How not to talk about the future: mid-stage early career researcher here

As some of you know I am on a 3 year post doc. I am one month into year 3. I need to start talking about the future…but I can’t talk about the future.

Right now I have the best job in the universe. I am doing exactly what I want to be doing: researching the illicit antiquities trade in the wonderfully supportive environment that is the University of Glasgow. I love it here. I hope it continues. There is some indication that it will…but there is no assurance yet.

A bit more detail. This is my first job post-PhD (Cambridge, Archaeology. Officially awarded in 2012). I hold a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship and a Fulbright which has paid for fieldwork in Bolivia. I am typing all this because all that, I think, is pretty fancy. Also, I think it is important that other recent PhDs and Early Career Researchers (ECR) see that fancy things are not always a guarantee of solid employment. Before that string of luck, I was SUPER unemployed. Right now I feel I have some street cred but it is unclear what I can exchange that for.

Lemmie tell you, I:

  1. Write a lot.
  2. Come up with interesting ideas. All the time. Day. Night. Awake. Asleep.
  3. Can drink you under the table.
  4. Don’t mind sleeping in a tent.
  5. Like students a whole lot and am willing to teach them Archaeology? Anthropology? Heritage? Sociology? Whatever!
  6. Am renowned for my Lego prowess.

So who is hiring?

So, yes, in 11 months my grant ends, my visa runs out, and I am (?). Yet this is an unspeakable and I am terrified to publicize it. Why? First, I have a lot of confidence that the project I am on will find more funding and continue. We are remarkably rad. Trust me, you want us in the meetings we are in, gadflying for the right. You also want our research. And our website. Our website rules. We are applying for more money, I hope we will get it, and to raise any sort of fuss about my future when that kind of stuff is on the cards seems almost to be a break in ranks.

Yet…nothing is solid so I am ripping off that bandaid. If I don’t apply for what comes up, next September could hit and I will be out of my new flat (IT HAS A PASTRY MARBLE BUILT INTO THE COUNTER!!!!) and back onto the unemployed scene. This is an ECR stage that we rarely talk about: what do we do when our foot is in the door? I know what my ideal is (continued awesome here in Glasgow with who I work with now), but I can’t let time slip by me.

What’s an ECR to do? I don’t have answers yet.

I will say that you all should forward me opportunities as they arise. Also, I’ll be accepting all invitations to promote myself and add CV lines, so if you are looking for an awesome seminar or a paper on anything for your book or journal issue, drop me a line. I likely already have something half written since I don’t sleep. Collaboration? Sure. Let’s do it.

Ideas? Accepted.

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