Endings and beginnings

I might start by answering my last question. Things started to get better, or different at least, about 2 weeks after my last post. After falling into a heap I headed to Hobart for my mother’s birthday and while there I gave myself a metaphoric slap and decided to get moving at finding post-PhD work regardless of results. I rewrote my resume and started reaching out to contacts.

Two days later my results came through.

They were pretty much as expected, if a little better. Theoretically there were minor changes to do, but editing wise I was thoroughly spanked. I can’t disagree, as it really was a bit of a mess. In retrospect I should have put the thesis down for 2 months, gone off on holiday, returned and rewritten it. Convincing myself to do this, however, would have been a challenge.

It took about 5 weeks to address all my feedback, then it was all signed off in 24hours. Now, 3weeks later, I’m awaiting official conferral of my degree. Then, after 4 years, I will be Dr Goodwin.

What next?

Well I’ve agreed to a few research projects at Deakin, not really providing the income I’d like, but interesting nonetheless. Who knows where they will lead academically. My reaching out to my old HR sector has proven frustrating, as though the initial response was positive when I’ve actually tried to get work I’m treated like my last 6years in the arts and academia were a stint in either a coma or jail. Somehow the 15 years of work experience I have was not enhanced by a PhD, but eradicated.

Academically, on the other hand I am still massively under qualified. Even with 2 years of masters level teaching, without publications and a local record I can’t get a look in as a tutor here. In the past 6months I’ve been rejected for more jobs than I have in the rest of my life. It is a humbling experience. There’s a blog post on Thesis Whisperer today that also speaks to this challenge.

I vacillate between anger, frustration and the desire to forge a new path. That new path may involve writing a book, ideally non-academic, developing some consulting projects and a bit of academic research and writing. And learning to sew. For now I’m drafting a book proposal, some journal articles and meeting with organisational design/effectiveness consultants to learn. I keep one eye on the job market and another open to research roles. I am trying to enjoy the freedom, not getting bogged down with the fear of unemployment.

The PhD has changed me, partly for the good but also it has made me much more critical of things. As much as I’d like a real salary again, I’m not sure I’m really the corporate person I was 10 years ago (and I wasn’t particularly corporate then.)

Is this my last post? PhD 2017 has been achieved but the journey is not over yet. Instead of taking this down I think I’ll check in periodically to let people know what life post-PhD looks like. I may include my new website (under construction) and book ideas. Feel free to ask any questions.