End of my fourth year…what have I learned?!

It’s coming up to the end of my fourth year working in the history department at MMU and I can’t believe where the time has gone! They say that ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ and that is certainly true, although there’s been a lot of hard work along the way!

Next week you’ll find a new author on this blog, who is at the start of his academic career talking about the issues facing junior scholars today. I am moving on to a new blog for jobs.ac.uk on my specialist subject area of American History: if you’d like to visit my new blog, click here.

I wanted to finish my last post for Just Higher-Ed with a few thoughts on the important issues over the last four years. The vulnerable and sometimes abused position of part-time and temporary staff in the sector has been a recurring theme as was academics having to justify how hard their jobs actually are. The challenges of balancing a full teaching load with demands of research has been another often discussed issue.

The increasingly competitive nature of the job market both here and overseas has also been a source of concern but there have also been bright spots as our department has made several permanent and part time hires in the last few years, so the job market hasn’t stagnated completely.

One lesson I wanted to pass on is that if you have had to do several years of ‘adjunct’ teaching, you will probably find that moving to a permanent job is easier in some ways and more challenging in others. However, if you have friendly colleagues and teach a subject that you love without too much interference from the powers that be, within the first couple of years you’ll establish yourself, fitting your work into the yearly academic cycle with no trouble. Best of luck to all you jobseekers out there: your dream job is just around the corner!


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.

One Response to End of my fourth year…what have I learned?!

  1. Kuchal Das says:

    Hi , I am looking for a Academic job in UK, I have completed M.Sc in Information Technology with First class . I am in a dilemma regarding the approach I will be taking as after reading the article you wrote on stating ” Moving abroad: Relocating from the US to UK” ,I got a lot of information to assist me in the next move. However as I am completely novice in this business, requesting you to guide me in this ..How to start my career on academic role ?

    Thanks in Advance
    Kuchal Das

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