Transition Q & A: Melissa Dalgleish

This is one you’re definitely going to want to read! Melissa Dalgleish is a regular contributor to Hook & Eye, an ABD in English from York University, and a research officer in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at same. Here’s an excerpt:

What do you do now?

I’m a research officer at York University, one of about a dozen (including Jamie Pratt, who did a Transition Q&A for you a couple of years ago). However, my job is a bit different from that of the dozen other research officers at York, because I support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in research-related activities, rather than faculty members. I coordinate all of our scholarship and fellowship competitions, develop applications for major grants and awards, oversee graduate research that requires ethics approval or intellectual property agreements, and coordinate graduate research and professional skills events and programs, including the Three Minute Thesis competition and our Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) program.

Read the full Q & A over at University Affairs.

The “dream job”

I’ve been thinking about this trope or myth, the way I used to talk about the academic job market, as if there was a “dream job” out there waiting for me to get it. I don’t think that way anymore about work, and certainly not about academic work. The result is my latest post on University Affairs. Here’s how it begins:

Last week a Twitter contact asked me, “Would you ever go back to academia if your dream job opened up?” We both knew he meant a university faculty position, tenure-track. We knew this because talk of a “dream job” is common among graduate students and PhDs on the academic job market. For me, now, the question was jarring because I don’t think about the academic job market at all these days, unless it’s to empathize and lament in solidarity with friends and colleagues. In fact, I told him, I am doing my dream job right now! I have zero interest in working as a professor, I added.

Do read the rest, here.

This spreadsheet keeps me honest

My latest blog post for University Affairs is about how I track what I spend, and how knowing what’s going out motivates good spending habits. Here’s how it begins:

Ten years ago, when I started my PhD at the University of Toronto, I began tracking every penny (R.I.P.) I spent. I can’t remember what motivated me to do this, other than the knowledge that I’d now have to pay rent and buy my own groceries out of my fellowship and teaching assistant income; previously, I’d lived with my parents. I’m still tracking my spending now. I know exactly what my life costs.

Read the rest of this post on my UA blog, here.

Download my spreadsheet here: Monthly expenditures

Recognizing your own good work is hard!

My latest blog post for University Affairs is a reflection on success, achievement, and our human tendency to focus on the negative. Here’s how the post begins:

“How’s business?” I was asked this by a fellow panelist at an event I recently participated in. “Good!” I responded, and then added my usual caveat: “I’m not yet covering my expenses but I’m getting there.” Reflecting on this now, I want to go back in time and change my answer. Why? TBU. This acronym (thanks Ian) stands for “true but useless.” I let one of my inner critics speak for me.

Read the rest here!

Transition Q & A: Kelly J. Baker

Meet Kelly, a religion PhD and scholar who’s been an adjunct and now is building up a career as a freelance writer. Here’s a bit of her story:

Now, I’m building my career as a freelance writer while also wrangling a wise beyond her years five-year old and a laid back one-year old. I’m trying to shift my writing from part-time to full-time work, which is a slow process with a bit of a learning curve. Yet, I learn more about the business of writing every day. Writing is a business, and I hope more academics start to realize this too. Writing should be paid for, not given away for free.

For the full post, head over to University Affairs.

Learning is my priority

It’s difficult to divide one’s attentions, especially among several significant projects. In my latest post for University Affairs I relate how my focus must be on my coach training, and update you on my progress. Here’s how the post begins:

Earlier this month I completed the coaching supervision course. It started in the spring, and consisted of biweekly 90-minute classes and six 1-on-1 sessions with the supervising coach. The individual sessions involved listening to one of my own coaching calls, followed by me receiving feedback on my coaching, with an eye toward passing the Professional Certified Coach exam and receiving this credential from the International Coach Federation.

Read the rest here.

Making a big change? Start small, be kind to yourself

Today’s post on University Affairs is a reflection on the nature of change and how we can best set ourselves up for success.

When it comes to making changes in your life, start small. It’s all well and good to decide to exercise regularly, take up a vegan diet, or write for two hours every day. But if doing so means a significant departure from your current routine, you’re unlikely to succeed unless you take things one step at a time.

Go read the rest here!

Dealing with inner critics

One of the most important jobs I have as a coach is to recognize, point out, and help my clients deal with their inner critics.

Noticing and coming up with a strategy to deal with inner critics is an important part of coaching. We all have these “gremlins” messing with our lives. They are there to protect us, but we rarely need this protection. We are all much stronger than our inner critics think we are. Here’s how inner critic work played out during one recent coaching session.

Head over to University Affairs to read the rest of this post!

Don’t shy away from informational interviews

I’ve just come from a virtual event hosted by Versatile PhD Boston all about informational interviews and networking. Fun! Anyways, earlier today I wrote this piece about informational interviews, and it’s now posted on my University Affairs blog. You’ll see that I make a distinction between informational interviews and networking proper. Here’s a chunk from the middle:

Conducting these interviews provide career explorers with wonderful, first-hand, up-to-date information about the world of work. When you ask someone for an informational interview, chances are that person knows what to expect: that you will ask questions about his or her professional life. The benefit you as the interviewer provides is being a curious, active listener. In my experience, professionals value the chance to give advice to someone outside their field or who are just starting their career, as well as reflect upon what they do. Your interviewees will likely expect you to be unsure of where you’re going, work-wise, which makes these meetings less stressful. Don’t let uncertainty keep you from reaching out.

Read the full post here!

Transition Q & A: Andrew Miller

This summer I met Andrew Miller and talked to him about his transition from history PhD and sessional instructor (read: adjunct) to public servant and soon-to-be Strategic Leader for the City of Mississauga, Canada’s sixth most populous municipality (thank you, Wikipedia). He’s thrilled about his move and proud of the work he’s done over the past 8 years with the Ontario government. Andrew knows that PhDs have what it takes to succeed in the non-academic world, and gives some great tips in this Q & A post.

Here’s a bit of what he wrote:

What was your first post-PhD job?

If we exclude the sessional work, my first post-PhD job was working as a junior policy analyst for the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure. It might be worth explaining how I got that job: following my epiphany that this was a line of work I wanted to get into, I consulted with an old friend from undergrad days who was a civil servant. He in turn set me up with an informational interview with another civil servant who also held a PhD. He introduced me to what the life would be like. At his suggestion, I applied for an entry-level job that was advertised in the newspaper. It took two interviews and a lengthy test, but I got the position.

Read the full Q & A over at University Affairs!