Welcome along to Linguists Outside Academia! We are a motley crew of self-identifying linguists with tenuous connections to the groves of academe. This includes trained linguists who are currently out of work, as well as people on shaky fixed-term academic contracts, and others who have 'linguistic' type jobs in non-academic settings. We're here to share ideas about professional life, rejoice in success, commiserate in failure, and generally steer our way through the rolling swells of a tumultuous job market.

Google Group Details

The group is set to be readable by anyone online (although only members can post messages). That accessibility seemed only fair, given that it's all about inclusion, friendliness, hand-clapping in a circle, etc. But, that means whatever you write is out there for all to see, FOREVER (well probably, you know what the internet is like).

You don't need to visit the Group website to post a message. Once you've signed up, just send an email to ling-outside@googlegroups.com. Nothing could be simpler. Try it! Anecdotal evidence suggests it makes you feel 27% happier.

Posting guidelines

Please email to the list anything you think is at all vaguely relevant. It doesn't have to be solid advice for landing that perfect job, or the one true secret to being taken seriously. All sorts are welcome, from interesting news stories or comics to personal tales of success, challenge, or abject failure -- they all carry lessons, and in a group like this, we really need to share whatever pearls of wisdom we have.

If it is your first day joining Linguists Outside Academia, we highly suggest you post a short intro post about why you joined and what you're doing currently. Who knows, some friends on the list might say hi. We hope so.

Who are you?

Our members are of all shapes and sizes; linguists who haven't yet gotten a degree; postdocs and PhDs; linguists honorary or amateur; those are clinging to the ivy on the walls of the ivory tower, and those who've decided to brave the world outside of it; professionals outside of academia, and professionals with a large dose of imposter syndrome. We welcome all and sundry. We number more than 150, at last count. There is a long standing introduction thread detailing some of our entries; we encourage you to join up and add to it.

As for Linguists Outside Academia, it was founded in early 2012 by Dave Sayers, with help from Richard Littauer and Anna Belew.

Richard Littauer (Coder Linguist)

Richard studied really hard for his MA in Linguistics from Edinburgh, and then did two years of an MSc for Computational Linguistics in Germany and Malta before he realised he needed to pay off his student loans and get a real job. He now works as a developer, and spends all of the time he used to spend publishing on various coding projects (including this group). He enjoys the interface between code and languages, and doesn't want to stop reading academic journal articles.

Anna Belew (PhD in training)

Anna Belew comes to LoA from the sunny fields of documentary linguistics, where she's currently a PhD student at the University of Hawaii. In her previous life as a project manager at The LINGUIST List, she got hooked on doing linguistics in an environment with 9-to-5 working hours, firm deadlines, and lots of task management spreadsheets-- that is to say, an environment much like those found Outside Academia. In her spare time, she daydreams about founding Linguists Without Borders.

Dave Sayers (One-time-founder)

Dave Sayers crawled out of a PhD in 2008 at the University of Essex, before settling down to his destiny of being a down-and-out academic. During this time he came up with Linguists Outside Academia, and announced it to the world . After years on the dusty outskirts of academia he eventually came by some short-term lecturing work at two universities in Finland. Then in 2014 he finally became a proper grown-up academic by landing a permanent position as Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, England. At this point, with no claim left to Outsidership, and with a heavy heart, he relinquished the reins of LOA. He remains a member though, and some nights you can hear his chains rattle along the walls...


Occasionally, Linguists Outside Academia holds events.

Virtual resumé workshop

Laura Pelcher is running a virtual resumé workshop!

The diversity of education, work experience and career goals found in LOA is a great resource we can all tap into. There is no cookie cutter mold that we will fit into; therefore this workshop will be shaped by those who wish to participate. It will be a moving collaborative experience of support and insight into what our resumes and CVs are saying about us.

Check out the resources here.

Take a look through the folder, sign up on the spreadsheet and message Laura with any questions! The time requirement will be kept manageable, with groups of no more than three. And, of course, join the main Google group to take part.

Past events

Our last event was at the Linguistic Society of America's annual conference, in January 2015 in Portland, which included a
Panel on Linguists outside of Academia, organised by John Rickford, on behalf of the LSA executive committee.

If you would like to go to an event or help organize one, get in touch!