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Agency and Networking

in Researcher Career Development

ERASMUS + Researcher Identity Development


Having a life!

Work-life balance

A common concern for the research participants in our study was creating the balance they wanted in their lives between work or the doctorate and the rest of life, for example:

Social scientists



I’m sure I mentioned time — not in terms of the job requirement, but just because I don’t have enough time in my life—time with my family and with all the work I need to do... [Barbara, post-PhD teaching contract]


I have to find ways to accommodate everything, otherwise I cannot move forward on [my PhD], and I will have an upset wife and a crying child!  So I have to make time, so it requires a lot of organisational skills to be able to juggle everything. [Daniel, PhD researcher]

I had a conference in the UK and then a conference in France, and there have been things related to the course that I was taking …and managing things at home.  So I feel that I didn’t have enough time to work on the project - I was distracted by other things, which are related but not necessarily contributing to the research.  So, it’s the …long[-term] issue of time management and family and work. [CM, post-PhD researcher]




I’m not sure if I’m quite a workaholic, but I probably have tendencies towards that.  What I do to kind of balance things and what I did as a PhD student as well is I try to be at work before 8:30 since I have to get my daughter to the school bus now, I used to be at work before 8:00 and I may go back to that when I’m able.  So try to be to work early and then I try to always be home by 5:30 and that is just what I do.  It forces me to get the stuff done at work. [Julius, PhD researcher, turned president of own company]

I don’t think I found my work/life balance at all. I am a lot more calm about it, I can manage it, or I think I can manage it much better. I am not overwhelmed, I am not stressed, but I am working all the time. If I am not making dinner or laundry or taking care of my kids, I am working. That’s the only two things that I do. I don’t watch TV, I don’t read a book, I don’t go to the gym, I haven’t been doing any of that, especially since the little guy came, now that there is two of them [Sophia, research-teaching position]



The issue of work/doctorate-life balance is not likely to go away. Furthermore, it changes day to day, evolves with circumstances and is different for everyone. To achieve balance, you need clarity about what suits you and how best to take some control. 


This section includes two resources to help you assess your work-life balance and provides suggestions as to how you might find a balance that better fits your priorities and life:

Smiling Woman
Woman with Computer
Young Man
Cheerful Pregnant Woman

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Researcher Identity Development (2020).

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