daniel's timeline

Daniel worked as a professional (science background) in Latin America, before doing a Master’s in North America (English as other language) and then moved to the UK with his partner and child for a PhD (social sciences). He wanted to develop the expertise he saw as lacking in his field in order to advance his professional career, imagining being a consultant taking jobs internationally. He joined the UK study at the end of PhD Year 1 and completed the degree when he was 38.

What struck us about Daniel’s story was: 

No time for self and partner; reluctant to move during degree 

Needed to work for financial reasons during degree and did research on the side in teaching position 

Strategic in developing academic profile during degree and worked toward long-term career vision 

 

PhD

Year 1

PhD

Year 2

PhD

Year 3

PhD

Year 4

PhD

Year 5

 Post-PhD

Year 1

Post-PhD

 

Year 2

 

PhD

Year 1

Family relationships provided security; partner central in decision-making and support of his PhD.

Initial positive relationship with his supervisor; concern re measuring up: ‘Am I fit for this?’.

Wanted to be a professional consultant in the UK, Europe, North America or possibly Latin America.

...

Supervisor went to North America on sabbatical; sporadic Skype meetings; still felt making progress.

...

...

Offered his services to a research project (another team); went as research assistant to Latin America.

Expanded academic and non-academic networks.

 

PhD

Year 2

Family happy; child benefitting from better educational opportunities than in home country.

Supervisor decided to stay in North America; not sure on long-term impact, but felt he should be independent and get on with work.

...

...

Assigned local co-supervisor.

...

...

Did field work in home country.

....

Financial concerns due to his national scholarship not keeping pace with escalating costs; close to poverty line.

Paid work slowed progress.

Took on part-time consultancy work to make ends meet.

 

PhD

Year 3

Financial concerns resolved; moved to better apartment, good office space; he could better balance work and family life.

PhD work suffered: often done at end of 12-14 hour day; still produced plan and hoped to finish in following year.

Offered and took 2-year part-time international consultancy; possible bridge to future career.

...

...

Continued to foresee staying in Europe as a consultant, given excellent options for child.

...

Supervisory contact by Skype when necessary; his ability to plan and focus reduced.

....

...

No longer a cohort since supervisor’s other students had not, like him, returned to department.

...

...

Noted poorer institutional resources than when studying in North America.

...

 

PhD

 

Year 4 

No financial concerns.

Little progress on PhD, given paid work.

Much travel for work.

UK visa law meant he could not stay in the UK as a student with formal leave status.

Notified university he would not meet exam deadline; supervisor, department advised he take a formal leave.

...

...

Intended to finish degree once consultancy ended.

...

...

...

Approach to consultancy changed in beneficial way: asked more questions, engaged more in debate, pushed for evidence in achieving possible solutions.

Wanted family to have a good life and his son the best.

...

...

 

PhD

Year 5

Post-PhD Year 1

Returned to city where parents lived; child initially challenged since only knew the UK.

Completed PhD within a year of his return.

...

...

Took on concurrent consultancies.

...

...

Accepted permanent salaried position in an NGO he had consulted for; meeting with governments, funding agencies and businesses.

....

...

His expertise rare so was able to shape the job.

....

...

...

Foresaw staying in position for a couple of years at least; scope to move internationally which he would like.

 

Post-PhD

Year 2

Better work balance: ‘We have breakfast, lunch and dinner together; my conditions for taking the job were not staying here until 10 pm every single day’.

Role expanded as NGO became more influential; continuing to learn.

Expertise and cultural knowledge meant he could make significant contributions; ‘I have the potential to influence how policy is shaped and implemented’.

 

What struck us

Child’s development, opportunities.

Frequent re-locations of culture and language.

Supervisory relationship: impact on intellectual work.

Financial issues and impact of paid work.

Working towards career goals.

PhD intellectual development evident in professional work.

your

Story

Funding:

Follow us:

  • Researcher Identity
  • Researcher Identity
  • Researcher Identity

contact us

Partners and collaborators:

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