ginger's timeline

Ginger had worked in a range of professional positions before moving cities in North America to do her master’s degree. She moved again to pursue her PhD, including moving between countries and imagined a research-teaching position afterwards. Ginger did not have a partner or children, but maintained a geographically-dispersed personal network and frequent contact with her ageing mother. She joined the study in 2006 as she began her second year of doctoral study and graduated when she was in her mid-50s. 

What struck us about Ginger’s story was: 

Frequent re-locations during degree and health issues in research-teaching position.

Writing challenges and interdisciplinarity ongoing degree.

Getting tenure/permanence and advancing career prospects in research-teaching post. 

 

PhD 

Year 2

PhD 

Year 3

PhD Year 4

 Year 1 in new position

PhD Year 5

 Year 2 in new position

Post-PhD 

Year 1

 Year 3 in new position

Post-PhD 

Year 2

 Year 4 in new position

Post-PhD 

Year 3

 Year 5 in new position

 

PhD

Year 2

...

...

Referred frequently to ‘when I become a professor’.

Concerned about future, sought counselling to help calm worries.

...

Hoped to move directly to research-teaching post, but knew this unlikely.

...

Writing, presenting, teaching and committee work; observing academics to learn the job.

...

...

Committee lacked expertise to support her inter-disciplinary approach.

...

 

PhD

Year 3

...

...

Began job-searching; applied 25 times; invited for 3 interviews.

Accepted position close to mother; exciting moving to new city, new job and teaching 5 brand new courses.

Submitted and waiting for defence.

Accepted job (inter-disciplinary) as thesis submitted; being wooed for job meant others valued her research.

 

PhD Year 4

Year 1 in new position

...

Major roadblock as started job; thesis failed by external examiner given issues of inter-disciplinarity; felt mortified.

Both deans supportive; classified as teacher (same salary though) until post-PhD.

...

Needed to write 2nd thesis, this time disciplinary; but could not start in fall with 5 new courses to teach.

...

Supervisor died, so she experienced two deaths: her friend/ supervisor and her thesis.

Given new supervisor; had fewer courses in winter so began 2nd thesis.

....

Experience was not the worst thing that had happened so she knew she would survive.

...

...

 

PhD Year 5

Year 2 in new position

Worked on thesis through summer, autumn and Christmas with no weekend off. 

Re-submitted thesis.

...

Spilt personality: teaching linked to 1st inter-disciplinary thesis but research now more related to 2nd disciplinary one.

Teaching, trying to advance research; but teaching on 2 campuses and teaching on Fridays, the departmental research day.

...

Personal relationships snatched moments; no time for physical activity.

...

....

Neighbours held celebration for her.

Defended thesis; all went well; department celebrated with her.

...

 

Post-PhD 

Year 1

Year 3 in post

...

Tried to carve out time for writing and learned to say ‘no’.

Re-appointed but advised to increase number of publications before tenure.

...

Wrote regularly; tried to have 3 papers on the go at once.

...

...

Enjoyed work: liked people and advising undergraduates; teaching getting closer to research area.

....

...

Could not supervise graduate students or involve them in research since no programs in her area.

...

Tried to ensure 1 day/week not work and develop social network.

...

...

 

Post-PhD 

Year 2

Year 4 in post

Mother died; major surgery after sports accident limited physical activity; slowly adjusted to new life situation.

...

...

...

Attended conferences; built up external network and depended on them for support.

...

...

Clear sense of research trajectory and contribution; multi-year research plan in new, exciting direction.

Decided to apply for tenure early.

...

Arranged move to other campus where people with similar interests nearby.

...

...

More cynical about academia …probably inevitable, but still loved teaching and research.

...

Settled for 1st time in many years with no move ahead of her; bought a house.

...

In future, imagined becoming Chair of a department.

 

Post-PhD 

Year 3

Year 5 in post

...

Submitted major grant application; helped clarify research agenda.

Got tenure, but not unanimous given limited research and lack of funding.

...

Acted as interim Chair; felt she had a vision.

Having tenure, she could apply for Chair and did.

Had carved out time for sports; had network of local friends augmenting other friends from earlier times.

Continued to enjoy teaching and research.

Future mapped out; would grow with job ; when retired could still do research – sounded like most wonderful thing in the world.

 

What struck us

Frequent re-locations.

Health issues.

Writing challenges.

Inter-disciplinarity.

Getting tenure/permanence.

Advancing career prospects.

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