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Christine - finishing up and moving on
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 - finishing up and moving on
Christine recollects the period of time after submitting the PhD, and moving into a new career.

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Can you talk me through the transition between finishing up the PhD and moving into the world beyond it?

Well the application processes for both moving onto further research, for junior research fellowships as well as university teaching posts, those started prior to me even completing my PhD so that process was already under, I was already under way with that as I was in the midst of completing my PhD. So that process went on after completion also obviously for a few months after I'd submitted, been viva'd and I'd graduated I was still applying for university teaching posts and I was still continuing doing bits of university teaching also so that really went on for a period of about six months after graduation really sort of still slightly thinking that my ideal academic job might come up and starting to

Were you working part-time as well at this point?

Yeah. A factor for me you know immediately after having been viva'd and graduated was I did have a sense that if I maintained my connection to my university, to my department and to my college through bits of ongoing teaching that I was doing that if I was able to just hold on long enough a job probably would come about and I did know people who had been in sort of semi limbo doing little bits of teaching, contributing to the department you know waiting for that job to come around which usually did. But I personally found that quite frustrating. I didn't have the financial wherewithal to not be earning for a significant period of time and to not be working full-time. I had to make my rent and so I think that really focused my mind again to really thinking, to really questioning whether I really was determined to stay on and to wait for some particular academic post which I feel would be absolutely right for me or whether to question whether that was the right decision at all to stay on in academia and to think about other avenues, other opportunities that might be out there.

And did you think about other opportunities?

I did. I think that, I mean I have always had a broad range of interests and my PhD was in the humanities. I was interested in the arts and culture and ideas. I'd thought about other possible you know job routes and maybe working in publishing, in media in some sort of broadly related role and I think as things became clearer for me and I became less convinced that I really strongly knew that I wanted to stay on in academia.

Can you think about how things became clearer?

It was quite difficult really because it really was a combination of factors which came together, you know, in the completion of my PhD, realising that I wasn't really quite ready for a fresh bout of research, of feeling unsure whether I really wanted to do the academic jobs that may have been open to me, feeling that maybe I had, during the course of my PhD, sort of moved on or moved into an area of interests that were less related to my original degree and feeling that I personally was really impatient to start into the world of work really. Those really all sort of came together and really just started to really crystallise in my mind and I was just very lucky that as part of that period, really of mentally processing all these and coming to this decision, I was very lucky to get a temporary post in an organisation through a friend who had been with me at university and who had also been through graduate work and had moved on and now being with this organisation that when I found myself there, you know, purely there to do temporary work while I'm trying to process all of this, it was that moment that I realised that here I was in an exciting organisation which offered to me an avenue to you know use the skills that I'd built up, pursue that broader range of interests and somewhere that I felt that I could really start to build a career.

Did you have to undergo an interview for that temporary position?

Erm, I did. I mean I was probably quite lucky that it was a temporary position so it was a fairly short, brief interview but I went through a more formal interview process once I was in the job and they decided to make the, a permanent role came up which I was able to apply for.

What were you initially doing?  What was the temporary job?

It was quite a broad based role. It was a sort of a mix of administration and research so you know it was definitely a sort of almost like a stopgap position. A sort of a fairly basic level sort of temporary role. It was just through happy coincidence that the organisation itself was key.

And then another job came up?  A job was created for you?

Er, yes, yeah the job was actually created for me, that is sort of how it happened.

And how was the interview for that?

It was absolutely fine and very good because again I was quite lucky that I'd been working in the organisation for a period of time so I already knew the people there so that made it in a sense easier on the one hand but also potentially a little bit more pressure because they were also interviewing external candidates.

And what was that job?

It was a broad based role assisting the programme manager with a broad range of administrative support but with an emphasis on researching content of the programme.
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