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Christine - advice
Name: Christine
PhD discipline: French Literature
Area(s) of work: University teaching; arts; charity
Year of graduation: 2003
Date of Interview: 18/06/2008

Now Playing: Christine - advice
Christine gives advice to those who are thinking about what to do after their PhD and are not sure that they want to pursue an academic career.

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If you were giving advice to somebody who was coming towards the end of their PhD and they were having second thoughts about whether an academic career was for them, what would you say?

If you love your subject and you've done well which you usually have because you know you've got to that stage where you've moved onto this advanced level, there is this sort of sequence of events that seems to sort of naturally happen and it's very easy to sort of just kind of go along with the ride. But I do think an academic career is quite a different thing from a PhD in a way so I think there has to be a quite conscious decision that that's what you want and it's difficult to have that period of reflection because I think of competition for jobs so the pressure is to start applying early on, and then of course if you're lucky enough to be offered a job you know the expectation is that you will take it because it's competitive. I think a fear that a lot of people have is that they can't take time out because you feel if you – you know if I thought a year after having been out of academia about trying to get back in, if I had reconsidered and thought 'well, actually, I do want to get back in' I think I would have felt quite nervous about that and unsure whether I would really get that chance to go back in cos, you know, that the next year's PhDs are finishing and I think it's just because of the scarcity of, particularly in my field, of permanent jobs. So I think that can add to that pressure of thinking 'well, I probably should just apply for everything and if I get something, that's fantastic. It works against you being able to take some time out and really reflect if it's the right move.

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