The workload can be extremely heavy and many academics here complain of overwork. However, during semester breaks and end of year, being in Australia is great because of the diversity of landscape, climate and space outdoors and the generally relaxed lifestyle. That attitude extends also to how people on campus relate to each other though there are exceptions. When I was first asked to address my lecturers and supervisors by their first name, well, I was shocked!
However, having had many different jobs and careers already I think I agree with those who say that academia is definitely closer to a vocation than a career. By that, I mean, if you're in it for the money you're on the wrong path. Not that a comfortable lifestyle must be sacrificed but you certainly would expect the same money as say, a dentist, a lawyer or an engineer would anytime soon after graduation.
What I'm looking for is a spot where I am allowed to combine teaching, which I enjoy enormously, with research. Without, and this is important, always being asked to produce impact-factored publications or earning research points for the faculty. It is short sighted to demand that of humanities researchers because the benefits do not always emerge immediately. I want to be an academic because I want the task of exercising my intellectual capacity to answer questions about the world and helping others to gain that capacity to be my declared task.
As for the financial rewards, 70k pa is good enough to afford many things in Australia if one is thrifty and understands priorities, given the tax rate is about 38cents to a dollar.
Of course, the trick is to find that elusive permanent post. Contract positions and sessional teaching are the more likely avenues, even after graduation for humanities people here.
Sciences and engineering graduates, though, would have much better prospects.
Tetris, thanks for the input on life in Oz. It seems very much a similar experience to here. The few Austalian academics that I've met do seem to be considerably more chilled than their British counterparts.
It's a country I'd consider working in for a few years. Does Australia have a central website for academic jobs, similar to jobs.ac.uk?
I suppose the absence of a permanent job is a double-edged sword, as it at least allows academics to experience work in lots of different locations.
You're welcome Far as I can tell there isn't a central web site for academic jobs, the market is pretty small. But, there is a pretty good web site for employment on www.seek.com.au that is quite helpful if you set the parameters for a search right. I have it set up to send me emails when jobs that might be of interest to me are advertised.
You're not wrong there, accountability in terms of research output (publications, grants, funding) is increasingly the yardstick used to measure the success and failure of a department, faculty and university. But I don't think it is any different to universities in other parts of the world. What I was more pointing to are the differences possible in life outside of academic life.
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