Signup date: 07 Jun 2014 at 9:28am
Last login: 20 Jul 2022 at 9:24pm
Post count: 84
Jumping around, or just really, really flexible? I don't think I'd look at entry level to be honest. When I first graduated, I never wasted time chasing grad schemes. My first proper job, I was flying back home from my year abroad, read about a new organisation opening, got the name of the comms director and wrote to him saying what I thought the marketing strategy should be. We spoke on the phone on the Thursday, by the Monday I'd moved half the length of the country and six weeks later I had a better wage than a lot of grad schemes were paying. I'd back myself to do the same again. But anyway your advice is good. I've decided to set up my own consultancy alongside my lecturing job, get best of both worlds!
That seems a bit defeatist to me. Couldn't you try reconnecting with your former colleagues? Drop them an email and explain. They might have something for you. Are there research projects you can get involved in? Why not just skip the post doc and look for lecturer jobs? Go and work in an FE college, then try and work your way into HE.
I'm in a different subject area admittedly. But persistence pays off. Colleagues openly laughed at me when I said I wanted to be an academic, and I only had a masters. But I'd worked with universities and had research ideas. Took a chance on a short term contract and turned it into something better through hard work. Do some blogging about your subject, try and get your name out there
Thank you for your responses. I see what you mean. Could a saving grace be that although I've jumped about a lot, everything I've worked in / studied has been education related. So maybe the answer is that I do something still in education, so I wouldn't be casting all my experience aside? Also, I don't feel in my 40s, I still feel young and know I've probably got 30 years more work ahead of me. In fact I've probably got more working years ahead of me than I've got behind me. Do employers still think of 40s as old?
Hi. So my career history is complex. Originally an arts graduate, I started out working life proper in a corporate marketing-related role for a couple of years. Keep in mind this is some time ago now. I got bored being in an office so retrained as a teacher. To be honest I regretted it almost immediately as I didn't really like the school environment. But did well enough that I was running my own department by my second year of teaching. Moved to work in a college, which suited me much better. and fairly quickly ended up a senior leader while doing a masters related to educational technology. So a bit of a switch there. I fancied doing an ed tech role at one bit, maybe in a uni, but the right thing (salary-wise) never came along. So I became a teacher educator. I did that for a few years while also working at board level in schools, and as a consultant to a college. And doing a part-time doctorate, which is policy-related (so a total switch again to social sciences) and now nearing completion. That's gone well, I've got several publications, blogs and conference presentations under my belt and am in the process of finalising my data gathering and then will be writing up over the summer. Because of my research progress and career history, I've been able to side-step a bit and now spend most of my time teaching undergraduates, including some management modules that are more business related. I also did some consultancy last year which was basically doing market research and user research for an education-related start-up company (all qualitative). And the thing is...I'm starting to find that I really enjoy engaging with and thinking about business. Particularly business strategy. I've even started connecting with people from my old marketing job - some of them have gone on to great things and I'm bringing them in as guest speakers. And I'm feeling a little bit jealous! Part of me loves being in academia. But part of me is also tempted by saying 'I've done it, now lets go and try something new once I've finished my research'. The problem is, I'm not in my 20s or even my 30s anymore. Is it possible do you think for someone in their 40s with a career history mostly in education and a mixed bag of arts, technical and social sciences qualifications to just say 'ok I'm done' and go into the business world? I think I'd love to be a consultant and work on different business problems. I've also considered user research, more tech related. Or should I just carry on doing what I'm doing and try and find satisfaction in that? I don't think I'll ever make professor, but probably senior lecturer in a few years. Is it normal to be doing academic research and feel a bit ambivalent about it? Has anyone else done a doctorate in one thing, then moved into an unrelated area?
Why not look for a job as a lecturer in a university education department? My background is / was similar to yours. I did twelve years as a teacher including course leadership and finishing up - albeit briefly - in a senior role in a college (got promoted, then jumped ship two months later). Like you, along the way I did a masters (and got a distinction canceling out a less than perfect record at undergrad). I started thinking about a doctorate around the day job but felt it would be very hard so just started applying for university jobs and got one. Some ask for phds, but quite a few will take a Masters plus experience. The key is demonstrating a commitment to research, and talking about it in interviews (my ideas were probably ropey but enthusiasm goes a long way). Now that I’m ‘in’ I’m making headway with research. Being in and around the uni environment, I’ve managed to carve out time between teaching and observing my trainees to do a free course which will culminate in a (hopefully) publishable paper, been to several networking events about things I’m interested in and am now revisiting my previous doctoral proposal with a lot more sense of what I can do. Hopefully if I ya good enough they’ll pay for me to do it. I’m still busy, but finding more time to think away from the daily grind of teaching. Quite a few of my colleagues are only just finishing doctorates after several years as lecturers. Onion.
Sounds like an ideal way for someone to take all the credit for your work! The ‘famous name’ would have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Why would you want to devalue yourself by diluting the perceived contribution you’ve made? I’m not an expert but seems daft to me. The research is either publishable or it’s not. If it is, get the kudos for yourself, don’t give it away!
Hi Tudor Queen
As it happens, I've just spent all day in a training session about making successful grant applications and a similar situation was discussed.
From what I can gather, if your collaborator puts a grant application together to a relevant funding body, they can specify in the grant that they want you specifically as a post-doc. So if your collaborator is in a uni, they would be best heading up the proposal, with you as part of it. Part of the grant costs would therefore be a salary for you, for however long it would take.
Does that help? I'm by no means an expert, as you know, having just come into things myself (more an enthusiastic amateur) but I saw your post and thought 'ooh...they mentioned that today!'.
Hope it helps, anyway.
Think that if you truly believe in yourself and your research idea you should go for it. I let myself down in my first degree. Due to mental health problems I was completely erratic, see-sawing from firsts to thirds throughout. I did get a 2.1 but 'transcript shame' and 'advice' from people who supposedly 'cared' or 'knew better' (ie had their own agendas..family, partners) put me off doing a masters for years: "you weren't good enough...need to get a job and forget 'book learning'.. Hardly seems like five minutes since a couple of former colleagues were openly sniggering when I said I wanted to be an academic. Well they don't snigger so loud now that I'm now a lecturer...and nobody even looked at my transcript on the way there. Think there's a big myth that 'only those with firsts and distinctions' need apply when it comes to academia. In my case, professional experience and research ideas were enough to land 'the job they said I'd never get'. And at a Russel group too...despite the motley mix of low ranking red bricks and post-92s on my CV, which was the other thing I'd been told would count against me, and which was also clearly a pile of poop spouted by people who don't know what they're talking about. You've clearly got a good proposal, so must have something. Do it!
I work from home a couple of days a week, and personally I find going out somewhere to work really helps me to get work done. Within a short cycle of where I live there's a local library, costa, another coffee shop and a weatherspoons. All have free wifi. Spoons is particularly good because they do free coffee refills, and comfy settees. I think the guy in the coffee shop gets a bit sick of me, taking ages over a coffee then hanging around. But it works for me. Just find I work better that way. Throw in a swim at lunch time, apart from popping home for lunch, I can be out all day like a 9-5. Too many distractions at home.
I was reading your post with interest because I'm in a similar sort of situation. Slightly different in that I'm a lecturer in a university which is 40 plus miles from where I live and not a straightforward journey. To get there, I have a twenty minute drive to the train station, an hour train ride, then a twenty minute walk. Or face horrific traffic which often turns it into a two hour plus drive! So a bit of a marathon, but with a mortgage, a partner on maternity leave and a young child, I can't just up and move. Especially when the area I'm living in is cheap, but where I work is more expensive (like double the price for a two bed flat compared to where I am). Like you, before I started, I was worried about what people would think about me not moving there. But honestly, the culture is very much 'only go in if you need to'. I spend a lot of days working at home or in my local library. When I do need to,be over at work for an extended period, I've found airbnb to be an absolute godsend and I've actually quite enjoyed the change of scene! You'd be amazed how much you can get done on the train, too. In my hour, I eat breakfast, read, listen to a podcast...it flies by. So honestly, I wouldn't worry. Academia and super-commuting are good together, I think. You'll probably find lots of people in the same situation - I recognize at least two people from my institution who are on my train a lot. It's really quite doable.
Obviously all cases are different depending on the individual. But I've suffered / suffer with depression and anxiety and actually found doing a masters better in that respect than doing my first degree. Undergrad felt long, slow and punctuated by hateful exams. There was a lot of social anxiety for me. Doing a masters (I did mine part time so I could fit it around work) was a shorter, sharper experience which was purely coursework based. There wasn't time / any point in trying to fit in socially. I felt more in control,of,it basically. Also I found that tutors were more approachable, that they had a bit more respect for you at post-grad, although that might just be me. Guess the only way to know is to give it a go. Depending on how bad your anxiety is, of course, it's up to you. Personally I found a masters so absorbing, it actually eased my anxiety and have found having the masters helped me too, in that I felt more confident professionally and able to put myself forward for roles at work and new jobs I wouldn't have previously. Hope,this helps. onion.
In my experience people do grow apart as they get older, hard to accept but true. Even if you were working in a corporate job and had the same lifestyle, it just gets harder to make time for everyone especially once partners and kids come along. It's just one of those things. Nothing to do with the phd itself, though sounds like you are very different people in a way that maybe only becomes apparent when we age. Think it's important to remember that having a mortgage and fancy holidays don't necessarily make people happy either. They might well be a bit jealous of the intellectual freedom you get from your phd, they may even feel a little trapped - if not now then in the future. I dived headlong into a corporate career and home ownership and all of that...basically ended up jacking it all in to retrain. I've had my fair share of fancy holidays too but that can get to feel pretty empty and I don't regret having sacrificed that by taking a significant pay cut to get started in academia. If you think the friendships are worth making the effort for then great but - as I've done with a couple of once best mates - you might just have to accept things have changed, maybe see them for a catch up once, twice a year, and make an effort also to make new friends that's have more in common with your adult self. If its a true friendship, then it'll last and might come back round again. Recently I've seen a bit more of an old mate whose life is very different to mine (insurance broker, lots of travel and night out on company expenses), I felt he was a bit obnoxious at one bit but basically we pretty much agreed to keep off boring topics like work and had a laugh last time we met up. But equally there are some people, if they brag a lot...maybe let it go. It's not worth stress.
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