“It brings a persistent low-grade anxiety that lingers around my heart, sometimes traveling up to constrict my throat as the time remaining on my contract dwindles. Rinse, and repeat. For years. I don’t know what impact this lifestyle is having on my health, but it can’t be good.” The Guardian about contract based positions in academia. https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2016/dec/02/short-term-contracts-university-academia-family?CMP=share_btn_tw
How to circumvent the situation?
As long as you are in Ph.D., things are fine, there is a stability for at least 5-6 yrs where a continuous source of scholarship is promised on paper, however, the situation changes once you are a scholar and now want to move onto the next obvious training in academia which is postdoc and which is unfortunately, CONTRACTUAL. The training is a must to pursue an academic career and rightly so.
But how to avoid getting trapped by the feeling described aptly above?
Here are 10 points which I feel might help:
- Do not put all your eggs in one basket.
- Be aware of the employability scenario.
- Network and meet people, talk to people, use social networking sites.
- Develop SKILLS beyond the bench, Ph.D. is a long time to DISCOVER yourself- what you are good at and what you are not made for.
- Be truthful to your potentials- Most of us are not truthful to ourselves. We will ignore all the signs which tell us that this might not be the right thing for us, till we fall into the trap.
- Do proper due diligence on the Postdoc lab.
- Choose mentors not the university.
- Think ahead-Plan the career, does not mean you should not relax and enjoy your life outside the lab hours.
- Have alternative BACKUP plans.
- Have a financial plan from day one of Ph.D. – It will help in the times of despair.
Enjoys good friends, music and adda.
Copyright “Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham
This work by ClubSciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.