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The ivory tower is crumbling. The shortage of tenure-track jobs (once thought temporary) now stretches into the future. Morale, according to recent studies, is plummeting among those who do have jobs. And an army of underpaid, overworked adjunct professors is giving a forlorn new definition to the term "the life of the mind." Yet peer pressure not to leave the academy remains intense. For the young scholar, leaving is almost always taken as a sign of some sort of personal failure. The best and brightest stay, goes the prevailing wisdom, others wash out. Having left five years ago, I no longer believe that generalization to be at all useful -- or true. There are very good reasons to leave, and mine were compelling. The toughest questions I faced, outside the academy, were what my Ph.D. ...