Intro:I have known Dr. Conor West, as a HDR student, a project collaborator and now we are lucky to have her as a UOW colleague at Learning, Teaching and Curriculum. I love this honest account of her experience and feelings when finishing her PhD and working out what to do next. I think most readers will relate in some way…
Like many of us, the doctoral-shaped monkey on my back seemed to gain weight as the years of my PhD passed by. By the end, it was only my innate stubbornness and fear of disappointing others that kept us together.
I spent much of those four years riding waves of passionate curiosity and troughs of seething disappointment. Not that it mattered, as regardless of how I was feeling, my monkey always required something from me. Time away from it filled me with guilt. I convinced myself that a break could wait until the tables had been re-formatted, a new article annotated, or the next page of feedback was applied. Life happened in the space it left; I always gave my monkey the attention it screamed for. Until, unceremoniously, my monkey was gone.
It was an ordinary Tuesday, working alone from home when I realised the monkey had run out of tasks to throw at me. I had suddenly found myself looking at a submit button, with my full dissertation attached to the box above it. I clicked submit almost as a reflex, akin to accepting terms and conditions. I messaged family and friends and posted about my almost-completion. In silence, I got up to wash the dishes and heard the ping of an automatic email from HDR administration with their congratulations and estimates for examiner feedback. It was all very underwhelming, as I knew my monkey would be back. Continue Reading →
Introduction: A question that can haunt many PhD students from the beginning of their candidature is, “what will I do after I’ve finished?” Jo Khoo recently completed her PhD at the University of Wollongong, researching the private health insurance system in Australia and its role in supporting patients with chronic and complex needs. All job searches can be daunting, but Jo’s had the added complexity that she was moving overseas! Here, she shares her experience of planning her post-PhD career path and how she secured her current position as a Senior Analyst in Clinical Informatics at Clarify Health Solutions, a health data analytics company based in San Francisco.
For many people, the post-PhD job search can be almost as daunting as the process of thesis completion itself! It is intensely personal, as research has become part of the candidate’s identity, and as a result, the process can be really isolating, particularly if you are going into less familiar territory and looking for a job outside of academia (which is the reality for most PhD candidates).
Introduction: UOW Higher Degree Researcher Amy Boyle first wrote on this topic as part of her online reflections for the zero credit point subject Career Ready Learning for Higher Degree Researchers CRLH900. Her proactive and organised approach and examples of career development activities were too good not to share more widely, so I asked her to rewrite her experience as a piece for the blog. Though we can’t all be so naturally organised, I am really impressed with the incremental approach Amy is taking to her career development activities and her ability to find opportunities as she progresses.
Coming into a PhD, I think a lot of people are so focused on their research that they forgot to think about what comes after. Having a PhD doesn’t necessarily get you a job in your field, but with a little bit of planning you can increase the likelihood. Your supervisor’s main focus is your thesis work and they may not have the capacity to help with your career. Consequently, I participated in the HDR Careers workshops last year as part of the optional careers subject CRLH900: Career Ready Learning for Higher Degree Researchers. I was in the first year of my PhD and the learning acquired through these workshops was incredibly useful to rewire my thinking into approaching my PhD as an apprenticeship, rather than just another stage of study.
My participation in these workshops encouraged me to take initiative for my career development, develop long-term strategies and be cognizant of the changing workforce, specifically: Continue Reading →
rnolReflections from School of Health and Society Research Student Careers Event
Introduction: As HDR Careers Counsellor I recently contributed to a career development event at the School of Health and Society (HAS) which included a panel discussion followed by some interactive career exercises. You guessed it – we asked for a volunteer to write a blog piece. Faysal Kabir Shuvo, a PhD researcher in HAS volunteered to share his learning from this event co-ordinated by the Head of Postgraduate Studies, Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng.
Dr. Iain Butterworth (far right) sharing his career story, pictured alongside Dr. Rachel Loney-Howes and some of the HAS research student audience.
The objective of this workshop was mainly to guide post-PhD career planning. The workshop was an excellent mix of professionals sharing their career journeys. Dr Iain Butterworth is the Head of professional services in the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Dr Rachel Loney-Howes, has recently been recruited as Lecturer in the School of Health and Society. And finally, we had Ms Sarah Ryan, our on-campus resource for all matters HDR careers. The workshop was nicely moderated by Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng, Head of Postgraduate Studies, School of Health and Society. Motivated by my participation in the Careers Central Career Ready Learning for Higher Degree Research (CRLH900) subject, I have started to explore a range of post-PhD career options. Therefore, personally, I was intrigued Continue Reading →
Introduction: Identifying your skills may sound easy, but it takes time and often deep reflection. Are you developing the ‘right’ skills for your future career? Jo Khoo, a UOW PhD researcher at the Faculty of Business, has written a useful blog piece exploring research on which skills are most relevant to research intensive and other careers.
Every PhD student is probably sick of hearing about, ‘transferable skills,’ those ill-defined skills that you have developed while conducting your research that you are meant to emphasise when applying for jobs. Even for someone like me, who spent almost 10 years working full-time before starting a PhD, it is difficult to clearly define and articulate the specific skills I have developed during my time as a PhD student that will transfer to a job after I finish my PhD.
As we all know, only a minority of us will end up in academic research positions and so it’s incumbent to think more broadly about our options, and have at least a Plan B option (not to mention, C, D and E)! I recently came across a paper reporting on the findings of a survey of more than 8,000 PhD graduates. Continue Reading →
Introduction: Exploring your future career options can seem like just another item to add to your long list of research tasks – it might be tempting to procrastinate and put it to the bottom of the list. Corinne Green, a PhD researcher in Education and a current student of ‘Career Ready Learning for Higher Degree Research Students’, shows us it doesn’t have to be overly time consuming, by using research career podcasts, one of which she reviews below.
How much time do you spend thinking about your future career? Maybe it is something that plagues your mind constantly, or something you would rather not think about, or perhaps something you have not yet considered. Whatever stage of your studies you are up to, it can be valuable to consider what is coming next and how you are going to get there.
Lessons from the iAccelerate IMPACT4 Change Social Entrepreneurship conference
Introduction: I believe you can learn something from every person’s career experience, no matter how unrelated their career may seem. This is especially so with entrepreneurs. In the changing world of work we all need to take an entrepreneurial approach to our careers, looking for opportunities, testing the market and pivoting when things don’t go as expected. In a recent edition of HDR Career News, we put out a call out for expressions of interest in attending the iAccelerate IMPACT4 Change conference for Social Enterpreneurs. Zoe Richards had recently submitted her PhD, was looking for some career inspiration, so we sponsored her attendance and asked her to write a blog about her experience. I think you’ll be interested in the parallels she draws between research and social entrepreneurship.
I don’t fancy myself a social entrepreneur, but I do believe that I have some things in common with those who do. That is wanting to effect meaningful change in some way or another however, at this point in time I’m not exactly sure what that is, or how I plan to do it. After submitting my doctoral dissertation, I have been faced with the same question from many people, “What’s next, Zoe?”, and to be frank for the majority of the time, I have don’t have an answer for them.
I saw attending the iAccelerate IMPACT4 Change conference as an opportunity to connect and network with like-minded people within the research, policy making and social entrepreneurial space, and perhaps a chance to magically uncover what it is I want to do with my career. Whilst, I didn’t walk away with a revolutionary idea of what I want to do with my life, the conference did shift my perspective on how I should approach the next chapter. I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few of these things with a wider audience. Continue Reading →
Review of careers tool for Humanities and Social Science PhD researchers
Imagine PhD is a one of very few (if any?) career planning tools tailored to Humanities and Social Science PhD researchers and graduates. I asked Ross Girdler, a first year PhD researcher, with rich previous career experience to see what he thought of it…
Imagine PhD is an online career guidance resource for those Humanities and Social Sciences PhD and post-doc researchers who have surfaced from their studies long enough to ask the question, “where to next?”. Continue Reading →