Writing to confirm and clear up some rumors. First, I did quit the program. I cleared prelims after first year and was on track with coursework, but when I got to the qualifying paper, meh. Given that, and the severe depression and anxiety I was going through because of all the controversy online, I took a leave of absence third year. Toward the end of the leave, I opened up some GSS data thinking I'd show what a weak predictor race, class, and gender are of outcomes in Blau space, but, meh. I just didn't have it in me.
It's really the qualifying paper that helped me decide. I'm stubborn enough that if I had the empirical chops, I would have stuck around and published my way up hill. But I just don't like R or Python or interviews and ethnography enough to have stayed. I really tried to put the existential and political issues aside, and be a grown up about whether or not the nuts-and-bolts, day-to-day stuff that sociologists do is what I wanted to do. It wasn't.
I really do like the reading and thinking and writing. I've been looking for work in policy and media - an even worse job market than academics. Maybe I'll teach high-school and do some school choice evangelism or something. I took a brief internship at Niskanen Center, which is making a bid for left libertarianism, but I think I'm kinda done trying to play left wing gadfly. And DC is a true s**t hole. Culturally vacuous. Class homogenous. Personalities are an endangered species out here.
Thanks, so much, to everyone in the program, and so many people externally, who bent over backwards to make a home for me in sociology. I don't fail to appreciate the enormous heavy lifting I demanded of folks. It was and continues to be an enormous privilege to learn from sociologists. You guys are some of the biggest, smartest, most generous people I've met.
I do wish people would have been more vigorous about decrying the online harassment. I hope the leftists, and academics specifically, get better at that. But it is what it is, and I did make a deliberate choice to barrel into it head first, trying to highlight the epistemic and political problems in the discipline.
I hope everyone has a merry Christmas. This year has been a tough year for everyone. Have an egg nog and a bourbon! Cheers!