Leaving contract with 1 year left to go for Perm?

28-Feb-17, 04:31
edited about 13 seconds later
by awsoci
Avatar for awsoci
posted about 3 years ago
Hi everyone,

Have a bit of dilemma and wanted to get some input from those who have completed their PhDs/left academia.


I'm on a 2.5 year contract Research Only, kind of like a post-doc (but not called a postdoc or given the prestige) working on a large government funded project. The project funds my salary, and once the grant runs out which it will Feb next year, I'm pretty much out of a job unless another project comes along or the centre can put me on another project.

A permanent job has opened up at a nearby University that is less focused on research and more on teaching and education, something I have a lot of experience in and miss greatly. It's also not a full academic position, but one that borders academic/professional, something I've been thinking about for a long time in getting into.

The position is permanent and pays a similar/more salary (has a large range). It's in the city, which is where I am now, but my uni is closing the campus at the end of this year and moving us to to regional one, which will add an hour to my 30 minute commute. This job will offer stability (or as much as you can get in this economy), a shorter commute time, and more focus on teaching which I love, while still being able to publish a little bit.

On the one hand, I feel very lucky to be in the research position that I have. It's enabled me to get 6 publications out in the past two years and a book contract (qual sociology), along with other things important for an academic career (media etc). On the other, I'm very aware of the difficulty in trying to have a purely academic career, and not interested in continuing in contract to contract, especially with a partner, a mortgage, and potentially starting a family in the near future. Nor am I interested in having to constantly move around.
28-Feb-17, 04:32
by awsoci
Avatar for awsoci
posted about 3 years ago
I have on numerous occasions’ contemplated leaving academia, or considering professional as opposed to academic roles within the university, even though I have been doing pretty okay.

There's absolutely no guarantee I would get the role, but I thought I might go ahead and apply, and a friend who works at the uni in a professional role said they would see if some people they know in a similar role would be willing to have a coffee and chat about it so I can get a better idea about what it entails, though I have a good idea from the PD.

To be honest, if I applied, interviewed and got the role, I would want to take it in a heartbeat, but I also don’t want to let the project down that I’m working on, or ruin any relationships at the centre where I work.

This seems like a really good opportunity that I would hate to miss out on, especially as it means I can stay in the city and maintain stability with a proper on-going salary, but on the other hand, I might be pre-empting myself with a year left to go, and who knows what might (or what might not) come up.

Again, I feel very lucky with the role I have now knowing how hard it is out there, but I dunno. I’m planning on approaching trusted colleagues (not at my centre/uni from a university I formerly worked at), as I certainly don’t want to burn any bridges just yet.

Any thoughts etc would be welcome as to what you think I should do.
28-Feb-17, 07:34
edited about 10 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
I would not worry about burning bridges. Most people will know how tough the job market in academia is and probably understand your reasons. Employees quit and go for a better job and even professors leave their universities for a better professorship with more funding somewhere else. It causes some problems but that's how it is. They can deal with it.
28-Feb-17, 08:41
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 years ago
Apply for the job.

I quit my postdoc after a year, pretty sure I burned a lot of bridges though, but I don't really care because I don't want to work in that region of the world anyway and I don't think it will affect where I am working now or where ever I do want to work.

A friend of mine also quit his international postdoc after a year, and now he just got another 3 year one, yet again, surprise surprise, back in his old UK department.

I think people understand that contracts go both ways - no permanent job for me? Ok, but don't expect me to value you as an employer then and understand that I may jump ship if something better comes along.
01-Mar-17, 09:00
edited about 6 seconds later
by Ephiny
Avatar for Ephiny
posted about 3 years ago
I don't see what you have to lose by applying. If you don't get the job, the decision is made for you :). If you do...well, then you can make a decision based on actual options not what-ifs.

Check your current contract and what it says about early termination. If you abide by the terms of the contract (e.g. giving the appropriate notice period to your current employer), you're not doing anything wrong. Maybe some people will be annoyed/inconvenienced, but I think most will understand. Also, if it was the other way round, and your employer wanted to lay you off, they'd think nothing of doing it if the contract allowed; that's how the world of employment works.
03-Mar-17, 03:07
edited about 8 seconds later
by awsoci
Avatar for awsoci
posted about 3 years ago
Thanks everyone, will do what has been suggested :)


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