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Russell - does your academic career live up to your expectations?
Name: Russell
PhD discipline: History
Area(s) of work: BBC archives; university teaching
Year of graduation: 1998
Date of Interview: 02/06/2008

Now Playing: Russell - does your academic career live up to your expectations?
Russell remembers how the initial struggle to secure full-time employment came as a surprise.

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Do you think that your academic career bears any relation to the kind of expectations you had of an academic career? 

Most of it does. What I do, it does, what didn't for me was how long it did take and as I say, I might be unusual, but how long it took to go from those insecurities of short-terms and part-times and temporary contracts to a full-time position and during that time you do get exploited quite badly. You're not paid enough for what you do and it's very difficult and that did, and people said it to me, they said that did go on far longer than it should have. It all came right in the end but that was something I didn't expect to be so difficult, so long and I don't know, I think it was partly just to do with timing in some ways. When I came out of my PhD was at a time when there seemed to be, the jobs seemed to dry up a little bit and more people were in the field and so it just seemed a bit, it just seemed very difficult. So, there's an awful element of luck involved in a lot of your progression after being postgraduate. For example, a friend of mine finished doing a PhD and all of a sudden unrelated to them, but another university had a research proposal that was literally almost exactly the same as what they'd done for the PhD on quite a specialist subject so they applied for it and obviously got it because they were really the only kind of person of that age and of that stage in their career who was doing that subject. That just landed on their doormat and so he got himself a two year fellowship at a good university doing something like that, I mean he'll still at the end of that two year fellowship have the next step to do but, you know, things can kind of pan out in that way as well.

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