An Academic Career


Dr Ciska Kemper describes how she has been trying to balance her work and private life.

Are you prepared for the demands on your home life of being an academic?

Some academics manage to maintain quite strict boundaries between their academic and their home life, but for many, the boundaries blur and research can be all consuming.

Sometimes they have to work long or irregular hours because of the administrative side of the job. However, even in the absence of such distractions, many academics still choose to work long hours, because their work is their passion.

"I conduct my research both in the office and at home but do most of the marking on the weekends at home. I typically work six days per week." Dr Simon Brocklehurst, Earth Sciences.

"Every colleague that I have who has children, waits until the children go to bed and then resumes work. Most colleagues I know either choose to do their emails, or read PhD or undergraduate students’ work in the evenings." Dr Angelia Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Politics.

Which camp are you likely to fall into? This will probably depend on your personality, your personal circumstances, the stage you are at in your career, your discipline and your institution, all of which can have a significant impact on how you manage your academic life.

Dr Kevin Lane talks about the joys and uncertainties of a Research Fellowship.

How long are you prepared to wait for a permanent academic job?

Some academics have a swift and smooth journey between PhD and permanent academic job. If you are in the right discipline, have good publications and/or teaching experience, an excellent academic reputation and can be flexible about your next position, you may find a permanent academic job quite quickly.

However, in many cases, the path between completing a doctoral qualification and landing a permanent job as an academic can involve a period of uncertainty, sometimes with a succession of short term and/or part-time contracts, alongside the pressure to publish your work and establish your professional reputation.

How long are you prepared to wait for a permanent academic job, and what will sustain you during this time?