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PhD and full time job

(23 Posts)
WeDONTneedanotherhero Fri 14-Aug-15 20:20:34

I currently work in the child sexual exploitation field. The university I went to for my degree has been part funded for a PhD looking a cse and race. The head of department has contacted me and asked if I would be interested in this as it's the subject I completed my dissertation on. Completing a cse PhD was always my goal but my collegue thinks I'm bonkers to do it and says to wait for a few years as I would need to keep working full time.

So I'm asking a I completely mad to go for it as I know juggling ft work, children and a PhD is going to be brutal.

Nolim Fri 14-Aug-15 20:26:12

In my field(stem) completing a phd is a full time job, but that includes an assistanship. Not sure how that works in your field.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WeDONTneedanotherhero Fri 14-Aug-15 20:38:47

I have 5 years to complete it which makes me feel a little better

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WeDONTneedanotherhero Fri 14-Aug-15 21:07:46

Home support is pretty good. DH is very pro me doing my PhD as is MIL (she looks after the children whilst we both work) so that side of it isn't stressing me too much. It's the physical hours in a day stuff that makes me worry

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BarbarianMum Fri 14-Aug-15 22:42:07

Would you/your work consider you going down to 4 days a week whilst you do this? Or could you save and take block or 2 of unpaid leave at key 'pinch' points - that would really help.

A friend of mine has just successfully combined full time job, family and PhD but it's been really hard on her, especially this last year.

WeDONTneedanotherhero Sat 15-Aug-15 08:40:43

I'm thinking the four days will be key to managing this. I've got a meeting with university at the end of the month to talk through everything.

Auriga Sat 15-Aug-15 08:50:44

Does 'part funded' mean that they can fund you to do it part-time? Whilst still doing your job part-time? If so, that would be six years (or pro rata) rather than three.

Would you still be on the same salary? Still be expected to do on-call?

Sounds tough, think you need exact information about what the funding would cover and for how long.

Good luck

NeedSpeed Sat 15-Aug-15 08:54:51

If they can fund you part time - why can't they fund you full time?

Can you reduce your work to 3 days a week? And work on the PhD 2 days a week? Is that an option?

I wouldn't do it unless I had two full solid days to work on the PhD.

WeDONTneedanotherhero Sat 15-Aug-15 11:46:24

The PhD fees will be paid and I get a couple of hundred pounds towards attending conferences. Rather than being able to be paid to do it which is why I will need to work.

I'm reluctant to cut too many days at work because I love what I do and it keeps me focused on why I am doing this.

NeedSpeed Sat 15-Aug-15 14:21:01

Do you have experience and understanding of research methodology, and what you propose to use?

If you do, then you might be ok. If not, I wouldn't do it, unless you can negotiate a part time PhD studentship (payment towards living costs) and part time work.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Booboostwo Sat 15-Aug-15 20:06:01

I used to teach health care professionals and social workers returning to education to do a DMedEth which is basically a supported PhD, all part time. The first two years almost everyone did very well as we had set courses with teaching blocks and shorter assignments, all developing research skills including writing a thesis outline. I cannot emphasise enough how much effort we all put in to prepare the students for the second part which was a 60,000 word thesis. Despite all the preparation a large percentage dropped out during the second stage. The thesis requires an enormous amount of will power. It is easy to let the lengthy deadline lull you into a false sense of security which then turns into a feeling of futility and despare as time goes by and you have not done any work.

The people who were most successful were academics as they incorporated the research into their working day. If you want to do this I would strongly advise you to take one day off work and dedicate it to the PhD come hell or high water. You will be tempted to do work, or deal with family problems, or just have a break but you must be tough on yourself and always work in the thesis on the PhD day. Also work on writing; it is easy to get carried away with the reading, get out of the habit of writing and then feel overwhelmed by the material and unable to find an entry point into the discussion.

shovetheholly Mon 17-Aug-15 16:22:26

I think it depends a lot on the nature of the project. Some PhDs are much easier to complete than others (though none is 'easy')!.

Completing a quantitative study where you can formulate very defined research questions and collect data during the working week is going to be a lot more manageable that writing something that is heavily philosophical/theoretically focused which requires a hell of a lot of very difficult reading.

JeanneDeMontbaston Mon 17-Aug-15 22:15:40

I think it's incredibly hard. I know buffy did it, but I don't know how she managed. My full-time PhD took me well over 4 years, and I was still a wreck at the end. I'd love to say I'm just a bit useless, but I don't think I'm unusual TBH.

What happens if you don't complete in time? Is there a system for going full-time and giving up the job, or for extending the PhD? If you have that flexibility, then I think it's quite tempting. If not, it'd be a huge pressure on you.

shovetheholly Tue 18-Aug-15 13:15:12

I don't want to derail the thread... but I was wondering: do people feel that doing a PhD is harder for a woman than a man?

I think it was harder for me as a woman, but that may have something to do with the institution where I was studying which was most definitely the wrong place for me to be at the time. They took a distinctly macho attitude to the whole thing: I was basically told - "You've got a pen, get to the British Library, and we will see you in 3 years". I had about 6 supervisions through the whole process, my supervisor vanished half way through to write a book about stalking someone (yes, really). I almost had a nervous breakdown trying to write all my research up without any guidance, and my supervisor didn't deign to read the final draft, but did tell me that he suspected I would fail. Despite the fact that I passed first time with no corrections, with glowing comments from both examiners, what I remember was his skepticism.

I was young (23 when I finished) and shy and when I was at staff meetings, I got comments like "Do students have frat parties now? I would LOVE to see shove at a frat party". (Yep, this was actually said, out loud, in front of the entire staff). I had formerly worked as a model, and shots of me in underwear campaigns were circulated around the department. I once found them pinned outside a classroom in which I was teaching, and had to walk in knowing all the undergraduates (only a few years younger than me at the time) had seen them. I felt so humiliated and demeaned by the whole thing, yet I took it because I thought that's what the world 'was like'. My male colleague explained to me that I was 'supposed' to be flattered by this. sad

I experienced a lot of incredibly articulate and self-confident men who behaved as if they were born to hold the floor. If you wanted to disagree with them, you had to be prepared to battle through a host of belittling tactics all of which were designed to preserve their ego. I think this was partly class (everyone from my cohort was from a selective school except me) but also gender. I felt like I completely lacked what I most needed, which was a more senior woman to hold my hand and say 'You got here on merit, and you deserve your place. Now get out there, and have some confidence in your voice'.

To be honest, I'm now 37 and I'm only just recovering from the whole thing to feel that I do have a right to publish and to speak out. I've lost over 10 years in which I've felt shit about myself. When I left I worked in crap, menial jobs for a couple of years because I didn't feel I had a right to do anything else. I gradually fell into being quite an interventionist editor, essentially rewriting other people's academic papers for them so that they could take the credit for my voice. It was only after years of doing this that I started to realise that maybe, just maybe the fact that I could take a very senior person's work and rehash it completely to make it a lot better meant that I could probably write for myself. I'm still struggling with the whole 'having a voice' thing, but I have now started to publish and I have no intention of shutting up!

Booboostwo Tue 18-Aug-15 13:30:08

shove I can't speak for all women but my experience couldn't have been more different than yours. For starters it sounds like you had an awful supervisor. Did he neglect all his students equally or do you think he ignored you in particular because you were a woman? Nowadays most unis have tighter guidelines in place, e.g. Set number of meetings with serves or per year, progress reports, second supervisor, more opportunities to raise concerns about progress on both sides.

Your treatment when working there sounds absolutely appalling. A very clear case for sexual harassment and I am sorry these people were never brought to task for what they did to you. I have not come across anything similar but it sounds like an institutionalised attitudes that needed major interventions to change.

SunshineAndShadows Tue 18-Aug-15 13:40:24

I'm doing a social science PhD part time - I have 1 day per week and work the other 4 . It's very hard and I work in academia and graduated in one of the most competitive fields in the UK. Prepare to lose weekends and evenings - you have to be very disciplined

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

shovetheholly Tue 18-Aug-15 14:14:33

thanks booboos. I am glad other women haven't had the same experience. My supervisor went completely off the rails - had something close to some kind of breakdown, brought on by partying constantly after a move to London. I think you're right that it is more formalised now - DH is an academic and would never be allowed to neglect a student like that (not that he'd dream of doing so anyway). At this particular institution, the attitude was that it OUGHT to be a struggle, and that there was something ignoble if you weren't basically on your knees by the end. The problem was, they were all fortified by the confidence of first rate educations (and in the arts and humanities, things like knowing Greek and Latin are seen as part of the intellectual wallpaper that you're just supposed to have), whereas I came from a comprehensive where if you got a C or above in Business Studies you were considered a brainiac. The fact that I had academic results to equal any of them didn't seem to matter to my critical inner voice telling me I didn't 'fit'. grin

Buffy - to have completed a PhD with all of those other things going on means that without question you're resilient and a really tough cookie who has more than earned her stripes. So why do you think you're losing confidence - are there specific triggers, or it is a more general malaise? Is it an unsupportive environment/boss/pressures of publication/devaluation of your research? (Please do feel free to PM me if you're uncomfortable talking about specifics on the boards!). It's horrible when your faith in yourself starts to shake, because there are so many things in academia that can appear to confirm that perception. It's such an unusual career in that respect.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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