Signup date: 10 Jun 2007 at 7:51pm
Last login: 24 Sep 2010 at 7:46am
Post count: 140
Thanks very much for your helpful (& very kind) replies (sorry for delayed thanks - been at conference)
I think I'll 'gloss' & 'pad' - & then deal with it if I get to / after the interview (though I don't hold out much hope for this!)
Wondering if anyone has any views on this
I'm applying for a part-time academic job, and the application suggests providing info. to explain gaps in career.
Sorry for the life story, but I'm not sure what info. to include to explain my lack of jobs:
I've been studying part-time for many years - mostly as a single-parent, running from house to house trying to escape a psycho ex-husband (for the first few years of my 1st degree, I was still in a violent relationship, for much of the next, I was in a domestic violence refuge with my toddler child). This often made me ill - so I've had a few periods of sick leave with depression etc. I also had a period of time caring for an elderly parent, before they died.
I worked when I could, but this was in dribs and drabs when I could find teaching - and I generally found it too much pressure to work beyond my studies (which I did obsessively, despite my part-time status)
So, I've plenty of gaps. But I worked damn hard to keeps things going as far as my studies were concerned.
Is it best to give an outline of such personal info. to explain that I'm not a shirker, but am dedicated & have the quality of sticking at a job through thick & thin etc.? Or should I just keep quiet??
I don't want the 'boss' to just bin the application because it's all a bit embarrassing, but neither do I want them to think I'm lazy, and take the easy route!
And as for disclosing mental health...
I'm only going for a PT job, as I know I can cope with this - mostly (like many others with depression, some days are better than others, and there's a chance I may need time off in the future if it comes back badly).
But as surveys show (can't recall which - but in the BBC archives somewhere?!), whatever the equlity legislation, few people want to employ those with mental health issues
What's others' take on this - should I disclose, when I'm not under any obligation to do so at this stage and when, frankly, it may prejudice my application (even though I could do the job around the 'reasonable adjustments' that employers are legally obliged to make)?
This is a minefield!
I agree with everything that's been said. But in case that's not enough to reassure you - I've been in a similar situation, and I didn't take the advice I was given (as I was paid for teaching, and I needed the money. But also, I felt the same about not wanting to be given special treatment), and things went badly wrong.
I subsequently crashed, and had 2 unpleasant BP filled years, rapid-cycling like billio (incapable of much at all, and making life hell for my family); and now, years later, I'm still in a rather 'weak' position, susceptible to pressure. It not only put my PhD at risk, it's seriously affecting the work I can now take on
Everyone's different, but in general, it's not worth the risk: BP is a medical condition - putting too much pressure on the mind is comparable to asking a footballer with hamstring issues to play too many matches - maybe things will be OK for a while, but when it snaps, they're metaphorically b*ggred for much longer than if they'd been sensible!
This is no easy option - but the most sensible one.
Take care of yourself! (And good luck with the PhD!)
I don't want to put you off (especially as it sounds like your options are limited), but having finished a PT PhD, I'd personally say that it's essential to do a topic you LOVE. I'd say this was necessary for any PhD, but especially if you want to study for such a long period / part-time, unless you've a very high boredom threshold / very active imagination that can make anything 'fun'! It's tough - there'll be plenty of times you'll want to ditch it - so unless you're committed to the topic, it's a pretty big risk in time and money.
But maybe you have other options? What about distance learning - is this possible?? But anyhow, it might be worth talking again to your would-be supervisor, explaining the situation honestly, and see if the topic could be changed?
Also, if / when you do a PhD, as you've not done an MA, I'd really recommend taking any extra classes in research skills that may be on offer, even if these aren't compulsory to PT students, as there's a big difference in going from an MA to PhD, so going straight from a BA after a break may require a bit more support and advice
Wishing you well, and hope you find a solution
Your typos sound very minor!
As for major corrections - this is only stuff that they think you'd have to take at least 3 mnths / 6 mnths, or whatever your uni rules are. Sounds like you coud do yours in less than an hour! But if (to 'humour you') they were on the fence, then I guess a list may make a difference
I had 5 pages of corrections / typos (I have dyslexia, but then I still should have noticed these) - I went in with this list, and they thought it funny. I think at 1st they thought I was saying 'you needn't bother with going over problems, 'cos I've sorted it!'. But it did show that I was commited to presenting a decent thesis (and I think it saved everyone time). I didn't mention these corrections until I'd been told I'd passed - I was basically waiting for the right moment, as I, too, didn't want to draw attention to them!
So take your list in, and wait til the right moment to mention them
I've been where you are, having just these same thoughts (though I was older).
But I echo the sentiment that you never know what's going to happen - not long after I started my Phd, I met someone really great, who was also doing a PhD. There are thousands of people in a uni environment - for friends, 'or more', with so many societies, that there's certainly hope.
The phd may open up all sorts job opportunities, with starting pay of £30k +, so the chance of getting your own place is higher than continuing in dead-end 'peanut' paying jobs
If you're feeling v. down, perhaps the uni. councelling service might be of help? I've found them very useful for me when I've felt the same
Perhaps try to interact more with others in your dept. to ease the isolation. Maybe you could set up / join a research group?
Keep using the forum at least - it's a good system of support
Hope you're feeling less fed-up soon :-)
Firstly, I, like many forum members, would feel exactly the same (and when I have to do something similar in a few weeks, I'm sure I'll end up with similar results!), so I'm not playing down your feelings here.
But we get over these things, 'cos ultimately it doesn't really matter - those in positions of academic power can pretty well tell if someone is or isn't a cocky so and so - and for those of us who aren't, this sort of thing is to be expected. But we learn from it, and move on - the memories get easier! (I can now giggle as well as shudder when I think of the first few conference papers I did as a new PhD student, puffing & panting, sweating & purple-faced - I even had to get a chair to sit down half way through my first paper, as I thought I was going to faint! :$)
I'm sure those 'at the top' have seen this situation so many times that they may to some extent expect it from new post-docs of the not-so-cocky breed, and are probably pretty well aware by now of the pressures that we put ourselves under in such situations.
Perhaps this is why the chair felt able to give you the advice - maybe they're so used to saying similar things to others who've gone through such agonies?
(And I'd go with the other comments that your HOD was probably just busy.)
Take confidence in that your knowledge and research experience impressed your audience, and think back to how you got over similar situations when you were just starting out. If you had nerves / embarrassment then, I'm guessing you managed to deal with it in the end (at least to some extent)?
Sounds like your work did you proud - anything else will be put down to just what it was by the sounds of it - self-imposed pressure because you actually care about your presentation (unlike some I've encountered), I'm sure
(And at the risk of sounding like a bossy mother - get some sleep! sounds like you're overworking yourself)
Better luck for next time - onwards and upwards! (up)
OK, having been dissuaded from applying for my 'dream' job (by the prospectve boss), I've another query regarding the wording of another advert.
How do you suppose I'd do this, then?!:
'must be able to demonstrate excellence in research and teaching '
I guess that for research, this would be shown by lists of publications in notable journals - 'strong research profile' is also mentioned
But is that necessarily so? Might un-(but soon to be)published independent research on a non-doctoral project count? It's the 'demonstrate' aspect that I feel is the sticking point
I'm supposing that, with regard to teaching, 'demonstrating' experience would help, but again, how might excellence be demonstrated? Does this suggest that something like HEA fellowship is necessary, or a PGCHE?
======= Date Modified 06 Sep 2010 16:38:44 =======
============= Edited by a Moderator =============
Have a try searching through previous 'viva' threads on the forum - there's lots of really good advice available that I found very helpful.
But also, try these links:
*edited by mods*
Good luck! (up)
Thanks very much for that, Stressed
I'm looking a bit more on the bright side now!
All the points you mentioned - this is very positive. I get on well with the staff, and have a great loyalty towards the dept. - I would certainly give my best, and would like to replicate the fabulous learning experiences, and support, that I received. So maybe I can get this, and my enthusiasm, across?
Didn't realise this is standard pay level for lectureships - I'm more used to the crummy industry jobs, which pay very poorly!
It's cheered me up somewhat that it's not only about academic achievements. Possibly they're advertising at this level to get someone with potential - in my more confident momements, I feel I can go on to produce good work
Thanks, all, for the voices of reason! Sometimes I do want to shake myself!
I do think I can do this job (and I think I'm the best person when it comes to some areas, e.g. pastoral care), but realism is difficult to circumnavigate when it comes to confidence
How do newbie post-docs, when applying for lectureships, still remain optimistic in the knowledge that there will be others who have been, for instance, working in industry jobs (in my field, there's much cross-over), or even more competitively, working in post-doc research posts, for several years, writing dozens of papers, presenting at dozens of conferences, waiting for this sort of thing to come up? It's very difficult to remain positive and 'sell' one self in these conditions!
(I know several people who are likely to apply - they've each written numerous papers, several books, and have a PGCHE (which I can't even start, because I need to be able to demonstrate that I can teach 50 hours - and, when I ask around, this just isn't available in my particular area of expertise). They also don't have disabilities or dyslexia.)
I feel that, as the pay is really good for this job - 32-43k!!! Compared to the usual post-doc of 21k in my field - it's really aimed to entice those already in lecturing positions. But then why tantalise the lowly post-phd with the rather basic entrance criteria? I suppose to attract some brilliant & well-published newbie??
Don't mean to be on a downer - I'm so grateful for all of the positive comments and encouragement, these mean a great deal
It's comforting that others have the same doubts, yet muster the determination to stick at it - good luck getting your dream jobs!
(When I was doing my PhD, it felt like I was pulling a cart load of millstones behind me up hill. I anticipate that being a post-doc will feel more like wading through treacle!)
As you say, it's all good practice. And, although the timing might in one way seem quite lousy, I could actually look at it in another way, and see it as pretty good!
I may re-write to the Dept. Head anyhow, telling him that I'm applying, but asking him to let me know, should he be interested in any support teaching before he engages someone permanently. (As I used to be on nodding terms with the man years ago, I'm tempted to drop in a sentence saying that I have no expectations about the job due to my early career status & the expected competition, to cover my embarrassment :$, but I suppose that's not particularly politic?!)
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