Another perspective on two years since PhD thesis defense

My previous post focussed on feelings about your PhD thesis topic while you’re in the midst of writing as compared to when you’ve had the time to step back and widen your perspective of your specialist subject. I gave a personal example of what two years distance can mean for the relationship with your thesis topic. Now, I’d like to share with you the second part of my story since defending my PhD thesis. This part tells about the turn I took and the new road I began traveling, of which this blog and this website testify.

From a scholarly researcher who just obtained her PhD in Philosophy I changed into a life and career counselor. Yet, philosophy remained a constant factor throughout my work. This summer, De FilosooF, the journal of the department of Philosophy of Utrecht University, published my article about this in their column series “Graduated: now what?”. It has not yet appeared online, so I’ll share my own pdf copy. (Warning: it is in Dutch. Please let me know if I should free the time to translate it.)

Van academische discussie naar de kunst van het geleefde leven” — Claartje van Sijl

I share this story with you because I know how bewildering it can be if you are finishing your PhD to think about your next career step and start developing a strategy for giving direction to your life after the PhD, especially if you’re in humanities or social sciences. Hearing about how others did it makes it less scary and can give you some nice ideas for yourself as well. However, in saying so I absolutely do not wish to position myself as the perfect role model. Be warned: my way of doing this is far from perfect, and certainly does not have to be yours. Which striking and authentic career paths do you know PhD’s have taken? In which direction do your current thoughts lead you?

I enjoy your feedback! I’m especially interested in whether the type of information from this article would make you feel more comfortable thinking to maybe go to a counselor with your questions, or whether this type of information helps you decide which coach to hire if you’re comparing options.

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