The Work Seminar-logo

The Work Seminar

Business & Economics Podcasts

The Work Seminar is the podcast for people with liberal arts advanced degrees considering work outside their fields of study. Join me for unscripted conversations with MAs, MFAs, PhDs, and the like who made the leap to adjacent or (seemingly) unrelated work after grad school. You'll hear about life's unexpected turns, what guests have learned along the way, their thoughts and advice for finding enjoyable work, and work's role in their lives.

The Work Seminar is the podcast for people with liberal arts advanced degrees considering work outside their fields of study. Join me for unscripted conversations with MAs, MFAs, PhDs, and the like who made the leap to adjacent or (seemingly) unrelated work after grad school. You'll hear about life's unexpected turns, what guests have learned along the way, their thoughts and advice for finding enjoyable work, and work's role in their lives.


United States


The Work Seminar is the podcast for people with liberal arts advanced degrees considering work outside their fields of study. Join me for unscripted conversations with MAs, MFAs, PhDs, and the like who made the leap to adjacent or (seemingly) unrelated work after grad school. You'll hear about life's unexpected turns, what guests have learned along the way, their thoughts and advice for finding enjoyable work, and work's role in their lives.






Ep. 28: Pivoting to a Technical Career w/ QA Leader Amie Klager

Amie studied fine arts with no intention of working professionally in the field. She took office jobs during college, and shortly after graduating parlayed that experience into a full-time job for a clinical research company. Without a technical background, she was moved to the company’s quality team. And she’s flourished in that discipline ever since. Amie graciously walks us through the ins and outs of moving to a technical career without the “proper” background or education. She dives...


Ep. 27: The Realities of Self-Employment w/ Entrepreneur Brian Bohley

Before Brian hired employees to support his three businesses, he was a solo practitioner in the payroll and financial services space for six years. And in today’s bonus episode, we’re tapping into Brian’s 10+ years of experience helping self-employed clients get off the ground. Brian dives into the realities of starting your own business, including: ***And just to be on the safe side … This episode does not contain or constitute legal advice. You should really contact a CPA or business...


Ep. 26: Laura Stef-Praun - PhD in Literature Turned Content Marketing Strategist

Laura’s multipotentialite mother inspired so much in her life: a love of learning, culture, language, and academic achievement. But a few years into her PhD in Victorian literature, Laura doubted that a tenured professorship was within reach. Or that it was the lifestyle she wanted. Thanks to intensive soul-searching and working with a coach, she gained clarity into potential careers, finished her dissertation earlier than the bulk of her cohort, and began her transition to...


Ep. 25: Megan Sauter - PhD in Cognitive Psychology Turned Talent Development Leader

Halfway through her doctoral program, Megan knew pursuing a professorship wasn’t the right path. She loved her studies, but seeing how her work could be applied in industry cemented her decision to look outside higher ed for career prospects. Enlightening conversations with friends and colleagues in the tech scene led Megan to discover the then-nascent user experience (UX) field. One particular chat crystalized UX research as the perfect area for her to focus on. And focus there she...


Ep. 24: Joe Pulizzi - MA in Rhetoric Turned Content Marketing Leader & Serial Entrepreneur

Before Joe founded and sold Content Marketing Institute, wrote six books, and returned to entrepreneurship with The Tilt, he exemplified the liberal arts stereotype: a master’s in hand and uncertainty ahead. After earning his MA, Joe decided against a PhD and opted instead to find work in internal communications. But that plan hit a snag when hiring managers balked at his lack of experience. He turned to temping, and six months later landed a full-time role that blossomed into a career in...


Ep. 23: Dr. Chris Brooks - ThD Turned Impact Investor

Dr. Chris Brooks was in the thick of his dissertation when he co-founded Brown Venture Group, a venture capital firm exclusively for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous technology startups. On top of that, he worked a full-time job and took his commitments as a spouse and father of four seriously. But what sounds like extreme sacrifice to us was “being obedient to my calling” to Chris. And that calling? Creating a new case for human flourishing in communities of color. Chris believes venture...


Ep. 22: Heather Dileepan - MA in Writing & Publishing Turned Conversion Copywriter

Boredom at her job, coupled with aspirations to become the next Maxwell Perkins, inspired Heather to enroll in an MA in writing and publishing program. While she spent time in educational publishing during grad school, a move to the West Coast after graduation meant fewer employers in her field of choice — and field of study. In short order, Heather landed at Amazon, which serendipitously served as her intro to marketing. She soon discovered that the discipline offered the creative outlet...


Ep. 21: Jonathan Kranz - MFA in Creative Writing Turned Marketing Writer and Trainer

Jonathan’s pursuit of an MFA was “totally mercenary.” After making little headway in his career or with his oil paintings post college, he realized his penchant for writing could be lucrative (and creative). Several years later, with his master’s finished, Jonathan was at a work party when his boss made an offhand remark that sparked another epiphany: If he kept working for others, he’d likely never get a larger piece of the proverbial pie. Within a few months, Kranz Communications was...


Ep. 20: David Brown - MA in Religion Turned Software Development Manager

A self-described “case study in never deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up,” David found himself working in counseling before and after completing his MA in religion. It wasn’t the right fit, but at the time, he couldn’t quite articulate the underlying reasons why. Then four years after grad school, his career moved in mysterious ways. The state changed its professional licensure requirements for counseling, meaning David could either pursue a second master’s in a field that he had...


Ep. 19: Amanda Kass - MA in Geography & PhD in Urban Planning & Policy Turned Public Finance Analyst

Amanda’s passion for public finance harkens back to her undergrad days. Yet before grad school, she had never intended to pursue applied public policy work. Her interest in social theory and the effects of capitalism in international aid and development led her to pursue an MA in geography. After finishing her thesis on post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti, she landed a job researching Illinois’ public pension systems. Soon, she was neck deep in public finance questions...


Ep. 18: Anthony Shenoda - PhD in Social Anthropology Turned UX Researcher

Anthony had every intention to work as a professional anthropologist. But after finishing his PhD and teaching for a few years, that desire changed. His decision to leave higher ed led to a different higher calling: joining the priesthood of the Coptic Church. Once again, Anthony thought he’d found meaningful work he couldn’t imagine leaving. But three years after his ordination, serving in the Coptic Church turned out not to be a long-term calling. After two previous career...


Ep. 17: Mathew Brundage - PhD in History Turned Academic Test Developer

Job “ins” come in mysterious ways. For Mathew, it was teaching English in Shenzhen between his master’s and doctorate in history. Seven years later, that teaching abroad stint qualified him for a contract role writing ESL tests. And then, as Mathew puts it, the stars aligned. A full-time test developer in the history department left the company. Within three weeks of that colleague’s departure, Mathew landed a full-time test development role in his academic discipline. Of course, the ESL...


Ep. 16: Jen Crichlow - MA in Arts Administration Turned Software Startup Leader

For Jen Crichlow, art and technology are inseparable. Her involvement at arts festivals of all stripes revealed the digital divide that affects everything from event management to the preservation of culture. So she enrolled in grad school to explore how tech inequity disproportionately affects underrepresented and marginalized arts communities and movements. Now as an executive at SAVVI AI, she’s making machine learning accessible to companies and nonprofits that don’t have legions of...


Ep. 15: Thanks for Tuning in to Season One

All good things must come to … a short break. After a little R&R (rest and recordings), we’ll return with our sophomore season. In the meantime, here’s hoping you’ve learned as much from these conversations as we have. See you back here this spring! Don’t be a stranger in between seasons Sign up for The Work Seminar newsletter to find out first when Season Two drops. Check out our store for all the books mentioned during Season One. Send your questions, thoughts on the...


Ep. 14: Finding a Job Outside Your Field of Study w/ Exec. & Career Coach Paul Erdahl

Paul is an executive and career coach, licensed psychologist, former human resources leader, and friend of the podcast who’s generously agreed to guide us through his steps for making a career change. Paul shares his approach for: Yes, it’s infinitely easier to update your resume and indiscriminately apply to jobs. But slow, steady, and strategic is the better bet according to the experts, our guest included. Books & other resources mentioned The 20-Minute Networking Meeting by Marcia...


Ep. 13: All Things Money After Grad School w/ Financial Planner David Fortosis

This (inaugural!) bonus episode features certified financial planner David Fortosis, owner of ClearCounsel Advisors, walking us through all things money after grad school. Specifically, David dives into the current economy’s likely effect on student loan interest rates, personal budgeting, weighing employment options with varying student debt obligations, income-based repayment plans, public service loan forgiveness, earning extra cash on the side—you name it, we cover it. Whatever your...


Ep. 12: Elizabeth Southerland - MA & ABD in Philosophy Turned IT Executive

It all started with a six-month break from her doctoral program. Elizabeth planned to earn a little money at the first viable job she landed. That extended into a full year of employment. And that begat a nine-year stint in pharma and her exit from academia. Since then, Elizabeth’s been an IT executive across varied industries. Nearly everywhere she’s worked, she’s acted as the go-to person for translating complex issues into clear plans—and assembling teams that make things happen. The...


Ep. 11: Holly Fletcher - MS in Journalism Turned Media & Communications Strategist

Holly dreamt of working in journalism and attending grad school since grade school. And live that dream she did. After earning her master’s in journalism from Columbia, she started in trade pubs, moved to reporting for her hometown The Tennessean, and then founded BirdDog. During that time, Holly’s field changed. Legacy journalism slowly and steadily abandoned deep investigation, exhaustive data analysis, and the stories readers needed to know. That’s when she made the leap to in-house...


Ep. 10: Caitlin McHugh - PhD in Literature Turned Higher Ed Manager

Caitlin followed the script for landing a tenure-track position to a tee. Conference attendance and panels, publication, university service—you name it, she did it. And excelled at it. But after four years of her search yielding no viable offers, she shelved teaching and explored the non-academic job market. And in the process, she considered her values and strengths through a lens she’d neglected: one independent of the academy. Now she’s discovered a new passion for leadership and...


Ep. 9: Dan Coleman - MM in Orchestral Performance Turned Fine Arts Exec & Fundraiser

Dan underwent a “seismic shift” in perspective during the throes of finishing his MM in orchestral performance. After graduation, he stowed away his trumpet…and plans for a performance career. But after a few years, the musical itch resurfaced. He started playing and teaching private lessons again for fun. For work, he landed a general manager position at a small symphony. And so Dan’s shift to the fundraising and development side of the fine arts began. Since then, he’s worked for...