Since academics are relatively undervalued, underpaid and overworked in the UK, and there seems to be a general ennui concerning the whole academic system, which countries do offer academics a good life?
Do you have any good experiences of academic life in other countries? or know of anyone who has?
I have, for the most part, decided that if I continue in academic life, I do not want to pursue it in the this country.
the netherlands. being a phd is a regular job with a standard contract, 9 to 5. i know very few phd-students here who work longer hours or in the weekend.
the only thing i really don't like about the netherlands is that decent affordable housing is really hard to find.
I don't think it has anything to do with the title. Two factors are important. Decent salary and Work/Life Balance. I'm sure there are countries where you get 5 months paid holiday and additional benefits such as a 9-4 environment with 1-hour lunchbreaks. In the UK, some idiots try to establish a culture where it is frowned upon to leave the office for a proper lunch break and to go home before 7pm. It will definitely backfire, once people go mad, society collapses and sick leaves increase.
Work-life balance is definitely the persuasive factor. I know too many academics here that work over a 70 hour wk (mainly knocking out publications) and are earning approx. 30k. I'm very quickly coming to the conclusion that I'm not prepared to do that. There are easier ways to make a living.
However, if I could find somewhere that does offer that illusive work-life balance - I'd be happy to remain in academia (assuming someone would employ me).
In terms of salary, I remember reading Canada and Australia offered the best salaries cf. to cost of living.
Its only u and only u can decide where is d best place. 2 be frankly, perhaps u shd ponder at the good old phrase, Contentment is the philosopher’s stone, which turns all it toucheth in2 gold; d poor man is rich with it, the rich man poor without it.
Wise words. There is an additional factor which I initially forgot about. Homesickness. I've been away from my home country for quite a few years now and I just cannot get rid of this feeling. I miss my homecountry more than I ever anticipated. After nearly four years, the feeling just does not disappear. Therefore, more than anything, perhaps the best place to be an academic, if at all, is at home. Personally I feel very sad about not being able to move anywhere, stay anywhere and be happy anywhere. But that's the way it is.
"I'm sure there are countries where you get 5 months paid holiday and additional benefits such as a 9-4 environment with 1-hour lunchbreaks"
let me know when you find such a country!! i am so there!
i am leaving academia after i finish my phd, fail or pass. i am outta here!!!
I can tell you about Greece. You get, officially, 2 weeks for Christmas and Easter and almost 2,5 months during the summer. You don't have certain hours per week that you have to be at your office, although many academics (especially in big, central unis) are almost every day in their offices. But the money is no good. It's about 1500 euros per month for a lecturer and 2800 for a professor, but there are othre opportunities to raise that money, like research programmes, committees etc.
Of course, my experience comes from a school of education, I guess in science, where a lab is involved, working hours are different.
Nevertheless, it is very very difficult to get into academia in Greece. You have to know the right people with the right influence and you have to do a lot of unpaid work beforehand.
"Since academics are relatively undervalued, underpaid and overworked in the UK"
Depends what Uni... I can't say I would have a problem with 30K plus as a starting salary and a final salary pension considering they are so rare....
My friend is an academic at a UK university and mostly 'works from home' (read: does bugger all)...
I'm with Golfpro here - a starting salary of 30K is extremely rare. It is much more likely to be 24 - 25k, in fact as a lecturer I think they are allowed to pay as little as 22k according to the national pay spine...
Which if you are fully funded for your PhD will actually give you about an extra 250 a month once you get a job. Hardly a huge increase
Sorry to disagree here but the majority of "lecturer" positions in the UK start at around 30k. Senior lecturer positions usually start at 36k, Readerships at 50k, Professorships anything between 50and 70k.
Is 30k a good salary, simply because RAs, TAs, Postdocs or other professions such as the plumber around the corner earn less? In my opinion, a big no. 30k is simply not enough in this country. I don't see the point of working so hard for this ridiculous amount of money and then paying horrendous taxes to lose it all again.
'Most of us wouldn't but how often does that happen. Most starting salaries (I'm informed) are much lower.'
I was looking at jobs.ac.uk and RA's are lower but the Computer Science lecturing jobs for a junior lecturer start at about £30K upwards...
Jouri, I am on less that £30K now and have been working 2 years in industry... so I would *love* to 'have a pay increase' to that! I think the average salary in the UK is about £23-£24K isn't it? so for me, I'd be just happy to be earning enough to cover bills and save up a bit of cash for a rainy day!
Maybe it depends on personal things? how old you are, the experiences you have, the nature of your PhD, the industry it's in?
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