So I am not really a mid-career academic, but in a way it feels like I am because it seems that a PhD is early career academia, post PhD is mid-career academia, and as for late academia, who knows what that is?
Academia has so many nuances… I am sure all careers and organisations have their own quirks, I am however only privy to the academic ones. These quirks include the hierarchical structure in a university, the many many many levels of management, the Deans, the Research Deans, the teaching Deans, the associate Deans. Dean who works in IT… honestly how many Deans are there? Academia also has this odd way of requiring you to do a zillion things that are not technically part of your job, and are most definitely not included in your workload, but are required to secure future contracts and perhaps a chance at getting promotions.
The point of this rambling was not just to whine, but perhaps to put into context why many early and mid term academics have no freaking idea what is going on, and have even less idea about where they are going next. Do we want to keep teaching, do we want to apply for grants, do we want to go for promotions, if we do want to go for a promotion- which one do we want to go for? Do we want to aim for the stars (hello VC?), do we want to go to greener pastures…. I mean either the metaphorical greener pastures of industry, or the literal greener pastures of quitting and moving to the countryside.
Like many of my blog posts recently, I don’t have an answer to these questions. I don’t have a specific plan right now, although I do have some ideas about where I want to go and what I want to do, which I will post about eventually. However, I like to think that these types of posts will help other early to mid career academics know that if they don’t know what the duck they are doing. I am right there with them.