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Holy poo my essay won a competition!!!

It was lovely to have this pop up in my e-mail box!! Yes it was few years ago now but it was one of the happiest letters i received saying I had won as I was beginning to doubt my writing abilities. Alas I am not in a lectureship :-( After finishing my PhD I spent 18 months looking for work until I got a temp. part time job at Manchester university as a research associate designing a website for the Online Centre for Ethnic Politics. So after 9 years training to be an academic/researcher/lecturer i end up being a web designer :-( . I am terrified of being out of work again and so am trying to cast my net wide as i work to help get more work next year. It's a tough old game.

Anyway if you really want to see the Battles essay it is here:


I won a VIP weekend at the battles festival and it was great!

Keep your peckers up!!!

Nicki :-)

Beaten to a job by someone with TWO doctorates :(

I just got beaten into second place on a post for a job I had covered previously (study skills coach). I can only surmise the person who got it wasn't as qualified and they could pay them less. Then I got rejected before even being shortlisted from another on Monday. I am applying for at least three jobs a week and getting very little in return. Very despondent. I do think though that you should take heart from the feedback and be very optimistic for the near future...good things are afoot!!!

Unemployed postdoc

I think that's what making it so hard Treefrog, I am usually the prime earner. I am the one that means we can have holidays, that the kids have swimming lessons and cars are kept on the road. Now when they ask for things I have to say not until Mummys got a job...I feel like the bad person as though I have given them these expectations and now all I give them is dissappointment. I can't even given the two youngest their £1 a week tuck shop money for school so have hidden their tuckshop wallets :-(

I read about graduates who comiiteed suicide when they couldnt get a job and I always though what an irrational act it was...now I can completely understand.....

What happened in my 3 hour Viva!!

then I heard “pass with minor amendments” and I really had to stop myself howling!! I barely heard their amendments. Then the examiner stood up and said “can I congratulate you Dr Senior and I think you have earned the right to use the title” at this point my supervisor piped up…”but she can’t call herself that yet can she?” to which she replied yes she can!!!! I shook hands with everyone and ran out of the building!!! It was a really positive experience overall. They handled it really well.

They have given me suggestions for reading for the amendments I need too do. I am not going overboard with it, just doing what I need to satisfy their demands. I think the amendments are more about their personal interests than mine but hey if that’s what they want!!!! After 6 weeks I am on the last part of the amendments and hope to re-submit them at the end of this week and hopefully get them signed off!!!
Thought people approaching their viva would be interested!!! Good luck

What happened in my 3 hour Viva!!

======= Date Modified 16 May 2011 13:57:11 =======
My Viva was at 2pm and I arrived at 1pm. I went to tell my supervisor I hadarrived and then went down to the café and got a big bottle of water and abanana (brain food). Admin lady came down and sat with me for 5 mins to wish meluck and to calm me down. I went and sat outside the room about 5 mins beforeand was seriously thinking of bailing when my internal came to get me.

We were all very polite, introductions etc. and they told me how it was goingto run, some general questions and then go through the thesis chapter bychapter. My external started by asking me to describe my thesis in onesentence, which threw me a bit but I managed to muddle something together. Thenmy internal asked me to describe my ontological position. I described myself asa post structuralist with a belief that respondents have their own experiencesand that we can only translate those experiences within our own ontology. Theythen both said that they felt that my thesis had been written whilst I was suppressingmy own beliefs and that there was no evidence of me in the work (well mysupervisors had told me I wasn’t allowed!!). Anyway it went on, theycomplimented my methodology asked how I had retained my sample. They questionedmy use of statistics in a quali study. They asked me to elaborate on some of mytables then challenged me on one of my major findings, which I did not agreewith and said so (diplomatically). Then the internal said could we take acomfort break and asked if we all wanted a coffee. So I nipped out to spend apenny and couldn’t believe it when I looked at the clock and we had been at itfor an hour and a half! With a coffee in hand we started again and this time myexternal asked me about feminist views and why I hadn’t included any feministliterature (could you imagine asking my two supervisors if I could includethat). Then they questioned my use of outcomes rather than processes. Then theyasked why I hadn’t included work on womens mothering roles. I reminded themthis was a funded study but they said that was irrelevant it was my thesis andnothing to do with the funders!! Eventually they said it was time to deliberateand I left and retreated to the supervisors room!!

He asked me what they had asked me about and then he had to ring his daughter as by now it was past 5pm and he wassupposed to be taking her out!! I was convinced it would be a bad result, Imean how can they question you for 3 hours and it be good?! It was about 20mins when examiner came to get me. We walked back in and I think my sup mentioned that she was smiling so it couldn’t be all bad. I sat down and myexternal complimented me on my work especially such a robust methodology. ThenI heard the word “congratulations” and started to blub and then I heard “pass with minor amendments”

Unemployed postdoc

I wish I could offer some words of advice but I can't as I am in the same boat. I passed my Viva last month but have been applying for jobs since December. I have submitted at least 30 applications with only 2 interviews and no job offers. I have just received another rejection without even being shortlisted. I am applying across a broad range of posts teaching, research, cleaning, admin, economic development (which is my academic area) and Project management (which is my hands on experience).

I have impeccable references and am applying the length and breadth of the country as I realize in this climate you have to make sacrifices (even with 4 kids in tow).
We are slipping back into the debt we had managed to clear during my year as a project manager as I finished my degree and are losing about £200 a month. We will lose our house before the end of the year if I can't get work. I've left it off applications, listed it as a research position not a PhD and put it on as it is. My field (social policy) seems to have no funding for research at all at the moment.

How do I feel? Cheated, bitter, regretful, guilty, annoyed, depressed, tearful, angry...all of the above. I feel like I have let my family down. This was supposed to give us a secure future and it appears it has done the opposite. I am volunteering a school once a week and have just written a Mission Action Plan for a Church that is struggling and am helping out with a community group too. Everyone is very grateful for the the help but it's not helping me (don't even get a warm fuzzy feeling from it anymore).

We should march on Government!!!! I have done everything asked of me as a citizen and this is my reward!


Finished PhD but still unemployed

Can empathize too. I submitted in January and started looking for work straight away. I have had two interviews and flunked both. I passed my Viva with minors yesterday but there are few jobs to even apply for. I have been applying for school admin and all sorts, leaving off the PhD but that messes with work continuity and references. I also have one years experience of project management on a HEFCE funded higher level unemployment programme (Ironic eh?). I just can't see me getting work.
Even though my husband is working since my HEFCE contract ended we have lost an income of nearly £30,000. We are sinking fast financially and will have to sell the house...which won't sell as the market is stagnant.
I have no words of wisdom but I know how you feel.
I will say though when I returned from my Viva yesterday my two youngest children rushed out calling me Dr Senior and told their friends about it on the playground this morning. I may be broke, we may go under BUT their pride and that little spark which makes me smile when I think of me as Dr. says it WAS worth it, even if the outcome of it is not what I expected.
I battled through it and I won!!!
Please see your GP you need some support xxx

Postgrad Forum Hall of Fame

======= Date Modified 16 May 2011 14:00:04 =======
Measuring satisfaction with public services: A case study of the DWP.
Viva passed with minor amendments 7th April 2011


Edit to add link to Viva story http://www.postgraduateforum.com/threadViewer.aspx?TID=18263

Just passed my Viva!!!!

Just wanted to let you know I have just passed my Viva!!!!!
It lasted three hours and was a very positive experience with some very useful input. I got a pass with minor amendments and three months to do it (2 months if I want to make summer graduation).

It feels amazing. The journey has certainly been difficult but it is worth it.

Keep going!!!!

Submitted but unemployed

======= Date Modified 20 Jan 2011 14:36:00 =======
Well I submitted my thesis last week and expected to feel great but instead feel depressed. It was a long haul and I don't know how the viva will pan out. I have been looking for work and there is absolutely nothing out there, with or without the qualification. Wondering what I have done it all for if there is no job at the end of it. I am trying to get some journal articles for submission together but am lacking the motivation for it.

I thought submitting would be like a magic portal but instead I feel worse now than when I was writing, at least then I had focus and something to do. If the viva goes badly I don't know how I will bounce back.

Anyone else, submitted but feeling low? Any remedies?

How long is too long?

Plough on McDuff...as they say in the theatre!

A masters does not seem a good return on what you have already invested!!!


I'm a 'final' year student and feel deflated again

Another final year phd'er struggling. Submitted first draft of lit rev which was shredded and I'm now seeing my deadlines slip away in the face of corrections after correction. I was expecting revisions but the realty of the criticism is depressing. Finding it hard to write and the pressure of funding ending in September and nothing in the job market for some one in the twilight zone between completion and submission is a constant companion called woory.
Its grim days that seem to impinge on much of my time.
Not much help I know but your not alone (hug)

Where to put the methods chapter?

I know where I'd like to put my methods chapter ;-)

Mines in third place, I have safety supervisors who have urged me to go for the pass and don't do anything flamboyant...annoying but ultimately good advice I fear!!

Transcribing interviews - it takes ages!

I had 110 interviews of roughly one hour each. I started being really fastidious recording pauses laughs etc etc. By the end I had the topic guide copied and pasted into a word document and filled in the blanks just so I could get the main body of it down!! Now I'm analysing I can fill in the blanks but I was transcribing for about 3 months solid. Awful time of my life!!!!

Is there anybody out there?

Supposed to be working first draft of methodolgy chapter and am stumped on explaining the advantages of a longitudinal design...how stupid...what a simple concept and I can't get it into a paragraph! Fed up fed up and fed up. Deadline for this chapter looms and I can't write again!!!