I’m on a mission to help academics like you to dream big, recognize the absolute talents and gifts you have… all so you find work that is aligned with your values, without sacrificing your financial freedom.
I’m a master pivoter; I’ve become resilient because I’ve had to be!
I have a PhD in Applied Psychology and worked for 20 years in academia. I resigned in 2021 to create Luna Leadership.
My story: I grew up in poverty, took on loads of debt to live the American Dream, left the USA to avoid the exploitative and unfair academic tenure systems, but got caught in taking on more leadership and service roles while being promised promotions to the point that I left my child and partner in a city 3 hours away in the UK!
As academics, we take on more work, because we are perfectionistic and because we want validation and significance.
I was a people-pleaser and I trusted academia. But my trust was misplaced similar to trusting a toxic lover who makes promises of love and devotion.
But we burn out trying to do all the things, all the while being told we’re not writing enough, leading enough, bringing in enough $$$, etc?
I was burning out supporting students and travelling back each weekend to see my family as well as publishing 8 papers per year and writing grants worth 1M. I believed the university’s promise that I’d be promoted in 2 years but I felt so betrayed when they decided, instead, to make me redundant after 4 years.
After fighting and being featured in national and international media, we won the fight, saved 47 jobs!
That betrayal didn’t leave me in a good place. Burnout was worse and I suffered a pain in my neck for 6 months.
My body was screaming at me – ACADEMIA IS A PAIN IN THE NECK (and your ass will be next to feel the pain if you don’t listen)
I had sacrificed so much for academia that I felt stuck… rooted to the system. I mean, I lost 2 years of seeing my child everyday.
What was it all for!?
At the final hour, I rejected offers from 2 universities and decided it was over. I had the power to reclaim my life, even if it terrified me such that I felt panic at the possibility of being in poverty.
When you leave academia, you really do struggle with feelings of failure, grief, and whether you can do anything else but academia. It’s like “you’re not good enough for academia, but don’t you know that no one else will want you?!”
Getting over these feelings of worth and failure was hard. I did get offers to work in non-profits at Director-level roles, which is how I became unstoppable in my CV writing and interview skills! If anything, I am a determined and persistent little armadillo!
What I realized in my self-discovery is you need to get vulnerable and become intimately familiar with your driving forces – mine were to help people who felt like they never fit in to create their own unique paths to freedom and fulfillment with financial freedom!
I now am a career coach and a research consultant, creating wealth that my parents would have never imagined; success is now redefined as the ability to spend time supporting my child, working on healing from trauma, dancing on stages for charity, and having hikes and cycle rides! I no longer work the wild hours!