How to Live a Life in IR

Tom Barnett posted a pretty amazing and comprehensive template for how to get into International Relations (more specifically, “geopolitical analysis”), from graduate school through middle age, on his blog yesterday.  As a piece of life advice for recent grads scared about the future, it’s worth reading in full (two or three times, really) even if your career ambitions have nothing to do with international relations.

Good bit:

The two primary reasons to get the PhD are:

  1. You’ve got the union card, meaning you have the adjunct teaching option that much more easily obtained – if desired, and there may be some point where you actually want to go academic, like I did at the Naval War College – point being there are no glass ceilings to be confronted once you have the union card; and,
  2. It’s just a great experience to write a book-length defensible piece of analytic worth.  You will never get this duo of deeds in any other setting professionally.  You can seek near-equivalents, but nothing quite like it, and I just think it’s incredibly worthwhile to have that all under your belt before starting out.

And then go to “finishing school!”

As much as it scares me, I know that I can’t rightfully neglect to repost this one too:

Get married and have kids and put your family first, because you will likely live a very long life and this career will end, and when it does, and you’re old, you will learn this truth: nobody ever lies on their death bed saying, I wish I accomplished more. They all say, I wish I treated my loved ones better.

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