Six months ago, I reduced my working hours as an employee and took a step into working freelance. As I've adapted to a new working pattern, including two days a week working from home, I've tried to build some routine into my working day. The aim is to maximise the time I can spend focused on creative work. It all begins with an attempt to make mornings … [Read more...] about Habits and routines that help maximise focus
Some academics do seem to be wedded to their research, but let’s leave the marriage metaphors aside. This post is all about choosing which academic work commitments you say ‘yes’ to. At the beginning of this year, I wrote a post on why it was important to be able to say ‘No’. It is a way to create some kind of balance, a way to … [Read more...] about Before you say Yes: 3 questions to ask yourself (And I’m not talking about marriage!)
Our correspondent Sarah Wayland describes her experience of her postdoc position, reflecting on how it has involved some new approaches to her own research interests. Three days a week I travel from my house in suburban Sydney Australia to the inner city hum of the University of Technology Sydney. Each way on the train takes an hour: initially I used to … [Read more...] about Making research space & building a career: the postdoc stage
How do we make the 'right' career decisions in academia, and build our overall academic identity? I received an email from a colleague and this quote got me thinking: "all [ECRs she once worked with] would have benefitted from... support which provided them with sense of independence and value of self; knowing what rules were in place constraining choices; … [Read more...] about Your alternative academic identity: learning the rules?
Our Brazilian correspondent reflects on the early career researcher's frequent experience of rejection, at the very end of our month looking at "saying no". What's it like to be on the receiving end of "no"? Recently I had two job interviews for teaching positions at universities here in Brazil. Needless to say, what I got from both was, “No, thank you.” … [Read more...] about Being on the receiving end of “no”. How do you handle it?
Continuing the theme of consideration, self-care, and work-life balance, I would like to share with you my experience of #PhDlife overload which I encountered last term. As a PhD student with high ambitions and an equally high mortgage payment, I have tendency to say 'yes' to most things and up until now it has served me well. By saying 'yes' and having … [Read more...] about What I learned when I took on too much: I am not a PhD superhero
Last week, I wrote about two positive types of busy, but this week I am reflecting on the kind of "busy" that can really lead to problems. How do you know that you or a colleague or friend are experiencing the wrong kind of busy? Slogging busy Sometimes hardly distinguishable from the standard busy days, except perhaps by your level of motivation! It feels … [Read more...] about ‘I’m busy’ part 2: it’s a problem
Who do you need? It is not always easy to get by in the academic world, especially when you are just starting out. I’m not one to normally question Simon and Garfunkel but, in truth, no one can be an island for the long-term. At some point, all of us need somebody, if not to love, then to work with – which I’m sure is also badly paraphrasing another classic … [Read more...] about Finding Your People: Mentors, Collaborators, and Guardian Angels
Following on from Kathy's recent post on why you might have to be brave to say 'no' sometimes, I want to reflect a bit on busy-ness and how it can help if it's a good kind of busy, or if it isn't, then it leads us into needing to say 'no'. I am nearly always busy, and of course it's the standard answer these days when you ask someone how they are. They … [Read more...] about ‘I’m busy’ part 1: good kinds of busy
We're delighted to have had so many responses to our survey on Career pathways following doctoral research. Many thanks for sharing to all 5199 of you, and indeed all those who helped us to promote the survey. You've helped to ensure that we could reach so many people and build a career path picture that could inspire and interest both other researchers and … [Read more...] about Our career paths survey: thanks for sharing!
As we begin 2017, perhaps some of you will have taken a seasonal break from your work. Or perhaps you worked right through: it can be hard to take time out from research and academic life. Some of you might be making New Year's resolutions and perhaps one of them might be to think of your work-life balance. With this in mind, our blog is taking a look at … [Read more...] about Saying No: Why it’s important to be brave
Irrespective of which hemisphere you currently live in, the conversation about academic leave this holiday season can bring up some uncomfortable truths for those studying or working. Social Media correspondent Sarah Wayland explores the conundrum of ‘to stop or not to stop’ when those around you take leave… A few weeks ago, I began as a Post-Doc Research … [Read more...] about Rethinking leave – to stop or not to stop this holiday season
This year has seen a lot of focus in the press on issues of precariousness in employment for early career researchers, many of whom are seeking a way out of precarity. In the last quarter of this year, our blog has looked a lot at the career options available to those who finish their PhD. Career paths are a theme close to the core mission of piirus.ac.uk … [Read more...] about Why researchers might want a way out of precarity
When you start out on your own, there are two things you’ll want to get sorted early on: a website and an email address. The former will help people to find out what you do and the latter will help them get in touch with you. Linking them both to your own domain gives you a professional persona for academic consultancy. Buying a domain, and creating a … [Read more...] about How to create a professional persona for academic consultancy
Wanting to write A few months ago, the fiercely brilliant writer Cory Taylor died. In the time before the cancer became fiercer than her, she wrote ‘Dying: A Memoir’ as a way to make sense of death, of what was happening to her. It’s a beautiful book. A section that struck me, was when she talked of not having a bucket list: “From the age of … [Read more...] about Writing through a fear of writing – featuring 3 most helpful steps.