cathy's timeline

Cathy had a professional practice before beginning her PhD in a local North America university, given she did not want to move her young family. She imagined seeking a local research-teaching position afterwards. She began participating in the Canadian study in 2007 in the third year of her degree. She completed the degree in 2009 when she was in her early-to-mid-40s. 

 

What struck us about Cathy's story was: 

No work-life balance. 

Financial issues during degree meant seeking more work and taking on governance issues in post.

Changing career intention and career management .

 

PhD

Year 2

PhD

Year 3

PhD

Year 4

 Post-PhD

 

Year 1

Post-PhD

 

Year 2

Post-PhD

 

Year 3

Post-PhD

 

Year 4

 

PhD

Year 2

...

.Passed comprehensive exams; weekly goal and email check-in with supervisor to ensure progress.

...

...

Worked as research assistant and sessional teacher (continued through degree).

...

Academic ‘work/life balance not appealing; want to go home, spend time with my family, not have homework’.

....

Began considering teaching-only position; also community work begun during PhD; perhaps continue previous practice part-time.

 

PhD

Year 3

Overly swamped: no time with friends; work-life balance hard during PhD.

Got ethics approval; collected data; started analysis; wished supervisor more helpful in the process.

...

Family transition: partner left job to do PhD; finances an issue; spent time applying for more courses to teach.

...

Taught in other institution; positive feedback from students and Chair but marginalised as sessional teacher.

...

Received fellowship; helped to finish sooner.

....

...

Thesis group created by peers; provided feedback and support.

...

Did not want to give whole life over to a university.

...

Wanted to be lifelong learner in learning environment.

 

PhD

Year 4

Partner decided against doing PhD; got other job; finances eased.

...

...

...

Need to be passionate about research given time and energy it takes; not convinced she had the passion.

...

...

Graduated.

....

A huge relief for her family; celebrated several times since it really felt like a family effort.

...

Put out feelers to teach locally in graduate professional programme with some supervision.

...

...

Landed exactly what hoped for: 0.75 clinical teacher, no research expectation.

Wanted to spend evenings and weekends doing things wanted to do, not had to do.

...

...

 

 Post-PhD

 

Year 1 

Focused on regular exercise, time with family and friends (both suffered during PhD).

...

...

...

A dream job, collaborative climate.

...

...

Supervising 6 students, giving feedback very time consuming.

Needed to learn how to become more efficient.

...

Helped others with their research, so doing research on the side.

Worked with others to ensure limited research activities recognized in career advancement decisions.

 

Post-PhD

Year 2

...

Supervising 12 students; presented at conference.

Learning curve easier at work; realized how much learned, no longer a novice.

...

...

Became full-time.

Work-life balance better, but still working more hours than desired; also chauffeuring teenage children.

Tried to write paper from PhD but not successful mostly due to lack of time.

....

 

Post-PhD

Year 3

...

Less overworked, teaching courses already taught; more able to enjoy supervising  students.

Become academic advisor since full-time.

...

Finally finished and submitted PhD article.

...

Children going to university; very significant shift in life of family; more time for personal and social investment.

...

....

 

Post-PhD

Year 4

Children more independent; no longer feeling abandoning them; doing things just for herself.

...

...

...

Loved what she was doing, including working on governance in the university.

Very grateful to have position; happy to stay there  .

 

What struck us

No work-life balance.

Financial issues meant seeking more work.

Taking on governance issues.

Changing career intention.

Career management.

your

Story

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Researcher Identity Development (2017). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License