Well, all my good blogging intentions came to a complete standstill when I realised that I needed to get the thesis done by March. It is now March, and the thesis is… done.
When I say ‘done’, I mean that it is complete (bar the editing), and now just needs some serious proofreading, adjustments, formatting and the like. I hope to submit by the end of the month, and since it is now the middle of the month, that is going to be my main priority.
In addition to this, I have two articles pending publication (but I do need more), and two postdoc applications to apply for by the first week of April. Again, my applications are largely complete except for a few minor tweaks, and I have a project I want to put together for it. I will say more about that later, when I have confirmation or cash to go ahead with it – but it’s very exciting! (At least, I think it is, and several people who are also into that line of research agree!)
I’m now in something of a limbo state while my supervisor reads the completed draft. Obviously I’m editing it, and busying myself with the postdoc and job applications, but it’s a strange kind of time as I’m sure anyone who has completed a PhD or is in the final stages of one will agree. It is odd to think that something you have devoted so many years of your life to is finally coming to an end, and the yawning uncertainty of academic (un)employment is all you can see before you. You can have five and ten year plans, and it is important to have a PDP (Personal Development Programme) in place, but ultimately you are at the mercy of a multitude of factors. As a fledgling leaving your institution’s nest for the first time, there is no guarantee that anything you planned out will come to pass. There may be no jobs available. There may be (and undoubtedly, there are) hundreds of others at various stages in their career and a lot like you, all applying to all of the jobs and postdoctoral positions and fellowships that you have applied for. All you can do is build your CV patiently and diligently, and hope for the best.
And network. Network like there is no tomorrow.
And publish. Publish like your career depends on it. (It does.)
And for goodness sake, do something with IMPACT. Community Engagement, Widening Access, all that jazz. Humanities need to justify their existence shamelessly, and these are the key areas in which you can also justify why you should have a career in them.
Then go away and network and publish more.
That’s the advice I’ve been given, anyway – I’m not sure how successful I’ve been in following it, and I’ve no idea what is going to happen in the next few months, and although I’ve hopefully put as many of my career building elements in place as is humanly possible, I don’t have a clue how this will turn out. Hopefully I will get something, and reach my goal of Employment Somewhere by the next five years.
Back to work! Over and out.