Should I quit my research assistant post!

posted
23-Apr-19, 12:52
by Abraxas
Avatar for Abraxas
posted about 3 months ago
Hi all
I have been a long time reader of this forum but never contributed. I've always found the advice here helpful and would greatly appreciate some honest advice from those who have endured the PhD process whilst self funding.

I'm currently in my second year PhD and hold a research assistant post at the same university. The post has been a fantastic opportunity but doing both has left me run down, constantly ill and with little energy to work on my PhD. Additionally, my supervisor recommended me for the post, so you can imagine how anxious I am considering leaving!

I'm really in a quandary about what to do. At this point, I'd be happy taking a retail job to minimise the burden and exhaustion but also know how good it 'looks' career wise to keep the role.

Has anyone been in a similar position? If so, what are your thoughts?

Thank you!
posted
23-Apr-19, 13:47
edited about 9 seconds later
by ncrbrts
Avatar for ncrbrts
posted about 3 months ago
Could you discuss with the wellbeing team (if there is one) at your university how difficult you are finding it to sustain both? Maybe you could go part time in your post?
posted
23-Apr-19, 14:26
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 3 months ago
Is your PhD fully funded? Do you need the job financially as a full time? If your PhD is fully funded, I woud agree with ncrbrts to try to work less hour for less salary. If not possible, I would recommend to take a retail job.
Career wise it would be nice, but you tried it and believe me, there is no good coming from what you describe.
posted
23-Apr-19, 15:22
edited about 20 seconds later
by Abraxas
Avatar for Abraxas
posted about 3 months ago
Unfortunately, it is part time but it's expected that the hours are across all 5 days of the week (non-negotiable). I find having a job sitting a screen and then a PhD sitting a screen is really sapping my energy. Financially, I saved a lot from my previous career which is a huge help but I'll definitely need a zero hour contract job, at least, to continue self funding.

I'm also a carer for two unwell people and I find my current hours and nature of the job difficult to balance with my own obligations.

Having said all that, I guess the real question is whether I'm passing up on an opportunity that would further my academic career in the long run?

Thank you ncrbrts & eng77 for your responses as being able to share with others who have gone through the PhD experience does draw out the real questions. I don't know many other PhDs I can ask as I always tend to sense a competitiveness when you bring up these kinds of issues and doubt I'm getting an honest response to an honest question.
posted
23-Apr-19, 16:19
edited about 15 seconds later
Avatar for Dr_Crabby
posted about 3 months ago
I can totally relate to this, I have worked full time all the way through my full time PhD and it has really not been easy. I totally knackered my back going from a desk job to my home desk for so long, however
posted
23-Apr-19, 16:25
Avatar for Dr_Crabby
posted about 3 months ago
my job isn't related to my PhD at all but I sacrificed the job and the wages for less hours/stress and I am currently working as a receptionist but I have just submitted my thesis so just do what you feel is right for you.
posted
23-Apr-19, 18:13
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 months ago
Unless you think that it would wreck your relationship with your supervisors (surely not?), I don't see how it could adversely affect your future career. You have RA experience under your belt now. What matters during PhD is maintaining mental and physical health, completing thesis, and (on the career front) developing and maintaining some good working relationships and also if possible getting one or more papers published. Hope this helps.
posted
24-Apr-19, 15:47
edited about 27 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
I would always advise against anyone doing something because it "looks good on your CV". If you find yourself even thinking this, you should immediately stop and re-consider.

Soooner or later, unless you are doing things which you really want to do, this will be your undoing.
posted
04-Jun-19, 14:24
edited about 19 seconds later
by Abraxas
Avatar for Abraxas
posted about 1 month ago
Thank, everyone, you for your advice - I went ahead and had a conversation with my employer and my supervisor. I feel very lucky to have been met with understanding and have now struck a better balance. Sometimes people's support can be really surprising!

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