So the job hunt begins properly, at last.
At the weekend I completed an application to teach Politics (and possibly History) to 6th formers at an independent school. I felt enthusiastic about writing the application, even though I think my chances of getting an interview are slim. I don’t have a teaching qualification, I just have my four years of experience teaching Politics at university. And my degrees in Politics. I also don’t have a strong background in History. But the HR manager at the school encouraged me to apply anyway and suggested they might consider me to teach Politics part time.
Before making my decision to consider leaving academia and apply for other jobs, I started writing an application for a one-year lectureship in my field of research. In my town. I know, it sounds like the ideal job for someone who has just completed their PhD. Except when I discussed it with other people, in my department, at conferences, I discovered that everyone in my field is applying for it because there are hardly any other entry-level jobs to apply for in this cycle. In fact, there is one other one-year fellowship but it’s in London and I have no desire to go back to London and move away from my partner of 7 years.
So, feeling deflated about the job market and the competition for the one job I was applying for I started to consider my other options. Doing so made me feel excited about looking for a job, a feeling I hadn’t had about my academic job search. It made me wonder if I actually even wanted an academic job or whether I just felt I wasn’t good enough to get an academic job, especially with all of the amazing competition.
Today was the deadline for the one-year lectureship in my town. I had a look at it this morning and realised that I had done most of it and there wasn’t much left to do. So I did it anyway and I tried to make it sound enthusiastic but I don’t think my heart was in it. This was either due to me being excited about what else I could do instead, or due to feeling inadequate and almost certain that I won’t get an interview, let alone the job. I just felt it was silly not to apply when I had already written most of it, and did I mention it wouldn’t involve moving to the other side of the country?
I’ve also found two other jobs to apply for over the next two weeks, both at my local university and this time on the administrative side. What inspired me to look at this aspect of the university job market, having not considered it as a career option before, was reading a couple of the Transition Q&As on the From PhD to Life website. In particular, I looked at two Q&As with Philosophy PhDs who had happily transitioned into research support roles and found their jobs intellectually satisfying. If you are thinking of leaving academia or doing an alt-academic job then I really recommend you read these, and the other interviews in the series: