Thursday, 4 December 2014

New Deadlines, New Projects

Five months after the PhD viva and the job search continues...It's disheartening to see rejections coming in, but I'm keeping myself busy with applications, writing and other projects. I'm aware that I really need to get some publications on my CV if I ever want to be invited for an interview. I've been watching jobs sites, but I know the real strategy is to strengthen my application, rather than just keep making weak ones.

I have a list of five more publications, in various states of completion, with submission deadlines over the next six months. Another major deadline is on the horizon in six months' time, too, as I'm having a baby! Richard and I and our families are thrilled. We were quite strategic with our timing, holding off on starting a family until after the PhD was finished, but hoping it would happen as soon as possible after the PhD. My decision was based on 2 main points:

1) It takes about 5 years to get established in academia, with publications and post-docs and research positions. Might as well use some of this instability to have the first kid, then establish your career in earnest. I'm more comfortable with that than with getting a job and then going on maternity leave after a few months--it just seems dishonest to me.

2) I want to have 2 kids, about 4-5 years apart, preferably before I'm declared "advanced maternal age" or a "geriatric mother" (!) by the medical establishment at the age of 35.

Many women in academia talk about how having kids held them back or how they sacrificed having kids for their career, but I've always thought academia is one of the most child-friendly fields to work in. I've seen a lot of women and men at the University using flextime and working from home--I had a lecturer who sent e-mails stamped at 4am when he was up with the baby. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm just saying it's easier than it would be in a lot of other fields. Nurses like my mom, grandma and sister, for example, couldn't work at home or take flextime to nurse their own sick child back to health, and they always have to work holidays. The University gives its employees 25 days of annual leave a year, in addition to a week at Christmas/New Year and a 5-day weekend at Easter. It's a pretty sweet deal--and part of why I pursued this path in the first place. No doubt I'll have some repercussions for taking maternity leave twice (hopefully) in my career, but in the long run, it's only a few months out of a 40+ year career.

The first trimester has been pretty rough and I haven't managed to do much writing at all since October. I'm starting to feel better, though, so hopefully I can make some real progress before my trip to the States for Christmas. I've extended my trip to include a visit to the Fulbright archives again--staying for two weeks this time and hoping I'll be able to find enough material to make my thesis into a publishable monograph. My old deadline for the final revised version was June 2015, but now with the new archival material being added and whole sections being rewritten, I'm hoping to submit my first revised draft in March/April 2015.

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