Applying for a RA position while writing this a mad idea?


I've seen an RA position that looks interesting and that I am more than qualified for. Is it a mad idea to apply while I will be writing my PhD? I know people take on postdoc when not completed but I worry I would struggle to get it written if also working.... I've always kept a good work life balance by not working too hard during PhD! (which also explains why I'm not gonna complete in 3 years!)

My funding runs out end of September and there is no way I'll be finished by then. I'm still collecting data (though should be finished by mid August) but will have a load of analysis and then a lot of writing to do. Other cons are the job is in London and I live on south coast so it would involve either commuting or liing with my Mum mid week (and away from boyfriend)

The pros are the project invoved fMRI. Although my project has involve MRI it is structural rather than functional and I hope that having functional experience would make it easier to get a post doc job in the field. Also it involves earning some money rather than getting into debt while writing up which would be good.

Avatar for sneaks

I am in exactly the same boat as you and I'm applying at the mo to anything going. I cannot afford not to earn when my funding runs out in october. My supervisor seems to have this rosy view that I can take a year off and write up - NO - I would end up homeless (I haven't got a rich hubby like all her other supervisees have!) So I'm applying for loads of RA positions- - well all of the few that are going. I'm just facing the fact that I'll have to write up in my weekends, not ideal, but I need to keep a roof over my head! And an RA position is much better on the CV than a full time position at ASDA/morrisons etc.


Meant to come bcak and say thanks for reply Sneaks. I guess it can't hurt to put in an application and see what happens. Might run it past my supervisors though, just don't know what they'll say (probably take a year off and write up properly! One keeps suggesting they might be able to pay me but just talking in vague terms when I don't think the money is there)

Avatar for sneaks

haha, exactly the same thing is happening to me. Lots of "oh we MIGHT be able to find you something, but can't guarantee how much..." i.e. we haven't got any funding, we might be able to pay you £100 per month for photcopying etc.

I get the feeling my sup really doesn't want me working, but I actually think thats pretty crap management on her side. I HAVE to work otherwise we can't live, so it wouldbe better that she supported me to get something. Otherwise I'll have to be working 3 jobs or something to get the same money in I would get with one part time RA job. And then she will be regretting it when I have NO time to write anything! :-s


Hi Catalinbond,

I'm in much the same situation. Totally end loaded PhD with data collection (qual) nearly there but endless transcribing and analysing with funding running out September. I, too, will need to get a job as the usual university 'there'll be some work here' is just so vague and hasn't materialised to date so I have RA job starting in Sept. It's annoying but great at the same time. Lots of PhD work to do and lots of work work to do.
Perhaps once you get the job you can negotiate hours. I've managed to stretch the time of the contract but not the funds which gives me 1 day a week (which I will be really strict about) to keep plugging away on PhD. I think a leave of absence for the duration of the contract will be a good idea - at least it covers me and the clock officially stops, so to speak, although I won't stop working on it. Realistically, it'll take a while but absolutely necessary to keep roof over head. Something that it seems few of the academics I know appreciate!!! Hope this helps ;)


I've found myself in the same situation. My funding finished in April and since then I have been working and have hardly done any PhD work. I'm not earning enough money to keep going either so I am looking for other work so I really don't know how I am going to finish my PhD. The work I do have means I have to travel a lot and although it is not completely full-time, I am so knackered the rest of the time that I just can't motivate myself to work. I don't see how the situation can change though. Well apart from asking my dad to fund me through the next year but I'm in my 40s and I don't want to have to rely on him and he probably wouldn't agree - he has loads of money but I hate asking him because he makes such a big deal out of it and makes me feel like a failure when I have to ask.


Hello people,
Thought I was mad to complete the PhD and work at the same time. However, I think its a good move as I am now in a position to apply for loads of jobs as I am working and finishing with the aim to submit before the games come to town. I won't take that long as I am currently editing the chapters and submitting the first complete draft by August. It's hard work working full time and trying to finish the PhD. I've taken unpaid leave for 2 weeks to complete the write-up. Like someone said, better to put on your CV that you are an RA rather than a shelf stacker.
Good luck


======= Date Modified 01 Aug 2010 12:21:47 =======
I dunno if there is an easy answer to this.

Just short of completing my data collection I got a great job.......Then, an analyser broke, and i was still collecting data in the lab the night before i started the job....500 miles away!
My supervisor helped out a wee bit as i had a few people still to test (unethical maybe).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, i wasn't working in academia, my supervisor wasn't that good in many ways and my job was highly demanding. My 1st submission was poor, my viva even worse, 2nd submission ok but viva not good enough. 3 years later....with a nervous breakdown in between, no work-life balance, insomnia etc etc and I've just been awarded my Ph.D.

My advise would be that if you can get a decent part-time RA job then fine, but you may save time and stress in the long run if you try and complete before starting a full time position.