Step 4 – Locate “Travel Companions”

This is the fourth in our Career Pivot Series: five ideas for engaging transition.

I’ve been hearing from lots of folks lately who are navigating career change and transitions, so am sharing some thoughts about a process for adopting an “orienteering” process as you move forward. 

Read earlier posts:

Step 1 – Be Where You Are

Step 2 – Pick One

Step 3 – Reach out with an “ask”


Step 4 – Locate “Travel Companions”

Networking is hands-down the most important thing for the orienteering process (now and for the rest of your professional life). If you have been exposed to some terrible networking, or some terrible networkers, remember: networking can be affirming and generous and generative!  Be the kind of networker that you would want to interact with.

Be curious, be generous. 

You have been networking for as long as you have been in the academic context, but we just don’t call it networking in academia. Participating in conferences, pulling together edited volumes, organizing research collaborations – the “peer” in peer review, your classmates, your professors, prospective and current students – everything that you have done thus far has pulled together a community who know you and care about the things that you know and care about and they may well continue to do so….


In expanding your career horizons, you will likely need to expand your network to include other people who will be able to introduce you to other opportunities that will shape your career in new directions. Keep the old ties – these important connections have buoyed you as you have buoyed them over the years, and as you replicate this process and find connections in other domains, you will only become better resources for one another in future.  To use the language of LinekdIn, many of your “first degree connections” – people you already are connected to – can help you connect to people they know – your “2nd degree connections” – which will have you well on your way! 

Networking groups / communities to consider joining:

Beth Duckles’ Open Post Academics

Ethnobreakfast – many connections to user research / tech jobs in the Bay Area

Linguists Outside Academia – a largely dormant google group (but there are 541 folks subscribed, soooooo)

work task @ Appen (M 65+ native Spanish speakers)

work task available at Appen for male, 65+ year old, native Spanish speakers from Latin America.

Here are the details of the task:

In this task, using our Appen Mobile Recorder (AMR) application, the participant will create and record commands in Spanish that they would give to a voice assistant (like Siri and Alexa) in the given context, for the voice assistant to help lead perform certain activities. These could be things such as:

·         Reminders setup: “Remind me to call the doctor at 10 am”

·         Social media: “Show me Maria’s photo from last week”

·         Wake up phrases: “Hey Siri / Alexa, etc.” 

The data collected will be used to train and develop artificial intelligence algorithms behind speech recognition technologies. 

There are a total of 522 recordings, which will take approx. 1-2 hours total to complete. You will have the opportunity to refer family or friends who meet the requirements to participate in this project. See the guidelines for details.

here’s the application link:

Step 3 – Take a leap (reach out with an “ask”)

This is the third in our Career Pivot Series – five ideas for engaging transition.

I’ve been hearing from lots of folks lately who are navigating career change and transitions, so I thought I would share some thoughts about a process for adopting an “orienteering” process as you move forward. 

Step 1 – Be Where You Are

Step 2 -Pick One

Reach out and ask for something

One of my own first epiphanies when I first started navigating “beyond” the academic path was the shift in perspective that resulted from reading Maggie Debelius and Susan Bassala’s excellent book, So What Are You Going to Do With That (SWAYGTDWT)?  Basically, their approach is informed by the idea that when it comes to career research, you need to go to people the way you have been trained as an academic researcher to go to articles and books.  

I “yes-and” their idea to say that yes, approach people AND, if you are going to be approaching people, you need to have an “ask.” You can read more of my thoughts about honoring the ask, but the main idea is that asking is very important – it’s how you start to make things happen for yourself – AND you must be specific.

A good example was a recent post to a listserv that I subscribe to. A woman posted to the group that she had experience doing “interviews, surveys, experiments, ethnographies, focus groups, and on-site fieldwork” and she was looking for opportunities to do this work in an applied user experience research context in the Bay Area. Because her ask was so specific, she heard back from a handful of people including a career coach, and someone who referred her to a recruiter. She started meeting people who introduced her to people, who introduced her to people, which brings me to my next point (oh, and she did land a great job too – BTW).

Ask for things on LinkedIn

We have already talked about LinkedIn as a place to educate yourself about career paths, and a place to search for jobs of course, but it is also a place to actively build and grow (and be generous with) your community, which is the long game here. LinkedIn in a space where sharing and asking for things (in the form of connections, information, ideas, events, resources, and opportunities) is not only normalized, but built-into the design of this platform because its importance is well understood. In asking for things, you give others the opportunity to be generous (and you in turn when others ask – it gives you opportunities to be generous yourself).  Give and Take builds community, which will be your support and your connection to opportunity.

What are some of the ways to ask for things on LinkedIn?

On your profile – signal the things that you are looking for by talking about the things that you have done in the past that you would most like to do again in new contexts. List as many details as you can about methodologies and technologies that you use, past clients (if you can talk about them), hint at ideal future clients. Can you give an example of an impact/outcome of your work?

On the newsfeed – “like” and “share” examples of the kinds of things you are interested in (events, articles, people, etc.).

Post – Write and share your own ideas in the form of updates and articles.  You can also ask for things directly (if discreetly), framing it as an interest having to do with a current research project is probably the safest way to go: “I am actively researching Jewish cultural and linguistic symbols in Amsterdam” or “literature, empirical and analytical approaches openness and tolerance” promote events, books, or anything that you are interested in. You never know who might respond. These are people you want to know anyway because they share your interests!

Search – find and make connections in a particular geographical area, find groups to participate in, find organizations of interest to follow, find events (virtual or face-to-face) to participate in/share, and especially, people to informationally interview.

Speaking of Informational Interviewing…..

Jen Polk has made an art out of these, and has amassed a quantity on her website – from PhD to Life. Maybe you can find one or two to reach out to to ask for something.

Or ask me for something! Contact Career Linguist

see Step 4 – Locate “Travel Companions”

Step 2 – Pick One

This is the second in our Career Pivot Series – five ideas for engaging transition.

I’ve been hearing from lots of folks lately who are navigating career change and transitions, so I thought I would share some thoughts about a process for adopting an “orienteering” process as you move forward. 

I’ll post one idea each week to parallel the five weeks of Career Camp, which is kicking off this week (not too late to join us BTW – if you are interested Contact Career Linguist).

Step Two – Pick One

Think of the research that we did in Step 1 as being like a literature review. Now, you are ready for some analysis, locating yourself within the conversation. This exploration likely showed you what is missing and where you fit in. How is your approach to tackling these challenges similar to / different from the existing ones?  How will you extend/apply/challenge the extant ways of doing things?  In figuring out where you fit, you can also begin to assess degree of fit.  How will I be misunderstood/my training be underestimated?  How will this feel (day to day)? What will I need to learn?  How will I need to adapt?

Pick one just to start with.

By concentrating initially on one of all the possible paths you might take, you help yourself by managing overwhelm, focusing instead on getting your bearings, becoming deeply knowledgeable about specific worlds of work.

If you simply can’t pick one, maybe try three as Bill Burnett and Dave Evans describe in Designing Your Life. They ask you to come up with three entirely different ideas for what your future might look like, and then spend a couple days inhabiting the reality of each one so that you get an embodied sense for what it would really feel like for you inhabit this possible future.

NB: You might be feeling a sense of loss at this stage. Many career navigators with whom I have worked report that in choosing to focus on one thing, they experience a sense of loss of all of the other possibilities / opportunities that might have / could have / should have been pursued.  If you are experiencing this, remind yourself that nothing is lost. The things that you are choosing are just the things you are exploring now. Keep a notebook (or file on your computer) to remind you of all of the things that you have found which interest you. There may well be ways of combining things. OR:

  1. you may well find at the end of this process, that you go right back to your current job, but this time with a much deeper understanding of your WHY
  2. you might find that you land on a job that pays the bills but leaves you time and energy to pursue other passions on the side,
  3. you may choose to focus in the short term on some passions, picking up with the next ones later. 

For more on managing multiple interests, read my review of Emilie Wapnick’s How to Be Everything.

And ultimately, if you find that you just can’t stop thinking about one of the things that you have left to the side for now, consider whether that needs to be given consideration of a thing to pursue right now.

But do pick one!!! 

If you put yourself in the shoes of those with whom you are going to be talking with now (see next step), having done the work of selection helps them be able to help you! When someone asks “what are you looking for?” you can give them one specific answer, and while it may not be the whole answer, and it may not be true forever – it is true today and that’s enough for now.

Most importantly, it is actionable (both for you and for them).

see Step 3 – Take a leap (reach out with an “ask”)

LSA webinar: This IS Linguistics (Friday, Sept 11 @ 1pm EDT)

tune in tomorrow for the third in the series of LSA webinars on “Racial Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Linguistics Curriculum;”

This IS Linguistics: Scope, Positionality, and Graduate Apprenticeship when Diversifying the Linguistics Curriculum

 deandre miles-hercules (University of California, Santa Barbara)   Jamaal Muwwakkil (University of California, Santa Barbara)    
Kendra Calhoun (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Friday, September 11, 1:00 – 2:30 PM EDT
Click here to register

Panelist bios:

deandre miles-hercules is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Their research focuses on language as a nexus for the construction and performance ​of race, gender, and sexuality, specifically as they pertain to Black, femme, queer, and trans communities. Most recently, deandre has written about the linguistic intersection of Blackness and queerness in a forthcoming chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality. Their work has also included research on the phonetic analysis of nonbinary genders, discursive enactment of postmodern racial politics in media production, and the embodied poetics of language in interaction. deandre’s work is supported by a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

Jamaal Muwwakkil is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Interested in sociocultural linguistics, African American Language and Culture, political discourse, and educational linguistics, Jamaal is mindful to center the human experience in his research. His M.A. work highlighted the discourse strategies of conservative student groups on a liberal university campus, with his follow up work detailing how his positionality as a Black liberal man influenced the ethnographic research context. Informed by his experience as the UC Student Regent and work on the UCSB-HBCU Scholars in Linguistics Program, his dissertation will engage with Black undergraduate student development, diversity discourses, and institutional policies.

Kendra Calhoun is a Ph.D. Candidate in Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a sociocultural linguist who studies the intersections of language, identity, ​culture, and power in face-to-face and mediated contexts. She specializes in language and race, social media discourse, institutional discourse, and humor, with a focus on the linguistic and cultural practices of Black communities in the U.S. Her dissertation research examines diversity discourses, ideologies, and practices in U.S. higher education and their impact on graduate students of color at two Minority Serving Institutions. Her co-authored paper on inclusive pedagogy, “Attracting Black Students to Linguistics Through a Black-Centered Introduction to Linguistics Course,” will appear in the December 2020 issue of Language.

Description of the webinar:

This three-part webinar will engage with a series of critical questions about how to address long-standing inequities in linguistics as individuals, as departments, and as a field. In addition to offering immediate action items, the presenters will discuss questions about the historical realities and desired future of linguistics that should shape how linguists approach both short-term and long-term efforts to diversify linguistics curriculum.

deandre miles-hercules will begin the webinar by interrogating and deconstructing the disciplinary boundaries around the scientific study of language. They will highlight early foundational contributions to the development of linguistics’ status as a discrete field of study from related fields, principally by engaging Saussurean and Chomskyan paradigms. deandre suggests that similar types of interdisciplinary interventions from more socio-politically engaged areas of study in the present can serve to redress limitations of linguistics undergirded by its colonial and racist roots. By “scoping the scope” of linguistics, they provide recommendations on locating productive and effectual scholastic spaces for the study of language moving forward. deandre will explore some answers to the following questions, among others:

  • How did dominant conceptions of the scope of linguistics emerge over time?
  • Who gets to decide what linguistics is and should be?
  • In what ways do ersatz disciplinary boundaries between linguistics and some fields, but not others, reinstantiate repressive tendencies observable in the field over time?
  • Where can we locate bridges between fields of study that actualize the potential to dismantle asymmetrical power relations in linguistics?

Next, Jamaal Muwwakkil will explore considerations of positionality in curriculum design, pedagogy, and research. His discussion will center on the practice on acknowledging one’s subject position in research, implications of marking the authors’ subject positions for papers assigned in courses, and the potential consequences of not engaging with this practice. Questions that will be addressed in this talk include:

  • What does it mean to reflect on one’s own positionality as an educator?
  • How might one’s positionality constrain affordances in research contexts?
  • How does overtly engaging with one’s positionality impact classroom dynamics?
  • How does overtly marking one’s positionality contribute to equity and inclusion within Linguistics?

In the final part of the webinar, Kendra Calhoun will discuss the role of graduate students in department-level efforts to diversify linguistics curricula and the broader implications of these efforts. Her discussion will expand undergraduate-focused frameworks of curriculum change by engaging questions about what diversity and inclusion in graduate linguistics programs looks like. She will use a framework of apprenticeship to discuss the faculty-graduate-undergraduate relationship and the need to account for graduate students’ simultaneous roles as students, teachers, and researchers.  She will address a series of reflective questions for graduate students and faculty, including:

  • What are our next steps when efforts to diversify undergraduate curricula successfully attract more minoritized and underrepresented students to graduate linguistics programs?
  • Is diversification of graduate students in the department accompanied by structural changes to ensure equitable classroom and research experiences?
  • How are faculty modeling inclusive teaching practices in both undergraduate and graduate courses?
  • Which “extracurricular” needs are actually inseparable from the curriculum?

The Q&A session will follow the third presentation.

Navigating a career pivot – 5 ideas

bend in the path ahead

I’ve been hearing from lots of folks lately who are navigating career transitions, so I thought I would share five ideas for engaging transition along with a process for continuing the “orienteering” process as you move forward. 

I’ll post one idea each week to parallel the five weeks of Career Camp, which is kicking off this week (not too late to join us BTW – if you are interested Contact Career Linguist).

  1. Be Where You are (with curiosity)

Whether you are moving from Academia to “beyond” or just leaving a job that is familiar for one that is less so, you are moving from a system that you know quite well into one that is less familiar. Increasingly true of today’s world of work is that knowledge about opportunities are distributed, which simply means that this will be a research project. The first order of business will be to learn everything that you can!

LinkedIn is an invaluable resource – think of it as the world’s largest repository of information about work.  Start with any ideas that come to you – anything that has always interested you, something you know that you are passionate about or are just the slightest bit curious and might want to learn a little more about.

Free associate. And then free associate on your associations. Build out by identifying people and organizations and jobs (ideally actual job ads for positions that are actually open). Be a linguist for yourself by immersing yourself in the language of jobs that speak to you (i.e. in ads, or by looking at how people describe their work on LinkedIn). Pay attention to how the organizations you are drawn to talk about the work that they do (on their website, in the press, etc.). Note down key words and phrases, knowledge skills and abilities that seem to be valued, ways of describing expertise, values and cherished ideals that are held up, all of this information is of use to you in your process of discernment and in the job search, and eventually on the job itself.

Some more sources of information and inspiration: I feature stories of linguists in my Career Paths of Linguists and ideas for places to work on my 50 Linguist-Friendly Organizations list (these are places that have hired linguists in the past). I am also amassing a Worlds of Work (WoW) series – these hopefully will eventually be a “grab and go” for a linguist wanting to plug into particular fields. I have done 4 so far (the non-profit world, applied research, applied storytelling  and user experience).

see step #2 – Pick one

….and here’s to what’s next!

Editorial jobs @ Oxford University Press

They are hiring for 6 editorial assistant positions and 2 editorial interns

Job Details – Editorial Assistant


Oxford University Press

At Oxford University Press we have a clear mission which informs everything we do—to create the highest quality academic and educational resources and services and to make them available across the world. It is our mission to further the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. We share the University’s uncompromising standards and belief in the transformative power of education to inspire progress and realize human potential.

The Press is rapidly shifting to digital publishing in all areas, increasing accessibility to our products and services, and improve educational and research outcomes.

Jump-Start Your Career in Academic and Educational Publishing

As an Editorial Assistant, you’ll apply and develop your organizational, interpersonal, creative thinking, and leadership skills from day one. Every day is different, but here is a sample of what you can experience and accomplish:

  • Support Acquisitions Editors in all activities leading to the launch of high quality products, including providing administrative support to editorial staff, helping to evaluate proposals, communicating directly with authors and other content creators, project management, overseeing tasks such as administering external review panels, the creation of digital assets,  and preparation of manuscripts for transmittal to content operations. 
  • Working collaboratively with cross functional colleagues, including maintaining information flow between Editorial and all other departments across The Press, such as Sales, Marketing, Content Operations, and Manufacturing
  • Provide input on all aspects of the publishing process, including acquisition, development, design, and marketing. Help with the development and use of our digital products, including ensuring that content is suitable for digital use and/or gaining internal certification in digital products such as Oxford Learning Cloud and Oxford Insight, to enable customer facing demonstrations of these products and to inform the thought process around digital asset creation and placement.
  • Serve as liaison to authors including coaching authors on procedures, house style, and content delivery preparations and maintaining the relationship between authors and OUP

Essential Criteria:

  • The ideal candidate is self-motivated, proactive, detail-oriented, receptive to feedback and learns quickly
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills
  • Ability to work consistently within established timelines
  • Prior office experience or related internship preferred
  • A strong communicator with the ability to balance a variety of responsibilities
  • Excellent demonstrated written, proofreading and research skills
  • Proficient using word processing and spreadsheet applications
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively in a virtual environment.  Position can be located in either Cary NC, New York or Sunderland MA.

Please note that if you are applying to one of the Editorial Assistant openings, you do not need to apply to all of them to be considered.   EDITO03607, EDITO03608, EDITO03604, EDITO03605, EDITO03603, EDITO03606  

GJC Level:   S2 (for internal purposes only)

We are committed to supporting diversity in our workforce and ensuring an inclusive environment where all individuals can thrive. We seek to employ a workforce representative of the markets that we serve and encourage applications from all.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

Career Camp Fall 2020

Sign up here (40% discount for LSA members)

Want to hear more? We recently had a discussion about Linguists’ Superpowers with Career Campers as part of the Employing Linguistics webinar series.

Read Testimonials from former Campers

Still have questions? Contact Career Linguist

or bring them to the orientation:
Friday, Sept 4th @ 2pm PDT / 5pm EDT
First week ‘s campfire – Friday Sept 11th

here’s to what’s next!

job: Research Associate – Over Zero

Logo of Over Zero

Organization: Over Zero (Project of Hopewell Fund)

Position: Research Assistant/Associate

Location: Remote

Status: Non-exempt; Full Time

Reports to: Director of Research and Field Advancement

Duration: This is a one-year position with the possibility of extension

Position Summary

About Over Zero: Over Zero, a project of the Hopewell Fund, was founded to reduce, prevent, and create long-term societal resilience to identity-based violence and other forms o group-targeted harm. We specifically focus on the role of communication in either fueling or counteracting this type of violence. Our work involves equipping leaders from different sectors with tools for violence prevention and response and conducting and translating relevant research (for example, on sacralization of values, on the impact of COVID-19 on hateful and dangerous speech, and on promising and effective approaches to counteracting online hate speech). Throughout our work, we collaborate with a range of academics, researchers, and practitioners globally.

Over Zero is seeking a Research Assistant or Associate to join its team. This is an exciting position for someone who is passionate about research and social impact.

The Research Associate will support Over Zero in conducting:

  • Survey design and analysis: Coordinating input from researchers for survey development, researching and compiling survey measures, and coding, analyzing and writing up results for survey data;
  • Evaluations: Collecting and organizing evaluation data from our practitioner partners;
  • Literature reviews: Reviewing and compiling relevant research literature and findings.

If you are highly organized, pay close attention to detail, enjoy engaging in a range of quantitative and qualitative research projects, this may be the perfect position for you!

Essential Responsibilities and Tasks:

  • Conduct literature reviews as needed, write up research results or propose measures useful to our work;
  • Help draft or edit survey questionnaires in Qualtrics
  • Survey data management, including cleaning and organizing data (Excel)
  • Preliminary statistical analysis: descriptive statistics, summary tables (Stata, Excel, or other)
  • Organize, manage, and communicate around partner evaluation questionnaires and data
  • Help draft or edit written reports or documents
  • Citation management (EndNote)
  • Provide other support as needed


We are looking for a self-motivated individual who is passionate about building resilience to division and violence in the U.S., skilled at managing timelines, and detail-oriented. The ideal candidate for this position will be a recent B.A./B.S. graduate with some research experience, or an M.A. graduate with prior interest or work on these issues.

Minimum qualifications:

  • B.A. or B.S. in social science
  • Previous experience assisting with research projects, particularly around relevant topics (intergroup conflict and cooperation, marginalized groups, election violence or violence prevention, etc.)

Minimum competencies:

  • Highly organized
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Flexible and adaptive to manage shifting priorities and deliver results
  • Proactive approach to solving problems
  • Strong communication skills, both within-team (around project status, deadlines, etc.) and outside the team (with partners)
  • Previous experience with Excel and PowerPoint
  • Interest in using/learning EndNote, Qualtrics, and Stata or another statistical software

Preferred qualifications:

  • Master’s degree
  • Previous experience with EndNote, Qualtrics, and Stata or another statistical software

Hopewell Fund Careers

Over Zero is a project of the Hopewell Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. The Hopewell Fund is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. The Hopewell Fund’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

Salary: Salary starts at $50,000; negotiable based on experience. An excellent benefits package is included.

Application Instructions: Please send a cover letter and CV to jobs@projectoverzero.orgRead lessReport this listing

Details at a glance

Remote PossibleFull Time ScheduleContract

  • 4-Year Degree Required


Excellent benefit package is included


Washington, DC

How to Apply


Please send a cover letter and CV to using the subject line “Research Associate Application”