Six Months on the Job Market

Six (and a half) months have passed since my PhD viva.

It’s been a weird old time. I’ve been sitting at my desk, Monday to Friday, getting on with an ever-changing to-do list: applying for jobs and research fellowships, writing a book proposal, revising a journal article draft. There’s always been one deadline or another around the corner.

I’ve had mixed success with these endeavours. I was longlisted for one position and interviewed for another, but I haven’t hit any kind of job jackpot so far. My application spreadsheet informs me that I’ve applied for 14 academic positions since August. Rejections are never fun, but none have come as a surprise. The competition out there is fierce.

However, I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by the generosity of those I’ve encountered while applying for things. Multiple selection committees have offered detailed feedback on my applications, and several kind people (some of whom I’ve never met) shared with me their successful cover letters, statements, CVs, and research proposals. I can definitely recommend joining an ECR Facebook group to get help with all silly questions, and asking mentors and friends for advice/pep talks when needed. I’m looking forward to paying the generosity forward when I can.

In happier news, I’ve made some exciting progress on the publication front. My book proposal was successful: Bloomsbury will be publishing a revised version of my thesis in 2022. I was also lucky to have a great experience with the journal I submitted my article to (Shakespeare Bulletin). The reader reports were detailed and constructive, and I had all the editorial support I needed to turn a Revise & Resubmit into an acceptance.

So, in sum, it’s been a time of good days and bad days. The good days have been great. The bad days have been painful, but made better by the people around me. And chocolate. And sometimes gin.

My next few months will probably be a continuation of this post-PhD emotional rollercoaster. I’ll carry on applying for jobs and fellowships alongside editing my thesis into book form. I’m not entirely sure yet what the thesis-to-book editing process will be like, but I shall report back in due course. I have begun in characteristic Ella style, with colourful post-its and a new whiteboard setup:

I’ll also be doing some freelance writing work (it’s about time all this writing experience started earning its keep), drinking lots of tea, and going out for plenty of walks around my local area.

That should keep me busy for the time being.

Here’s to a brand new year!