HDR Career Conversations

Supporting research student career development and employability at UOW

August 3, 2020
by whitneys

Missing the Monkey: The Post-PhD Blues

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.

Photo by MESSALA CIULLA from Pexels (license)

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 →

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September 4, 2018
by saryan
1 Comment

A Different Career Perspective: Impact, Invest and Jump!

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 →

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July 26, 2018
by saryan

The Five Fs of Leadership

Guest Post by Dr. Alfred Chidembo

Introduction:  Alfred was one of the first students I met when I came to UOW in 2013.  He made an impact then, and he is certainly making an impact on many lives now:  through his Not-for-profit organization Aussie Books for Zim, and through his contributions to the UOW community.  He has delivered student leadership training through UOWx, hosted student teams as part of our student consultancy program Univative and participated on a panel at the HDR Shaping your Employability event late in 2017.  After his inspiring talk at that event, I asked him to share his leadership message through our HDR Careers Conversations blog… and here it is! 

Sometimes leadership is thrust upon you and you find yourself thrown into the deep end where you assess yourself and ask the question, “what have I got to give?” I had a deep look inside and realized that the cupboard was empty except for one quality that I knew I always had, just one: enthusiasm. It happened to me Continue Reading →

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May 14, 2018
by saryan
1 Comment

Creating businesses that transform society

5 pieces of advice from inspiring entrepreneurs at the Global Summit of Women Youth Forum

Introduction: I was really happy to be asked to nominate some HDR students to attend the Global Summit of Women Youth Forum in Sydney recently.  UOW PhD researcher Amy Boyle was one of those nominated and here she gives us some of the key take home messages from the event, relevant to readers regardless of age or gender!

On the 27th of April, I travelled to the International Convention Centre in Sydney with four other students for the Global Summit of Women – Youth Forum. The Global Summit of Women is an annual conference that invites women from over 60 countries in the public, private and non-profit sectors to discuss business strategies that will expand women’s economic and career opportunities internationally. This year, the Youth Forum brought together four young entrepreneurs to share their advice on “Creating Businesses that Transform Society”.

Panel discussion “Creating Businesses that Transform Society”

Continue Reading →

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March 8, 2018
by saryan


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 →

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February 21, 2018
by saryan

The post-PhD job dilemma

 Reflections on the UOW HDR Employability event by Annabel Clancy

Annabel Clancy a final year PhD researcher summarised the key messages and advice from our Spring 2017 HDR ‘Shape your Employability’ event which included short presentations from HDR alumni on their career experience.  I think she has provided an excellent and succinct insight into a lively event.  If it sparks your interest, check out the recordings and slides from the event.

As a final year PhD student, the excitement of nearing completion of my research is dimmed slightly by the prospect of the post PhD job search. With the seemingly innocent questions “what are you going do when you finish your PhD?” increasing in frequency in the past few months, attending the HDR employability event seemed like a good place to start. I came out of the day feeling more positive about the job search process. For me, there were 4 main ideas from the day that really stood out: Continue Reading →

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