Posts

What am I about?

Some weeks ago my article “Create Your Future” appeared in Pandora, a magazine for the women network of Utrecht University. On their biennial network day I provided a workshop on how to balance professional and personal images while profiling yourself as a professional scientist using social media that require a more personal perspective. The main challenge that we tackled that day is to find an overall fitting answer to the question: what are you about?

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How to write for newspapers as a PhD candidate

The workshop that I organized yesterday with Platform Hooft was a huge success. Over 30 PhD candidates in the humanities got a hands-on training in writing opinion articles from well known Dutch newspaper editors Chris Rutenfrans, Jaffe Vink, Derk Walters and Anouk van Kampen. They learned how to grab their readers’ fleeting attention and get their well-informed point of view across. If you understand Dutch and would like to know what feedback, tips and tricks they received, I invite you to read my piece on the workshop over at Platform Hooft. If you don’t read Dutch and still want to know the tricks: ask away and I might find time to translate it.

The effect of personality on labour market success

A successful transition from education to the labour market affects careers later in life, but what role do personality characteristics play in making this transition? In the recruitment process of highly educated professionals personality features are an increasingly dominant factor, besides the more obvious requirements of specific competences, specialist knowledge, and cognitive abilities.

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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.

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Lessons from the past

In September 2010 I defended my thesis on Stoic philosophy and this summer the journal Mnemosyne published my summary announcement in their section Dissertationes Batavae. Needless to say I’m quite proud, but also it feels very strange to encounter work from the past again in this way: it partly seems to come from a different world. Two years ago, I could not imagine being where I am now. Finishing my thesis was a struggle. How I would have loved to know some of the things I know now!

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Apollo’s advice for PhD’s reflecting on their career

The number of PhD candidates increases whereas career possibilities within universities decrease (cf. Nature 2011 on “The PhD Factory“). Still, most PhD candidates have a strongly research oriented perspective on their career after obtaining their PhD, especially in the social sciences and humanities the primary focus is on a future in academia. How can doctorate holders develop a more realistic view and preparation on their career options and whose responsibility is this anyway? This was the starting point of a very interesting debate on doctoral careers in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany in which I recently participated at the Rathenau Institute.

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