If I'm offered the job, take it?


I'm lucky enough to have got myself a permanent lectureship (pending 3 year probation) though 1 year into my contract and before my job was secured as permanent, I applied to another university. At the time my job was 3 years fixed term rather than permanent with a 3 year probation.

I've now received an invitation for an interview for the job I applied for elsewhere. I will attend the interview but if I get an offer it will be a tough decision. I've summarised pros and cons below though essentially my current job is at a 'better' university where there are few people I can collaborate with. The interview is at an up and coming university (further away from home) a few league points behind but where there are whole groups of people I could work with.

Perks of the current job:
* permanent
* 30 minute commute
* better research performance
* slightly more research time
* Own office
* I've known the university and department for 8 years

Cons of the current job:
* overworked due to taking on too many responsibilities when I started
* some unpleasant internal politics and implicit sexism
* I've recently become the sole person in my field
* Poor facilities
* As the department where I did my undergraduate, I feel some staff still treat me as if I were still their student

Pros of the potential new job:
* Large group of colleagues in my field
* Department has a strong history in my field
* HoS is in my field
* Research performance is on the increase every year
* 2 research groups where I could feel 'at home'

Cons of the potential new job:
* 70 minute commute
* risks of a new environment

With few close friends in academia, there's no one I can really ask for advice on this. All my non-academic friends see is a possible longer commute and they are baffled as to why I'd even attend the interview. Any thoughts or advice from other academics are very welcome as I try to work through the pros and cons.



Hi, GrumpyMule,

The potential new job sounds like it has more room for career growths whereas your current one sounds static. Would the potential career development benefits be enough to convince you to overcome the 70 minute commute and fear of new environment (which really we all face in any new job)?


Thanks for your thoughts tru. I'm coincidentally heading to that same department a few days before my interview for an event (again - in my field!) so can give the journey a trial run even before the interview. I'm not a fan a driving and the new job would mean I can catch the train so although it's longer and more expensive, I'd prefer not to drive anyway.

So many things to consider but if it means I can do what I love doing among other people who share the same interests, I'm definitely excited by that thought and that is also my planned answer for the question "why do you wish to leave your current job".


For me the potential cons of a new environment are an important question. I think about what I value in my current job (flexibility, autonomy, office space, no commute) and I query whether these are found elsewhere. Since these are the things I value most, am I willing to trade these for better career growth? For me, no.


Perhaps you could think about the commute in terms of time to get into some work (marking or whatever), which a 30 minute commute wouldn't really afford. That way, that con is crossed off.

Oops, just saw your comment about other academics. I'm still a student.


Quote From TreeofLife:
My fear (it's starting to be like this at my uni but I fear elsewhere is more like this): https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2018/feb/23/lecturing-in-a-uk-university-is-starting-to-feel-like-working-in-a-business

That is absolutely horrendous. I wouldn't last a week in that environment before quitting. I have to say though that what he is describing is not really like any industrial company I have ever worked for.


Horrendous. I'd like to see a comparison among UK, European, and US universities too though. I wonder whether this rule based thing described is similar to the US style (which of course has an incredible reputation for Higher Education on average), or if the European way is more like in the US.


Quote From GrumpyMule:
So many things to consider but if it means I can do what I love doing among other people who share the same interests, I'm definitely excited by that thought and that is also my planned answer for the question "why do you wish to leave your current job".

Have a go and trial the commute. I myself have had to travel for 1.5h one way for work for half a year, but the benefits of gaining valuable professional skills outweighed the tiring commute. I think you have solid reasons to take this new job if it means working in the right environment with people of similar interests. Try talking to your potential new colleagues as well to hear if they like the working environment there. If it is toxic, they will be talking about work less enthusiastically. Ultimately it is your call to make. I wish you the very best.


That sounds like very good advice!