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windowsill
Monday, 29 June 2015 at 12:28pm
Monday, 7 November 2016 at 2:58pm
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Thread: Academic/lecturing prospects in the humanities - UK

posted
07-Nov-16, 15:09
edited about 22 seconds later
Avatar for windowsill
posted about 3 years ago
i am not sure really whether the difference between part-time and full-time is that big in practice, as you don't need a lab presumably. i guess it would depend very much on the situation... nothing at least in principle (except time and the strain of your job which is a big 'except') stops you from going to lectures and conferences just like the full-time students and even completing in less than 6 years isn't entirely impossible if you're organized... it's something you need to discuss with your supervisor to find out what people usually do.... part-time might well be more sane also as your job would give you a perspective and balance which can be very useful considered the general toxicity of academic life.

Thread: Academic/lecturing prospects in the humanities - UK

posted
07-Nov-16, 10:00
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posted about 3 years ago
also humanities here, languages (not linguistics). i know of one occasion where someone finished his phd mid/late 40s and then spend a long time teaching in the department (russell group) on those bad contracts (he's a bit the classic example of not being the sharpest tool in the shed, but having independent means and being of the right class and undergrad degree from oxbridge played a role too) and at some point landed a permanent post at a 1992 institution, he was mid/late fifties then.
i guess on the whole it's pretty bleak, tho there are always some outliers. best not to count on an academic job afterwards, but you might never know... it seems part-time is the way to go...

Thread: Career in diplomatic services or PhD in History at Cambridge?

posted
03-Nov-16, 14:09
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posted about 3 years ago
you could just go back into diplomatic service & politics, mate did exactly that after a phd from oxbridge (law tho) and it didn't harm his career & salary prospects one bit, it's been the opposite for him really and the phd was a very valuable thing to do & he's raking it in. he's not working in england tho.... & abroad might be something to consider when you're from a non-traditional background...

Thread: Very depressed over typos in Phd thesis...

posted
03-Nov-16, 14:05
Avatar for windowsill
posted about 3 years ago
don't worry about it. everyone has typos. i had far more typos than 50, but they loved my ideas so i was ok and got minors which really were just the typos. the typos also didn't put them in a negative frame of mind, it was more like: silly kid you are, don't do it again. as long as you're ok on the content-front you don't have anything to worry about. before the viva everyone feels stressed about every little thing, but you'll be ok really. i didn't give mine a list of typos but admitted of course that there were more than supposed to be....

Thread: Second-year slump or something more serious?

posted
04-Jun-16, 16:28
edited about 24 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
undergrads bring in more cash (non-overseas MA and PhD fees are often much lower than the annual undergrad 9k) and then there's the national student survey thing...

i had a change of supervisor too for similarly problematic reasons and the whole thing wasn't pretty but eventually turned out ok. had then a supervisor who knew nothing about my subject and had to stick with the less horrible one, so like you had to decide who of them is more awful. you have to see how this goes, it's always very tricky area to navigate, this kind of thing. but it can work out. it's also good to look at the formal side, there must be some kind of formal guidebook which says how much supervision you get, how this all is supposed to look like and if they're not doing it by the book this is something to mention at the meeting.... in any event it's good to make a list of things you feel that are going wrong... you're even doing their work, supervising that ma student. maybe talk to the student's guilt before that meeting to make sure you've all your ducks in a row. they can also advise you on what are reasonable expectations and what not. unfortunately, prepare yourself that things can get nasty.
as you indicated you have a longterm condition it's worth looking into any kind of extra support you can get, extensions etc. don't freak out of the time limit just yet, you can still add on an extension which you very likely will get for medical reasons. those extensions don't have to be short. 14 months is still a long time. plus, say, add on 6 months extension.
make a realistic plan on how to address/change your research so it can work out.
it's worth trying to find out why that other person changed the supervisor.

good luck with all.

Thread: Second-year slump or something more serious?

posted
04-Jun-16, 08:01
edited about 29 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Dunham:

my experience in another country: phd students are praised and they come out of the thing with their head held high. here they need 6 months or so to recover. so there is definitely something ungood going on here.


I didn't want to draw that conclusion because I never studied at a UK institution but that was my impression as well. [...] There are of course also shitty supervisors that don't care about their students but it is not as omnipresent as it is often described here.


i'm glad you share this perception. on the whole it's a weird country really. as a foreigner you sometimes think: wow really?!?!, when you see the kind of stuff people have to put up with and you want to ask: why does your government hate you so much?
i can luckily go back to my own country & would have thought twice about coming here had i known how dire it is (studied at a top ten russell group).

the general attitude is: whatever they throw at you, you have to suck it up and if you don't, then the rationale goes that you're not cut out for it, or that you want 'holding hands', when all you want is adequate supervision. this whole british obsession with class doesn't help.

undergrad's complaints are taken much more seriously as ug views are reflected in the national student survey which is included in the calculation of rankings of unis. pg views are not included in that survey which is why their complaints can be ignored.


but i didn't mean to distract from perceptualenna's very real concerns....
my advice would be, as above, do that meeting, and if things don't improve very quickly, change supervisor. take all the help you can get in the way of counselling and so on...

Thread: Second-year slump or something more serious?

posted
03-Jun-16, 19:55
edited about 10 minutes later
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posted about 3 years ago
regarding the normalization of this, i would definitely agree with dunham, that the described situation shouldn't ideally be seen as normal.
however, i came across quite many bad situations... so it does seem to be normal, but not 'good-normal'. personally i haven't seen anyone being moderately happy, most had counselling-worthy issues at some point and supervision like the above does seem to be 'normal'. a lecturer told me that there's something wrong with a pg when they're happy, so there is a certain normalization about it and i think it's really dangerous to accept that kind of suffering as normal.
my experience in another country: phd students are praised and they come out of the thing with their head held high. here they need 6 months or so to recover. so there is definitely something ungood going on here.



i would suggest to change supervisor if the meeting doesn't lead to anything

Thread: Working in foreign languages

posted
27-May-16, 14:03
edited about 13 seconds later
Avatar for windowsill
posted about 3 years ago
like sarahsarahsarah i had sometimes trouble with grammar and i always needed to plan in some extra time to check that my english is correct.
i found this useful: http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/

Thread: Experience with disability discrimination

posted
27-May-16, 12:38
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for windowsill
posted about 3 years ago
i can't say much about the discrimination thing, but i can say something encouraging about having a supervisor outside one's area. this happened to me as i changed supervisor in the 3rd year, also problems, also closing ranks and also had my work discredited, the usual nasty stuff. but i eventually had a supervisor outside my area, finished my phd with an extension, very minor corrections and a happy external. it can sort out and with a lawyer you're in a much stronger position, especially because you say your case is legitimate. not all academics are the same, it might look very closed, but there's also an 'outside' and other academics might know that what's going is wrong, but maybe can't say anything bc of pressures etc.
good luck with all, let us know how it goes.

Thread: Applying for university admin jobs

posted
18-May-16, 17:53
Avatar for windowsill
posted about 3 years ago
like bewildered i have seen admin roles going to insiders. two people i know got admin roles directly after their phd, sort of via whom you know, influential supervisor and so on, i think something between your first and second tier of jobs. they are overqualified and it does look indeed like the failed-scientist-drawer and it is clear to everyone they only do those jobs due to lack of alternatives/other good jobs. in the office they are resented bc it feels to the 'normal' admins that they steal the jobs from 'normal' people. well it's a problem we can't do anything about it.
from my experience it might be easier to get into a policy role. i had one like those at a previous uni and it always was regarded as an asset and maybe the policy direction makes it also easier to avoid the failed-scientist-drawer....and your previous experience would strengthen this, you already did the admin stuff and now you want to do something else...
anyway it's not easy at all, good luck....

Thread: First full draft to submission - how many months did it take?

posted
14-May-16, 11:50
edited a moment later
Avatar for windowsill
posted about 3 years ago
maybe you are, depends on the subject and whether you need to sort out much. in my case (humanities, 110k thesis) it was 6 months. i had to sort a fair amount as i am no native english speaker, and then, there's always some little stuff to do.
full draft -> sups read it for a month or so -> implementing changes, 4months later -> sups need another month to read it. a final week to do last changes.
i'm probably on the longish end of it, but 2 or 3 months look tight (if it's humanities).

Thread: Post PhD life

posted
05-May-16, 16:14
edited about 44 seconds later
Avatar for windowsill
posted about 3 years ago
it's a complicated one, this one.

i do actually know people who stayed at the same university from undergrad through phd to teaching fellowship/(short) postdoc/lecturer. rare, but not impossible.

it's problematic to accept the negatives of something that we chose to do as just somehow a given, without reflecting, questioning the political/social circumstances. especially since a lot of employment rights got lost in recent years.

it's an age thing as well, moving is easier to accept when young, once you get older it's a different kind of animal. chickpea is entirely right, to have an ordinary normal life in a modicum of comfort and security is not a crazy thing to ask.

i did well in my viva btw, not sure it was 'outstanding', but it was conveyed to me that my thesis was certainly better than 'mediocre'. this of course did not lead to an improvement of jobprospects (me= outside stem), maybe only indirectly in the opening of nice avenues for publishing. but i too decided to opt for a life outside academia, simply because i - we - are all worth more than being burned out/having our health, research ruined by all this insecurity. it's simply not worth it when the rest of one's life suffers that much.

maybe one day the powers that be wake up and change conditions (i can dream, right?), after all there are already problems with teacher recruitment, the junior doctors aren't happy, maybe in the long run a change in how we think about work could be effected, whether it really has to be the way it is, vision, phantasy, utopia....

the often rehearsed argument that there are too many phd students is questionable. there's certainly enough work, overworked staff (and more students), hence all those short term contracts/volunteer positions/internships/ what have you, but people don't want to pay for it, paying properly in nice employment conditions. especially the english don't know what to do with their smart people, some other countries have more options for educated folks.

Thread: How long to wait for a postdoc to be advertized

posted
01-May-16, 09:57
edited about 5 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
if you add in rent it's almost not doable, not for that sort of money, except if hubby has a good job as well. up north there are very limited jobprospects. while healthcare and school are free (tho not all childcare is free), rents are generally high, tenants don't have a lot of rights and housing is not of the greatest quality compared to continental standards (random website to check rents and houseprices: rightmove.co.uk). it's better to straight aiming for buying/mortgage if you can afford that. public transport is generally bad (unreliable) and expensive (again, compared to continental standards).

Thread: Senior academics stealing ideas from postgrads/ECRs

posted
30-Apr-16, 11:48
Avatar for windowsill
posted about 3 years ago
not happened to me personally, but have seen it happening. on one occasion the stealing senior academic got told off (inofficially) by a big name (ecr was protege of big name). most of the time you're probably stuffed. the other one to watch out for: them stealing ideas from ecr's funding proposals they rejected. let us know if you find a good solution.

Thread: What to do if I am downgraded from PhD to MPhil?

posted
02-Jan-16, 15:26
Avatar for windowsill
posted about 3 years ago
maybe the one thing independently of the complaint-route would be to go down the illness-extenuating circumstances route. if you have a disease or somesuch or went to counselling (or if you didn't go you can still go), tell them (gp, counsellor) to write a medical note and apply for extenuating circumstances and that can give you a couple more months.

i asked a mate who said you first have to appeal against this decision of being downgraded before you're able to make a complaint, i guess you can make a complaint anyway bc of this lack of supervision that you experienced.

i changed supervisor in the middle of the 3rd year and the whole thing was pretty horrific, but i have my viva soonish, my new supervisors don't expect any problems there and think that my stuff is good, just to encourage you, that it can look totally hopeless, but it can still be turned around. i'm not worried too much anymore bc my hell is almost over.

how i did it: mentioning the c-word (complaint), talking to the student's guilt (go to this place and ask for advice and tell them that you already talked to the programme coordinator, but the issue wasn't resolved) and that got them moving to some extent, however, i still had to gain the new supervisor's trust anew bc my old supervisor discredited my work. i got delayed some too, hence extension.

motivation i found very hard as well, and like i said, i did it all in very small bits, every day a bit, make a list and go through those points. and sport & counselling is not a stupid idea to help with all those feelings. at the stage you're at you'll want all the extrahelp you can get. focus on those documents and slides that you have. *you just have to keep going*, no matter what. there's lots of people in those positions. might not be a comfort, but you really are not the only one.
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