A reader in his early 40s, who has retired, for health reasons, from another professional career (one in which some applied ethicists work), has been teaching some applied philosophy courses as an adjunct and "found that I absolutely love teaching amd mentoring students." He asks:
My undergraduate degree was in Philosophy which I obtained from a large state school notably not listed in the PGR where I was an average student in the subject. But, it has been awhile since I studied Philosophy, though I recently spent two years in graduate school for International Relations at a highly respected institution and did very well GPA-wise despite having to work...while attending school. So I applied to a PGR listed terminal MA program, and was accepted, looking to use the experience to build my academic credentials in philosophy in order to (hopefully) be accepted into a top PhD program. I love the subject and would love the opportunity to teach/conduct research it (I especially see myself at a SLAC as I would like the interaction with the students a SLAC offers). I also have no illusions regarding the nature of graduate school having spent two years in it already. Additionally, I have researched the job market and completely understand the risks I am taking.
Thus, my question is this: I will be in my early 50's when I hit the job market. Am I kidding myself that I could ever get a job, at such an old age, in the tight and competitive market that is academic Philosophy even if I am lucky enough to be accepted into a top program? And, would a top program even consider me? Let's face it, there is age discrimination out there no matter how much we might want it to not be. Financially, my MA is paid for.... I also have my pension coming in every month (which is substantially more than a PhD student stipend) as well as full medical and dental coverage for my family, so I do not see having to take out loans to supplement my income for living expenses, etc to attain my goal of a PhD (at least initially). Finally, being disabled, academia seems like am excellent place for me to build a second career as my mind is not injured/broken, only my body. Any thoughts/advice regarding the reality of my situation from your readers would be greatly appreciated, especially since I will be pursuing the MA no matter what they say.
Thoughts/advice from readers, including those in similar situations, faculty who have worked with older or non-traditional students, etc.?