Soul searching

by Lilia Efimova on 1 April 2009

While going through the hard times of finishing my PhD dissertation I joked about the time after it, suggesting that I might go into the symptoms similar to the people who retire and don’t know what to do with their life then. Well, I should know better what to joke about :)

Now, waiting for the PhD committee to react on my work and preparing for the PhD defense I see shrunken horizons expand: once the PhD is in the past and I’m free to do whatever I want to do, what that would be?

There are multiple parts to it. The first one is about the place for work in my life. As I read The 4-Hour Workweek or The Family Sabbatical Handbook I keep wondering how to combine the work I want to do with all other things I want to do as well. And, following parenting parts of the blogoshpere brings enough examples of alternative work-life balance scenarios that are family-centred (e.g. the one of Angelina Hart that travels the world with her daughters and produces The Little Travellers DVDs).

The second part is about work. When I started the PhD I didn’t want to be a researcher, but wanted time and space for a research-based practice: being able to reflect, to explore conceptual world behind what happens day-to-day and then bring those insights back to work. What I didn’t realise that once you do a PhD you become a researcher :)

So now I’m torn between thinking of an academic career or of one of a practitioner. Of course it’s possible to live in both worlds at the same time, but as any other case of brokering it’s hard work (that comes with it’s own occupational hazards :)))

Finally, there are all those interesting topics to explore…

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Sylvie 1 April 2009 at 14:22

I think it’s a normal process to go through a sort of mourning period after your Ph.D. is finished. It is the center of the student’s world for so long, taking up time not just during the day but during the evenings and weekends, and then, poof! it’s gone! I know I felt a loss afterwards.

However, it does pass eventually, especially once you’ve gotten into a new rhythm of life.

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