Do you want to be an academic? Do you want to make have a career as an academic? It may be your cherished ambition, or it may be something, your studies have fitted you for. Well, according to today’s edition of The Guardian , there are fewer and fewer full time posts in academia.
When Vicky Blake embarked on her PhD at Durham University eight years ago, she believed it was the beginning of an exciting research career. Now, as part of the silently growing army of teaching staff paid by the hour in British universities, she is beginning to wonder at what stage she should walk away.
“I feel I owe it to myself to try, because I’ve invested so much in this. But I am 30 years old and I can’t keep existing on a month-to-month basis,” she says. “I have to put a time limit on how long I can hold out for a proper research job, and I think that’s really sad.”
Blake may spend her life juggling, with no ability to plan ahead, let alone apply for a mortgage, but in some respects she is one of the fortunate ones. When she came to the end of an eight-month, part-time research assistant post at Leeds University last year, instead of letting her fall off the academic cliff, it put her on a special redeployment register. This led her to a part-time, one-year assistant post on an academic journal at the university. She has a second part-time clerical post at Leeds, a commitment-free, “zero-hours” clerical job at Durham, and an hourly paid teaching job at Leeds, for which she has to secure a new contract each term.
“If a student asked me whether they should do a PhD, sadly, I’d say take a very careful look at the other options. “”(Dr Eric Silverman). Sensible advice, I’d say.