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Steven - advice
Name: Steven
PhD discipline: Philosophy
Area(s) of work: University administration (management)
Year of graduation: 1997
Date of Interview: 09/06/2008

Now Playing: Steven - advice
Steven offers advice to those who are uncertain that they want an academic career.

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If you were to give any advice to somebody who's finishing a PhD and is uncertain that they want to go into an academic career, what would you say?

I would say that that is entirely acceptable, in fact if you consider the number of academic jobs that there are and the number of PhDs there are in any discipline, the majority won't become academics and it's entirely and perfectly good to have a different sort of role in the world and for yourself – but there are certain things you have to do. You have to work out what it is that you want to be and want to do at some point.

But is it a cumulative rather than a moment of epiphany or something?

Yes it is cumulative. In my case I didn't realise what it was that I wanted to be until I was doing it and I guess in that sense I was lucky but I think it could have been planned. I could have thought it out more clearly and I could have been a little bit more proactive in investigating opportunities within, even just within higher education that weren't academic. But within the public sector and beyond, for doing something that involved a certain amount of intellectual work alongside other ways of being a professional. I think that PhDs, students, and you know successful PhD doctoral graduates, are ideally placed to really find for themselves challenging, and identity-finding careers.

Can you think of other non-academic jobs within HE that might be rewarding?

Yes, I mean every institution, especially the larger ones, have vast areas devoted to educational support, to human resources, to financial management, to planning, and just as in the real world, you need intelligent people to work in these areas, so you do in HE and having an understanding of an HE context alongside that is an opportunity that I think people should really look into.

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