New Year, New Challenges?

Having enjoyed a complete break over the Christmas period, it’s now time to turn back towards work and think about what future has to offer. The New Year naturally brings two priorities for many people: consolidation and innovation.

Part of the problem with working in academia is that you often end up with lots of small projects on your plate: perhaps given to you by your line manager at the university, but more often deriving from your collaborations with other scholars or with involvement in learned sociaties.  New Year is a good time to take a look at your portfolio of jobs and think ‘am I working smart, or just working hard?’ If there are roles that no longer fulfil you, or that you have outgrown, then find a way to give them to someone else, perhaps a scholar at the start of his or her career.

This process of consolidation can leave you with room for developing new projects, and that’s the really exciting part of your New Year planning. What can you achieve this year? Perhaps a new job or a promotion? Publication of your research?  Or getting that funding award?  It’s important to have this period of spring cleaning because otherwise your job can stagnate and become monotonous. It encouragesd you not to take the job for granted: despite all the problems, being an academic is fantastic after all!


About Catherine Armstrong

Dr Catherine Armstrong is a Senior Lecturer in History at Manchester Metropolitan University, specialising in North American History. She is a former teaching fellow in History at the University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University. Catherine was also Director of Historical Studies in the Open Studies department at the University of Warwick. Her first book ‘Writing North America in the Seventeenth Century’ was published by Ashgate in June 2007. As a long-time jobseeker for an academic role herself, Catherine is in a unique position to understand and offer her knowledge and experience to those developing an academic career.

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