Jo VanEvery, Academic Career Guide · Valuing Intellectual Engagement Burnout and stress are not just about the quantity of work you have to do. Lack of control and a sense of meaninglessness are major contributors to burnout. It has become very clear that your difficulty managing your workload is not a personal failing. You are […]Read More »
Note: I wrote this just before the pandemic situation started to impact academic workloads in the UK, US, and Canada. I am re-publishing it now as a reminder that things would already have been in transition at this time of year. For more on the specific impacts of the pandemic response on academic life… …head […]Read More »
When you are looking for an academic job it is hard to imagine that you could get one and be unhappy, even miserable. And yet, I’ve met unhappy academics.
An academic career incorporates a wide range of activities and uses a lot of different skills. Even those who love it, and are successful, love different things about it, or excel at different aspects.
It is important to determine what is important to you. Your actual job may never match your ideal exactly, but knowing what your ideal looks like enables you to choose better compromises.Read More »
One way to get some control over how much time and energy you give to certain kinds of legitimate requests is to create a container for that kind of work.
Just as it is easier to store flour if you pour it into something with firm sides and a lid (so it doesn’t just flow all over the counter), some tasks can benefit from being contained in particular time periods or particular spaces.Read More »
As tough as this semester has been and as happy as you are for it to end, the transition from a heavily scheduled term to an unscheduled break is tough. You’ve probably got a long list of things too do. Too long, I suspect. A long list + an open stretch of time = procrastination […]Read More »
This post refers to the break between semesters, which in the Northern Hemisphere tends to incorporate the Christmas holidays. Often the exams and assignments that come in at the end of the semester need to be graded before the beginning of the next casting a bit of a pall over the break and making it less […]Read More »
Are you within 12 – 18 months of finishing your dissertation? I know that’s a hard question. And you can’t really know with any certainty. Do you feel like you are approaching the end of this process? Have you considered a post-doctoral fellowship? Even if you are closer to finished or have already defended your dissertation, […]Read More »
In early 2012, Rohan Maitzen published a few very thoughtful posts about what counts are research, the apparent conflict between research and teaching, and related issues. One of these, “When is Reading Research?“, really highlights some of the underlying issues. When we talk about “doing research,” I think we conventionally mean reading in service of a […]Read More »
One of the attractions of an academic career is the autonomy it affords. That means no one is going to give you permission. Or, perhaps more accurately, they already have.
Trusting your judgement is hard. You risk criticism. Disapproval. Perhaps even attack. Even though criticism is an inevitable part of academic life, many academics struggle with it.Read More »
Your dissertation is not an end. It is a beginning.
Getting a tenure track job (or equivalent academic appointment) is not an end. It is a beginning.
And even if your ultimate goal is “Be a full-professor, with an international reputation in my field.” (and it’s okay if that isn’t your goal), you aren’t going to get there in 3-5 years.Read More »
For many people what’s attractive about an academic career is the opportunity to be intellectually engaged: with students, with books, with colleagues, etc. Popular cultural representations of academia twist this into an image of the professor with his mind on higher things and detached from reality. Either way what gets called “the life of the mind” […]Read More »
Sometimes I think that you will all just think I’ve lost my mind. (cue Robbie Williams “…It was mine to give away…”) The academic labour market, heck the entire labour market, is going to hell in a handbasket and I’m telling you to think about your passion and your best contribution. I’m suggesting that you […]Read More »