Posts

How to get unstuck and enjoy your work despite high pressure & workload?

It has been 1,5 years since Dane successfully got his PhD. Seen on the surface, he appears to be doing great. He has several short term teaching positions and is even creating some consulting business directly from his PhD research. This is quite remarkable, because direct valorization of research is quite rare for a PhD in the Humanities. His former supervisor is confident that his career will turn out allright. The university is happy because Dane’s official status is ‘employed’.

But Dane is not happy with his situation at all. Read more

Transitioning into a career after your Humanities PhD – Or how to create an Alt-Ac Philosophical Company

“What are you going to do with your degree in philosophy?” Every philosophy student sooner or later hears this cliché question. And it is not unfamiliar in other fields from Humanities and fundamental sciences. The stakes are even higher after a PhD in said disciplines. Your slim chances at work appear narrowed down to the academic job market. But statistics are compelling: more than 75% of recent PhD holders do not find academic employment. Go figure.

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How to trigger researchers with blinkers into action

“How can I increase the mobility of ‘my’ employed researchers? How do I get them to act proactively? What would you advise”, Yvette asks when I tell her that I help early career researchers with questions about life and career. We are standing in line after the inaugural lecture of Judith Semeijn, Noloc professor of strategic human resource management.  Read more

How to know when it is time to quit your PhD

Since last summer the situation in Claudio’s lab deteriorated rapidly. His supervisor became stressed and anxious when his case for tenure was denied. The pressure on the entire team is now enormous, even to academic standards. Every Sunday Claudio feels this pit in his stomach when he thinks about the weekly team meeting on Monday. His sleep and digestive system are in total disorder. Read more

What Plato can teach you about perfectionism and academic career planning

“I don’t know if I want to be a group leader. If I do this, I want to be a good PI, you know. I just am a perfectionist.” At a brisk pace, Rose walks next to me through the spring forest. A few months ago, she got her PhD in the life sciences, cum laude, and started a prestigious postdoc shortly after. All signs point to a successful career as an excellent research leader. But she hesitates, looking around doubtfully.

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How academic excellence resembles a singing horse

Review of a socratic dialogue about excellence

What is excellence? How do we detect it? Can we strive for it? Should we strive for it? “The Singing Horse” (“Het Zingende Paard”) is the report of a socratic dialogue on the notion of excellence between Jeroen Geurts, professor of neuroscience and member of the Dutch Young Academy, and Harm van der Gaag, philosophical counselor. The notion of excellence holds the key to many doors in academia, but is not as self-evident as it is often made to seem…
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How mindset and personal attitude influence your employability

Experts on sustainable employability of university employees assume that you are responsible as an individual employee for consciously shaping your own career, while the university as employer should facilitate and support you in this endeavor. This implicit hypothesis emerged in an expert meeting about a research report by dr. Judith Semeijn and prof. dr. Tinka van Vuuren on sustainable employability of university employees.*

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How to get a clue what you can do with your PhD

So you (nearly) got a PhD in the humanities or social sciences. You probably always envisioned a scholarly future for yourself within academia, so you never gave much thought to other options for possible careers. But then reality dawns and academic careers appear not only highly competitive, but also extremely scarce and not necessarily won on the grounds of scholarly merit. Or you have tried and found the academic route was not as desirable or fitting after all. In short: you have to adjust your long held vision and plans. Where to start?

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