly spaces, and nobody fights me on it. <laugh>, they're like, Oh, yeah, we should do that. Um, and so yeah, it's just been like really eye opening because yeah, you see, you're, you're trained to think that the ACA academia is very liberal and inclusive, but you realize it's, it's not 

Speaker 1 (15:31):

<laugh>. Yeah. What you're saying has me thinking a lot about audience too. Um, and just the, uh, because you know, the idea that, oh, you're producing just for consumption, but we're doing that in academia too. Yeah. <laugh>, it's just like, for like a tiny, at least in terms of the research, like a tiny little Yeah. 

Speaker 2 (15:46):

For the 50 peoples that'll buy your book. 

Speaker 1 (15:49):

Tiny miniature audience. Um, so I've thought about that as well, the idea of like, well, you know, being able to reach a bro, reach a broader audience, like mm-hmm. <affirmative> meet people where they're at <laugh>, like, Yeah. Like being conversation with, with, with the, the world more broadly than like the tiny narrow, um, audience that's available in academia. Um, although, you know, teaching can be really wonderful, but it has its challenges too, of course. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So can you tell me a little bit, just for people listening, um, can you explain a little bit about the type of work you do now? Like, I feel like this is something that, like, we're not, if you're not adjacent to that field or not really familiar with it, it can be a little mysterious. Um, so what, what type of work do you do? 

Speaker 2 (16:36):

Yeah, so, um, today, for example, um, this past week or so, I've been working on a plan, um, to market our private events. And that has involved me doing some market research, which sounds intimidating, but it's really just, you know, you've got your general research skills, you can look up some numbers and it's not too hard to figure out what they do, uh, or what they mean. Um, and then looking at that, the data you gather and saying, saying to yourself like, Okay, what does this say about the people we're trying to reach? What type of messages are they willing to hear? Um, what mediums are most likely to inspire engagement? Um, and again, it's also a lot like teaching, um, because you need to be constantly like trying to pull them in, otherwise they're gonna, you know, not care <laugh>. Um, so yeah, I've been working on that plan and coming up with like, Okay, here are, here's an ad campaign we can do, we could do like popup trivia, that'd be fun. 

Let's do it. And so I outline steps that I think should happen, and then I pass it off to someone else and they take care of it <laugh>, which is just mind blowing for me because as an academic, like you are, it's very entrepreneurial and you're constantly like marketing yourself, you know, research, like abstracts, proposals, things like that are all, you know, they're all really similar to marketing. We just don't understand them like that. Um, and then also today I was writing, um, some copy for, again, advertising these private events. So I was telling, writing like, Okay, you know, include pictures of these women and the text should say this. And then I just send it off to my designer and the designer takes care of it, <laugh>. So it's, it's really cool. It's like all the stuff. Yeah, I know. It's all the stuff I love about academia. 

Um, but without the abuse <laugh> and with more support. Um, so yeah, that's been, it. It's just been really great realizing that this is possible. Um, I know when I first started applying to jobs, marketing was this like really nebulous thing. I I, you know, I'm sitting here thinking of mad men or whatever. Um, and especially now with trends moving away from traditional ads, um, and more about like experiences and actually engaging with people, I think there's a lot of room for people in the humanities or even social scientists to move into this space and have a, a really profound impact. Um, it's been really surprising to me. Um, you know, you're used, you become in grad school, you become used to everybody writing at a PhD level, and you kind of lose sight of the fact that that's a skill that you have developed, that you've spent a lot of time developing. And not everyone has the opportunity to do that. So it's very well possible that you can see the words in ways that the majority of our coworkers don't. 

Speaker 1 (19:48):

Amazing. Um, you without, you don't nec you don't have to talk numbers, but how do you feel like your compensation compares to what was available to you in recent? 

Speaker 2 (19:59):

Oh, I'll, I'll talk. I, I'm full, full transparency. 

Speaker 1 (20:02):

They're comfortable with, 

Speaker 2 (20:03):

Um, yeah. So as part of the interview process, they asked me how much I thought I, you know, what would be my ideal pay range. And I think I said like 

Speaker 1 (20:13):

A very scary question. I think for a transitioning academic, probably for a lot of, a lot of people, I think 

Speaker 2 (20:18):

A transition, I'm like, This is a new field. I don't know what I'm doing. I like frantically Googled, you know, salaries in my area. Um, and I ended up saying like 40 to 45 because in academia I expect like 30, 25 or like anything is better than what I'm earning right now. Um, and my boss, who's an incredible human being, he came back to me and said, You know, we're really not comfortable paying you that, so let's start you at 53. Um, and that includes fully paid healthcare, which is probably another, you know, almost $10,000 in the United States a year. Um, so it's, the benefits are great and it's, my time is incredibly flexible, um, just like academia. And I also have unlimited vacation days, and when Sparkle says unlimited, they actually mean it. Um, so they encourage you like, Oh, you're not feeling well, well take time and get better. This isn't life or death, like this can wait <laugh>. Um, so there's just, yeah, it's, the salary and the compassion are just at such a higher level in like what I would've expected out of academia. 

Speaker 1 (21:35):

Yeah. And I have to say, I had this, the exact same exchange, not for a full-time job, but for a consulting gig where someone asked me a rate and I gave it, and the person came back and was like, Well, I I can't believe that would be too, you know, like 20% higher. And I was just like, <laugh>, Yeah, 

Speaker 2 (21:55):


Speaker 1 (21:56):

Work. I'm working on it. I guess we're all working on it <laugh>. 

Speaker 2 (21:59):

I know. And it's, you know, that was a challenge too. I think looking back, um, when I was applying, I was underselling myself. Um, and so somebody sees your resume, they see that you're pursuing a PhD and they assume that you're going to want six figures, that you want the highest level job. So when you, you know, I was trying to be humble and apply to like, entry level positions, um, and I wasn't hearing anything back. And I'm pretty sure now after talking to some people it's because I would, everybody, in everybody's eyes, I was overqualified. Um, so yeah, academia like trains you to not believe in yourself, um, so that you can, you know, fight this invisible intellectual war or whatever, but that's, that's not true. Like, you just really need to take a step back and realize that what you go through in academia isn't the real world, and that you are so much more valuable. You are so much more important, and you've got so much more to contribute than I think a lot of grad students come to feel by the end of their program. 

Speaker 1 (23:07):

So what would you say right now, you, we've sort of talked to this a little bit, but if you had to just summarize it and say right now, what might be a rose and a thorn for you of the work you do? So something you love and something that's not so great? 

Speaker 2 (23:22):

I really love just how creative I can be. Um, they give me a problem like, we need to sell more of this or, you know, fix this and I can just throw 30 ideas at the wall and work with my coworkers and figure out what works and what doesn't work. And it's just a really collaborative and supportive environment. Um, I think in other contexts, I, I explained it to my boss as it's an environment where you can be fear fearlessly creative, um, because of the support around me. Um, a a thorn is, I am it, it's more of a personal one. I'm still very much getting over academia. Um, and that means like, if I make a mistake, if I feel like I'm not working as much as I have imagined expectations of me, um, then I'm all, you know, I'm still terrified that my boss is gonna fire me tomorrow. Um, so yeah, I guess the, the thorn would be, you know, in academia you have defined start and end dates and those are basically guaranteed. But this, you know, it's, I live in Michigan, so it's an uh, right to work state or I think whatever union busting phrase they use. Um, and so, you know, you really can be dropped at any, any point. Um, and so that's been the thorn, not that I think they would drop me at any point. 

Speaker 1 (24:52):

<laugh>. Yeah, No, that's really helpful. Um, so I wanna pivot a little bit just to talk about nuts and bolts questions, cuz this is kind of geared toward people who are looking to make a professional pivot or mm-hmm. <affirmative> or out of academia or out of whatever work they're doing right now. Um, so, uh, if somebody said to you that they were interested in getting into the field or into a position similar to yours right now, what skills do you feel like they might need or, or wanna emphasize to work in a position like yours? 

Speaker 2 (25:25):

Yeah, I, I think the most helpful thing that I ended up figuring out is you are an entrepreneur as an academic, um, you know, you, if you're doing, if you're hosting an invited talk, you've gotta schedule all that. If you're helping run a conference, uh, you gotta do, you know, have those organizational skills. You've gotta give detailed feedback for peer reviews. Um, so you've got all of the skills that are necessary for marketing in particular, um, you know, like event organization, long term project management, um, basic, uh, like I'm talking Canva, basic graphic design, <laugh>, um, because somebody else will take care of it. And yeah, the, the, the skills are have been just surprisingly so much overlap. And I think the hardest thing was realizing that there is overlap and that I just need to articulate it as such. Um, so like, for example, before I actually got this job, I started reframing my, nobody knows what historical musicology is, right? 

<laugh>, like nobody knows. Um, and they just assume like, you know, the average person just assumes I'm playing an instrument or something. Um, so I started reframing it as like organizational studies or, um, like, Oh, I'm blanking. Yeah. So yeah, I'll just say organizational studies. Oh, worries. Um, yeah, or, uh, music, Oh, analysis of musical cultures, things like that. You know, using a little bit more specific language just to say what I'm doing and make it make sense for me. I try to think like, okay, you know, my mom doesn't know a thing about music. She doesn't know a thing about academia. Um, how, how do I explain this to her? How do I explain this to my aunts and uncles? You know, what are the very basic things I can do so that they don't just like have their eyes glaze over <laugh> at holiday parties. 

Speaker 1 (27:33):

Yeah, That's great. Very, that's a super useful guide. Um, what I know a lot of, uh, academics in particular, but, and also I feel I have a lot of kind of artists and creatives that I think listen to this and have been in my network. I think, I know some people have some anxiety about the schedule situation, going from what is more like a lancey type schedule into a quote unquote nine to five, um, or whatever hours it actually is. How has that transition been for you? What is your schedule look and feel like, and how do you, how have you felt about that? 

Speaker 2 (28:10):

Yeah, so the transition was made a little bit easier by the fact that, um, probably in my fourth year, um, after I achieved candidacy, I started trying to commit to not working after dinner <laugh>, which I know is, is hard for a lot of people. Um, and I have the benefit of being somewhat of a morning person so I can get up and, and work. But, um, the way my brain works, I need that regimentation. I need that, um, schedule, like really hardly or really strictly defined otherwise. Uh, my, I'm, I'm lost to the world <laugh>. Um, so yeah, that, that transition hasn't been terrible. What is, what has been difficult about it is the realization that like, okay, if I step away from my desk to go let my dog out and, you know, something happens and I don't get back to my computer for 45 minutes, like somebody might message me or I might have to, you know, supposed to be doing something. Um, so that's been the, the biggest challenge. But even then, um, again, my company is just incredibly fantastic <laugh>, I, I, I can't get over it. Um, and so it's been a lot more flexible than I was expecting it to be. 

Speaker 1 (29:34):

So for, for folks who are looking to kind of take first steps toward transitioning maybe toward working in, in, in your field or similar field, do you have, I know, I know we talked about this a little bit, but do you have any general kind of parting advice you'd like to give? And do you have any particular advice that you would wanna put out into the world for women, people of color, people who have been traditionally kind of marginalized? Um, 

Speaker 2 (30:03):

Yeah. Um, child 

Speaker 1 (30:04):

Off, Sorry, 

Speaker 2 (30:05):

<laugh>. No, that's fine. Um, 

Speaker 1 (30:06):

Question work right there. <laugh>. 

Speaker 2 (30:09):

Yeah. So I think my, my biggest advice is just, you know, don't undersell yourself. Um, getting a PhD is just a tremendous achievement, and especially if you are, um, if you hold any identities that make getting a PhD even harder, um, all those skills you've learned, um, in terms of code switching or just departmental politics, handling, those sorts of things are incredibly value valuable. And I don't know if it's something that a lot of people who are not in academia really get to, to work on. Um, and then, sorry, I'm forgetting. 

I think that, Oh, um, so networking <laugh> is important and I hate it. Um, and you know, just like, just like, you know, going to conferences and you have to like awkwardly walk up to the person mm-hmm. <affirmative> whose research you admire, and you're like, Oh, you know, I'm just a little grad student, I'm scared. Um, but yeah, reaching out to really anyone and everyone, um, you're gonna get some people that say no, but you'll get a lot more people that say yes. And I think, you know, what's a statistic? Like 70% of jobs come because of networking connections. Um, 

Speaker 1 (31:29):

Yes, it's very depressing. 

Speaker 2 (31:30):

Yeah. Yeah. And so yeah, it can be really, really, really intimidating. Um, but you might be surprised who you know and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, even if it's a, a friend of a friend just ask them to sit down and get coffee, um, or, you know, have a, a Zoom chat. Um, and yeah, it, it's intimidating and it's frustrating and yeah, it's total BS that, um, you know, these connections still are as important as they are. Like, it's, it's not, not fair in any way, shape, or form. Um, but I think academics do have the skills to navigate that with Grace <laugh>, you know, the earlier you can get on people's radar, the better. Um, so be that if you live in a, an urban area. Um, I live outside of Detroit, Um, they've got, there's several associations for young, uh, female entrepreneurs. There's association, you know, millennial business people and things like that. Um, or even social, 

Speaker 1 (32:36):

Yeah, the association's game is really on point right now. I feel like 

Speaker 2 (32:40):

<laugh>, so. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, it, it's amazing. Like you go to something like, um, which I actually used to use when I was living abroad to like, not be alone. No, 

Speaker 1 (32:51):

I can't believe me. Meetup, I feel like it's back. I feel like it was big. Like you <laugh> 

Speaker 2 (32:56):

Yeah, it's, and it's totally like I, yeah, I had scheduled a bunch of like, going to these mixers and it's horrifically awkward, but at a certain point you just have to like, basically disassociate <laugh> and just be like, Okay, this is what I gotta do. Um, yeah. So the connections thing I pro is probably the most important part, and academia is so incredibly isolating that that can be really difficult. Um, and so that's why I think having confidence in yourself and knowing that you're deserving of these things is, is so important. 

Speaker 1 (33:29):

Yeah. Thank you for bringing that up. Um, because it, it hasn't come up as much as I would've thought. And I do think it's super, super critical. And I'm also trying to decar it for, for myself and for anybody else by framing it as like our community, you know, community connections and our communities. We can, we can pick each other up and mm-hmm. <affirmative> and create what we need within ourselves so that Ds scaries it a little bit. 

Speaker 2 (33:56):

Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, honestly, if anybody's interested in like community care or like codependence in a good way, um, the disability community has such amazing resources because, you know, when you're disabled, uh, you don't typically have a lot of support like built into the social systems and structures. So you need to rely on other people to help you just survive. And so I think in academia, we've got a lot to learn from, um, disabled people and or people with disabilities, whoever they, however they identify, um, because that community has it figured out. 

Speaker 1 (34:34):

That's a great, that's a great point. Um, so speak, speaking of connections, I'm gonna ask you in a minute to share any, your, any social media or any places that, that people can connect with you if you'd like to share. But before I ask you that, is there anything I didn't ask you about that you wanted to talk about and, and put out into the world? 

Speaker 2 (35:00):

I, I'm just trying to, I had a, I had a thought, but it's, it's gone. I think it's probably a, you know, 

Oh, oh, this is what it is. Uh, there, there are consequences in the corporate world. And I think that's the, the best part about, um, about it is, you know, I have faith that if something goes wrong or somebody treats me poorly, they're, they're going to be, um, handled appropriately, uh, in most instances. Wow. But like in academia, I had some very difficult times and, you know, was told to apologize to my abuser, um, to make it the problem go away. So I can't ever see that, at least in where I work, I can't ever see that happening. Um, and so just having, being able to rely on the system to help you rather than hurt you is an amazing phenomenon. 

Speaker 1 (36:00):

Wow. Yeah, and I'm definitely, I got goosebumps just hearing about that. And we're recording this right now. It would've probably come out a little later, um, like maybe, Oh yeah. After all the multiple weeks, but we're in the middle of like a major one of many Yeah. But like a major academia scandal with sexual assault at Harvard covered, you know, uncovered coverups, 

Speaker 2 (36:23):

Um, University of Michigan we're pretty, uh, pretty familiar with with that one. Um, yeah, and that's, yeah, I mean, there's a reas I, I really enjoy, as disheartening as it can be fo like researching sexual assault and abuse top related topics, um, it is really heartening to see the, the changes that have been happening. Um, you know, interviewing people from the nineties who tell stories of something that happened to them and they sought it, um, intervention of some sort, and it was brushed under the rug. Um, and I don't think that would necessarily happen as frequently or as blatantly today. Mm-hmm. There's certainly instances where that, where it does. And, you know, of course it's a st systemic problem, <laugh>, but, um, yeah, Gen Z is killing it, making this, this stuff, uh, come out. 

Speaker 1 (37:21):

<laugh>, you're doing that thing. <laugh>. Um, so Alyssa, oh, if you'd like to share, no pressure. Is there anywhere where people can connect with you, social media, website, anything like that you'd like to share? 

Speaker 2 (37:34):

Yeah, um, I don't even know my, just a moment. Sorry. It's okay. Yeah. So, I mean, if you wanna connect with me on Twitter, um, my handle is Allie, a l y m a d e e r a h, <laugh>. Uh, so it sounds like Allie Madeira, uh, which is my beta name, but it's, uh, a l y m a d e e r a h. 

Speaker 1 (38:01):

Great. Thank you. And we'll put that in the show, the show notes as well, so Okay. People can just click through and find it. Um, thank you so much. It's, it's been great talking to you. This is, this is such a great, unhelpful conversation. Thank you again. 

Speaker 2 (38:14):

Yeah. Um, oh, sorry, just one more thing to add along with like the, the Twitter stuff. Um, if anybody wants advice or if anybody just wants to talk through the transition, I am all about, again, like you said, community support. So feel free to reach out and I'm happy to either connect you with somebody else or help you however I can. Um, cuz the only way we're gonna get through this is by helping each other out and helping each other get out of academia <laugh>. 

Speaker 1 (38:43):

Amazing. Thank you. Yeah. 

Speaker 2 (38:45):

All right, thanks. 

Speaker 1 (38:48):

That's it for this week's episode of the Millennial PhD. You can find more content, resources and information on Instagram at the millennial PhD in this collective moment of reevaluating our relationships with work and exploitation. I look forward to connecting with you and building stronger bonds of community and collaboration. I would love to hear from you via email at the millennial with any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns, or if you're interested in coming on the show as a guest. That's all for now. It's been real. See you next time.