[thechat] discussion question: corporate vs nonprofit sectors

Roger Austin raustin3 at nc.rr.com
Sat Sep 22 15:57:59 CDT 2007

Erika wrote:

> How is academia "totally different" than the nonprofit sector?

  Academia is different in that there are different goals,
motivations, and stakeholders. Also, you don't have tenure issues
in non-profits.

  Non-profits seem to me to be groups of individuals that are there
due to identity with the groups mission. I'm thinking of political
or issue non-profits. The people there are in it for the mission
more than the academic employees. The non-profit people have to
guard against those volunteers who would do their jobs for free.
These organizations also do not have revenue streams that academia
has and are many times based on contributions or grants. I would
think that job security at a non-profit would be tenuous.

  Academia is a strange and sometimes bizarre place. Those
organizations are based on strict feudal system unlike anything I
have ever seen. It is not merit based and most of the time is the
resting place of folks who do not want to be in the "real" world.
This can result in a cult of personality in some groups. The
tenured people are the high priests and all the other people
seem to fit together in the lower castes. There is constant
pressure to guard your space and resources from those who want to
take them. A good thing is that academic jobs are not as volatile
as corporate jobs, but they don't usually pay very well. You have
to like the lifestyle.

  I've just seen this from the outside and listened to the
frustrations of people I know here in North Carolina, so take what
I say with a grain of salt. It also may be different in your
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