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Lucy - where do you see your career going from here?
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Name: Lucy
PhD discipline: Philosophy
Area(s) of work: I.T.; academia
Year of graduation: 2001
Date of Interview: 24/06/2008

Now Playing: Lucy - where do you see your career going from here?
Lucy explains why she wants to stay within academia.

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Where do you see your career going from here? Do you still want to pursue an academic career at the end of the post-doc, post doctoral? 

Yeah the institute I work for only has temporary funding and so a lot of my work is seeking out funding opportunities, helping with funding applications and so on. And, you know, this involves, I suppose, a little bit like writing a research proposal for a PhD or for a JRF, you know, there is a lot more work and admin involved. You basically work out a project that you want to do. It depends on the application really, you have to get somebody to do a budget for it and stuff and then you apply to somebody who is offering research funding and suggest that you do it for three years or whatever it is. And then they say yes or no. In that respect I am, again, unusual in the sort of JRF that I have because a lot of them, if you go and take a JRF with an Oxbridge college, say, you wouldn't have that opportunity really – well, some people might, I don't know. It is kind of a nice way even though it is nerve wracking because the funding is only temporary, you at least have the opportunity to kind of write yourself into future research projects. 

 

I mean, although I do want to stay in academia there are various ways…the ways things happen to work aren't ideal for me. You know, I sometimes find after philosophising for a few weeks I grow really, really bored with doing it and just fed up and disillusioned. And I think probably what would suit me is kind of a month on and then a month’s holiday and then a month on and a month’s holiday but there are not that many places that offer that much holiday. I wouldn't want to say ‘holiday’ just doing something else, but you don't often have the opportunity to do that, and so in that respect it is not ideal. But you know, no job is ideal even though when I was outside academia and wanted to get back I did just think it was the ideal existence. You know, its not, you're not sort of sitting there in a cloud of inspiration all the time, you are doing what you do but there are a lot of sort of niggles that go with any job also go with academic jobs. 

Do you think if you were to get a lectureship where you would be combining a research element with teaching that it might give you the variety that you might like? 

Yeah, definitely. I really, really miss teaching. Part of the reason I haven't done that much of it is just through laziness, you know, the opportunities are there. But this is one thing I'm looking into at the moment. Maybe offering a new lecture course, certainly doing more teaching and hopefully graduate teaching in the coming academic year. Yeah, I mean, I think people have different preferences; some people would like to do research all the time and, you know, for a while that is probably what I would like to do but, you know, I do miss the variety and so that is something I would like to do.  

 

I suppose one thing to say: if you want an academic career, you sort of have to make a difficult choice. You can be one of the very many people that travel around the world for the next academic job – I decided quite early on that I didn’t want to do that. I am committed now to remaining in the city that I am now living in. I live with my fiancée and he doesn't want to travel, following me, and so we are staying here. I mean this, you know, as far as locations in England, there are various other universities within commuting distance, and so I thought, you know, staying here and buying a flat and, you know, if I have to commute everyday somewhere then, well, that is a sacrifice I make. I mean, it can be done; I met someone the other week who lives in Liverpool and commutes to Glasgow, not everyday but, you know, now and then – he works at a university. I know somebody else who lives in Oxford who commutes about half the week to a job in Cardiff, and so it is not impossible. Nobody likes spending hours and hours on the train but it can be done. 

Do you feel that the JRF has given you the space to really establish an academic career? 

Yeah, I think so. I mean, with these things you can always have done more. You can always churn out, I suppose, in theory, if you churn out a publication every 2 weeks then you would probably walk straight into a professorship. Yeah, it is an opportunity to publish things. I mean, there are things like 1 year lecturing jobs that are available which have a fairly heavy teaching load. I would imagine that is much more difficult because you have this heavy teaching load to fulfil and at the same time you are trying to establish your research profile. I mean, I would imagine that those sorts of jobs are much more difficult, but then it depends what you want, you know, if you really like teaching then that is going to be ideal.

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