Here’s an essay on getting into and out of academia. A taste:
[T]he life of the mind is highly portable: research and writing can be done outside the friendly confines of colleges and university, and some of us can even become better scholars for having experiences the worlds of commerce and public culture. Further, corporate life is different from the academy, but not completely alien: it has some aspects that are pleasantly familiar, as well as pleasantly different. Because of this, the skills that you develop as a graduate student and postdoc can be real assets in the private sector. Our talents, it turns out, are really quite marketable, and quite useful.
[A]lmost everyone in the humanities takes for granted that the academy is the only place in which one can pursue the life of the mind. The assumption is so pervasive as to seem perfectly natural, and thus it goes unquestioned. Immersion in things intellectual seems by nature antithetical to the coarser interests of the rest of the world, and its absurd obsessions with money and power. If that is true, then there is nothing to be done about leaving: there are and can be no alternatives to the university to (literally) speak of, and no rational policies to pursue or plans to make. Outside the ivy walls lies oblivion, and the less said about that particular abyss the better. It’s no wonder that our language for describing lives that aren’t academic, but are scholarly, is so poor.