An Update (or, I’ve been away because…)

I’ve been meaning to write an update for this blog for about two months, but I’m worried.

Just over a year ago, I started writing for the Post-PhD blog because I looked around for someone writing about the position I was in – an unemployed academic still actively seeking full-time academic employment – and I couldn’t find anyone. So I bit the bullet and volunteered for the job.

A lot of things have happened in the last year, including writing probably my most strongly received blog post ever (that post about how I felt when I didn’t get a job I interviewed for!). But recently something quite incredible happened, and I wasn’t quite sure how to tell you.

I got a full-time academic job. It’s a 12-month contract position, in a department I really like, and it’s really fantastic. I’m still actually job-hunting though because I know that the cycle never ends. Only now I’m thinking about permanent jobs.

I realised that the most difficult thing about this has been dealing with success. Dealing with failure is something that we get quite good at as academics (plus, failing at something gives me an excuse to watch Once Were Warriors and feel powerful in my emotional and actual destituteness). But, when everyone you know is going for the same tiny pool of jobs and fellowships then there is a certain unwillingness to share good news. I know people who applied for my job. I know people who interviewed for my job. That’s difficult to deal with. Particularly because I’m acutely aware of the pain that job-related failure brings on – it hurts me to know that someone else hurt about something I celebrated.

I don’t really know how to deal with this, so I asked on Twitter for people to respond to a survey on my website about what I called ‘survivor guilt’. I am still compiling the responses, but I will post here about what the outcome is. You can contribute here if you would like.

I am now adjusting to life as a Teaching Fellow. And commuting from the city where I live to the city where I work (you can watch my most recent weekly vlog to get a sense of what that’s like!)

And I want to continue to post on this blog – and will continue to talk about self-care (if you missed it, I outed myself as having type 1 bipolar recently), employment, job applications, teaching, and all the other things that academia has to throw up for the early career academic.

So thanks for coming along on that part of my journey, and I hope you enjoy the next part too.

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About Ellie Mackin

Ellie is a Teaching Fellow in Ancient History at the University of Leicester. Her current research focuses on ‘embeddedness’ in early Greek religion. Ellie completed her BA(Hons) and MA at Monash University, in Australia, before moving to the UK for her PhD at King's College London (2015). She tweets @elliemackin.

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