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Advice on professional moving to lecturer / part time PhD post

(10 Posts)
TeachingPostQuery Tue 12-Jul-16 20:12:53

NCed in case this identifies me.

I've been in a professional position in finance for almost 10 years, since I graduated. I enjoy my job and like my colleagues but I'm starting to feel a bit bored by the actual work and concerned at the future prospects for my part of the industry.

I've been approached by a former colleague who now works as a lecturer on the undergraduate course relating to our profession (exemptions towards qualification etc). They had advertised for another lecturer but had no applicants (or no suitable ones) and he has asked me to apply.

It would be a teaching post, but I would have to do a part time PhD. DH is an academic (but research focussed, no teaching) so I have an idea of what the PhD would entail. I'm up for that part, especially as it would be a great way to add to my skillset professionally.

I don't know much about teaching posts, so I suppose I'm looking for advice from anyone who has done something similar - how did you find the move from the private sector to teaching? I've never done any teaching, I know it's hard and time consuming. But how can I know if I would enjoy it?!

Also, any insight into the hiring process would be great - I'm meeting my former colleague and the Prof who runs the degree for lunch in a few days.

An additional complication is that DH and I are hoping to start TTC any day now (waiting to get a medical issue sorted). I'm not willing to put that on hold for any job as starting to feel that time is not on our side, but the idea of going on ML so soon after starting a new post doesn't sit well with me. But if I decide this is the move for me, I have to take it, right?

Any thoughts on any of the above very welcome! flowers

TeachingPostQuery Wed 13-Jul-16 11:41:09

Just bumping for the daytime crowd...

familyfarm Wed 13-Jul-16 15:15:20

I don't think you should worry about ML. Academia is generous with ML and flexible, which means it's better for childcare.

I would want to know:
Is the lectureship post a permanent position?
Is your PhD funded and would you be paid to do your PhD?
Is the PhD compulsory to do?

For the PhD, Dr Helen Kara has written a free e-book, I think it's called introduction to the PhD. It might be worthwhile reading it as it'll help you decide whether you feel up to doing a PhD.

Btw Do you have existing mental health problems? If you do, I would discourage you from doing a PhD, but that's my personal opinion.

I can't really help with the teaching part, I'm hoping someone else will. Best of luck whatever you decide.

TheWindInThePillows Thu 14-Jul-16 14:50:38

One thing that you haven't mentioned is salary- it's not just about what's comparable now, but the likely progression in the future. IMO academia is quite badly paid for your standard lectureship, although if you are somewhere like an MBA school, there may be much better pay available, there's also a lot of short-term very badly paid contracts, so don't take anything like that.

A part-time PhD will take a long time (six years) so if you have children as well during this time, you are looking at basically a decade before you are Dr so and so and are likely to move onto the next step career-wise.

Also, think about whether you would want to 'just' teach or do academic research, teaching posts tend to be very heavy on the teaching, and light on the research side, which would be your PhD anyway. You don't want to end up with a huge full time teaching load and doing your PhD in your spare time with small children, it will be too much.

I would try to get informal opinions from those who actually do this job about the pitfalls/good things- your colleague and the head of dep't can't recruit, so to some extent they are a bit desperate and will spin it as ideal for you, on the other hand, this means they will be likely to be able to negotiate if you know what you want (more money, relief from teaching so you can prepare in the first term).

TeachingPostQuery Thu 14-Jul-16 19:13:57

Thanks both, very helpful.

I'm not too worried about the PhD aspect - I lived with DH for the duration of his and most of our friends did a PhD straight from college, so I think my eyes are as open on that one as it's possible to be without having actually done one myself.

It is very much a teaching post. My former colleague isn't doing the PhD - I don't think the department are too happy about that, so I would have to, but it's not the focus of the job and I don't think there's any obligation to continue a research career post PhD (one of my questions). I don't want both DH and I in research careers, constantly chasing funding! This is a permanent post, but with a long probation period.

The PhD is funded as part of the lecturer post.

Salary wise - I'll be getting a big bump any day in my current job so I envisage the salary for this post would be somewhere between my current salary and promoted salary. Which would be fine. Long term earnings would be significantly lower than the private sector. But I think the post may be more secure over the very very long term and open more options over the medium/long term. If that makes any sense. It would also be much more flexible (around the actual teaching hours, of course) than my current job which is an advantage since we're planning a family.

I think I'm talking myself into wanting the job, I'll be interested to see how the meeting goes. Any other advice on what I should be asking about?

Thanks again.

jclm Fri 15-Jul-16 09:25:48

My worry would be how you would fit a PhD into a full time teaching load? Part time PhDs are very difficult to do, they work better IMHO as full time. You say you don't have any experience of teaching, so will have to learn that side. The only way id take this is if they gave you only a few hours teaching a week and no admin until you've finished your PhD (eg six years or more). If you are planning a baby then add a year on to that at least.

In fact if you are planning a family, could you negotiate a three or four day week? This would make your life more bearable but would slow your progress right down. But most mums choose family harmony over career progression x

NeckguardUnbespoke Fri 15-Jul-16 09:32:10

I did a full-time funded PhD as a mature student and now have a teaching-mostly lecturing post. Doing a part-time PhD while teaching strikes me as very, very hard work.

dimples76 Mon 18-Jul-16 22:16:57

I moved from being a solicitor to a lecturer.

As regards the teaching have you done much public speaking? Probably not a great deal of demand at this point in the year but doing some guest lectures or seminars would be a useful way of testing the water.

I still have not started on my PhD - it is hard balancing career change, research, parenting - that said I am v glad about the change I made as I find my current role much more rewarding

TeachingPostQuery Sat 23-Jul-16 15:35:15

Thanks for all the replies. I've had an initial meeting, and been reassured that I would be eased into teaching and have a year to get up to speed with that before starting the PhD so I'm feeling better about the whole thing.

Dimples, I'm particularly interested in your experience - in what ways do you find the work more rewarding? I imagine the work would be a big change of pace for me - moving from mainly short term work to mainly long term. How did you find that aspect?

dimples76 Sat 23-Jul-16 23:10:26


Glad to hear that your meeting was positive.

I have to say that at the end of my first week as a lecturer I called my office phone with my mobile as I was convinced that it wasn't working! I think I did thrive on some of that pressure/panics/adrenaline rushes in professional practice but at other times it just made me stressed. I drove to work at 2am once as i was convinced that i had made a mistake on a file (I hadn't) - I have not had any experiences like that in academia!

The main reason I would say I find it more rewarding is to put it a its simplest level I like helping people learn. I especially get a lot of satisfaction from helping some of the students who struggle. One of my 2nd year students came to see me at the end of the year and said that I had helped him believe in himself and he was much more excited about the future now - that made me feel 100x better than completing a multi-million pound property deal. So as cheesy as it sounds i just feel that what I am doing is more worthwhile. Also my students (and colleagues) make me laugh much more than my clients ever did and I feel that I can be more creative.

Obviously being an academic comes with different pressures. What I would say though is that I feel much more in control of my time (other than battling with the timetablers) and can also plan ahead for the peak periods whereas when I was a lawyer I could be shutting down my computer at 7pm and get a call/email from a client demanding that a contract was prepared ready for the morning (no, I certainly don't miss those days!). I also think it is a lot more family friendly.

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