As an international student who had then been granted a three-year work permit, I was ineligible for tri-council funding and had instead taken a part-time postdoc contingent on multiple grant funding in the faculty of dentistry at UBC, engaging in educational research in new and familiar ways.Throughout my three years there I also taught online for UBC and the University of Calgary, as well as took on other contracts to make up a full-time job.Finally, before I was invited for on-campus job interviews, I thoroughly researched how my academic work could benefit the community and the public, which the university is purported to serve. I had literally gone blank in the face of an onslaught of questions by the same people who had previously been my teachers and mentors.
This time, I was more secure in who I was and what I wanted, recognizing that I too could belong at the institution.
As I neared the end of my Ph D I was fortunate to secure a postdoctoral fellowship.
Near the end of the grueling day of interviews and presentations I was asked: what are some of your goals for your first year should you secure this position?
After listing my prepared remarks my exhausted mind let slip “…
and I want to work on developing a positive work-life balance.” One of the interviewers tilted her chair back and laughed saying, “There’s no such thing.” With that, I received an unexpected glimpse into the culture of the university that caused me to question if this was the right place for me.
In the end, I wasn’t offered the position; but I did learn that it’s not only the candidate who’s being interviewed on interview day.This opportunity became a space for me to transition from my dissertation to engage in exciting and meaningful new research opportunities.I hoped they would prove fertile ground in which I could sow the seeds of my early career research and eventual employment.So, when I graduated and did not have an academic position to move onto, I had to make some changes.First, I had to face the reality that I may not become an academic after all, and that I may have to look for non-academic jobs.If I were to continue to pursue an academic career, I would have to continue to publish more, even though I had already published a few articles.I could see the value of a postdoctoral position, although I was hesitant about doing one because it was temporary and did not provide a definite job prospect at the end. Together they have asked these questions and more as they navigated their journey from Ph D to applying, interviewing, and finally securing tenure-track academic positions. Below are three unique perspectives from recently hired assistant professors at Canadian research-intensive universities.If approved, comments generally appear within one business day.We may republish particularly insightful remarks in our print edition or elsewhere.