If your heart is already set on a career as an academic, choose your academic institution, research area, as well as your supervisors, wisely. Take your time, do your research, meet with other academics, and ask as many questions as possible. Pursue a topic or field that interests you; one that will motivate you to get out of bed and sit down at your desk – because there’ll be no-one forcing you to!
Join us for our Industry Day In the Life: this time, we’re chatting to Millicent who is a Postdoctoral Research Associate. Let us know whose day in the life you want to know about, and ASK ENID.
Let me introduce myself… My name is Millicent Churcher, i’m 29 years old, and I’m currently employed as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Sydney. I spent a good part of my 20s doing a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (Advanced) with Honours in Philosophy, and a PhD.
My job in a nutshell… A postdoc research associate falls somewhere between a phD student and a tenured academic. The job typically involves a lot of research (independent and sometimes collaborative), and helps to prepare you for life as a professional philosopher.
Skills you’ll need… A postdoc provides a valuable opportunity to publish work in journals and books, and draws on all the skills and traits that you develop as a phD student (i.e. patience, discipline, self-motivation, diligence, time-management, critical thinking, intellectual courage). However unlike a phD, a postdoc position may also require you to build research communities, which involves reaching out to other academics, networking, and planning conferences and workshops.
This job is for you if you like… Colonising cafe tables, working solo, reading lots (and lots) of books, putting words to paper, arguing a point, public speaking, work schedule flexibility, overseas travel.
Avoid this job if you do not like… Managing long-term deadlines, solitude, Microsoft Word, libraries.
My advice to you… My one hot tip for those considering a career in academia would be to think carefully about what you value in a job: if you value working a structured 9-5 schedule, earning loads of money, and working to well-defined, short-term deadlines, then this path is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you like the idea of being able to design your own work schedule, to do your work from anywhere, and don’t mind being among the more ‘mature’ students on campus, this job will make these things a real possibility!