Sunday, April 17, 2011


I've been mulling over what I ought to do with my working life a lot recently, the type of jobs I should be pursuing and the other bits that accompany that - ie writing, publishing, conferences, academic stuff. It's that thing about having a PhD and knowing what you should do with it, but not quite wanting to... maybe it's too soon still. Someone asked me recently what my dream job would be and I wasn't sure, though I have a better idea now. It would be nice to have a Really Definite Plan sometimes though, so I'm trying to think one up.

There is useful stuff on various websites about what people actually do with their PhDs.... I found Beyond the PhD interesting as it has interviews with people up to 10 years after they completed, the types of jobs they ended up in and the circuitous routes that both their careers and their thoughts about their doctorates sometimes took. That was extremely reassuring as I realised I wasn't the only one ever to vaguely meander along for months after finishing, uncertain about what to do next, even though I knew what I was supposed to do. There were even a couple of profiles for people who ended up in research support (fancy that, a bit like me!). I guess my bottom line for now is to earn enough to live on from teaching and my part-time admin job, while starting to write for publication from my thesis and then see what happens. I've never really done the 'proper' career thing anyway, so it's easier to do things because I want to rather than because they fit into a neatly predefined career path. And hopefully the Coalition government will have finished buggering around with their destructive Higher Education mission by then and we'll all know where we are...

Hhmm, so it looks like that's the start of my post-doc action plan for now, I suppose. Blogs are good for thinking things through, particularly when you've exhausted real people's ears on the subject you're endlessly pondering.

All this mulling business was probably due to getting to the end of a really busy term's teaching in different places and getting one of my eye operations out of the way. Both have taken over my life in different ways for months though I tried not to let them, so time to think unencumbered by health problems seems quite a luxury right now. Actually mulling is an odd word now I keep writing it down, it seems a bit fishy for some reason though I was thinking of seagulls and they're not fish. Sounds like gulls and ought to look like a trout, no idea why. It was lovely seeing the seagulls swooping around outside my hospital bedroom window last week, they came so close and it was 12 floors up. A large crow landed on my windowledge for a few minutes and peered in too. I'll take a photo when I have eye number 2 done in May as the view is spectacular. I think I'll finish rambling for now, have my tea, watch Lewis and continue to marvel at the wonder of successful eye surgery.

Back soon.

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