I was planning on following up on a suggestion made on my last post, but something happened to me yesterday that has become more urgent.
I've got an interview next week for a research position with a not-for-profit organisation.
So this all sounds good right? 5 weeks in to my non-academic job search and I am getting interviews. (actually I had some interviews last year too, long before I really committed to the job search, so I should be hopeful that it's just a matter of time).
Yet all last night I was consumed with anxiety about whether or not this was the right course for me. (NB: they actually haven't offered me the job yet, I know).
My thought patterns went something like this:
- "oh my god - I would have to commute!" (only an hour, but still, for someone used to working from home this is a challenge)
-"would I ride my scooter or catch the train?" (hourse of fun figuring out +ves and -ves, traffic or new bigger bike versus reading time and length of journey)
- "The salary is way less than what I would get at my level if I was employed full-time as an aca" (academic salaries are actually really high here - if you're lucky enough to get a full-time job, that is. See my earlier post about 50% of university staff being employed on a contingent basis)
- "but there are tax adavantages to working for a charitable organisation" (get out the calculator)
- "how would I fit in workout time?" (not that much of a crisis, I admit, but still, requires thought - a healthy body = a healthy mind. Most important for morale maintaining in stressful times)
and then the really big clincher:
- "this would really mean leaving academia behind. Am I ready for that?"
Cue panic stations and awful butterfly feelings. I couldn't even laugh out loud at 'Wipeout', one of my all time favourite TV shows because it is so ridiculously funny watching people fall off really stupid obstacles. Kind of like 'Funniest Home Videos' although funnier.
Anyway, I digress.
To summarise my position: despite spending every day writing job applications for non-academic jobs for weeks, I finally have an interview for a great position, but am now doubting whether this is the path I really want to take.
I started thinking: maybe I should keep working part-time so that I can write more articles in my spare time. This is also in part prompted by a senior colleague and mentor offering to get me an unpaid gig at the institution they work at so that I have an institutional address and library access. And also the fact that in the middle of a period of non-sleep last week I came up with some new article ideas for the project that I started at the end of last year that was meant to get me the next position.
But am I being ridiculous? Is a few more articles and another year of job insecurity really the answer? Or should I just get on with it and accept that there are plenty of great jobs available with more job insecurity and better benefits and that I don't have to keep treading water in the hope that one day I will get that elusive full-time aca role?