Post-PhD Employment

I was in my second year of university when I first thought, “Wow, being a professor would be pretty cool.” I started looking into what the job of a prof was like noting that finding a tenure track position was becoming progressively more difficult (this was over ten years ago). I went to grad school knowing that there are more people with PhDs than there are tenure-track jobs. But I thought I wanted a PhD anyway.

I endeavored to apply to Masters programs in order to see if a PhD would be possible given the academic skills I had. After a year of unsuccessful attempts (which I documented here), I was accepted to three schools in my second round of applications. I applied to PhD programs at the beginning of my second year and was accepted over the winter break.

The statistics about acquiring a tenure-track position have not improved since I was an undergrad. Data from 2011 indicates that 18.6% of those with a PhD hold a full-time professor position: this is not the same as a tenure-track position.  Nearly 40% work in higher education in other capacities, some as part-time professors. This means that when I (finally) complete the eight stages of my degree, I have less than a 20% chance of being employed full time as a professor (that is, if my disability and chronic illness can even be accommodated because I truly have no idea). I have been told by faculty (ones not on my committee, even!) that I have the skills and knowledge to become a prof; however, I have no control over the hiring market.

In short, I really have no idea what I will be doing when I’m done. I’m going to see if I can get a post-doc or a tenure-track position, but I know the odds are against me. At the same time, I know I am suited to work in policy, government, editing, and copyediting based on my degree and how I am employed currently. To be honest, I’m not sure if I care all that much so long as I’m making a living wage: money is needed to exchange for goods and services after all.

The following is a list of job/career choices I may be considering for after my defense. I’m not sure if I should call these ‘dream jobs’ or ‘dreaming jobs’ as some of them are probably not very economically viable. But if you know me, you can probably see me doing these things:

  • Expert cat herder
  • Dog walker
  • Doggie daycare owner
  • Often-swearing-while-recording craft vlogger
  • Redesigner of thrifted clothing
  • Tea blender
  • Cactus and succulent breeder
  • Band-aid tester
  • Giant dinosaur sculptor
  • Closet and cupboard organizer
  • Children’s book author
  • Coffee taster
  • Ostentatious outdoor holiday decorator
  • Chronic illness advocate
  • Snow fort construction worker
  • Bookshelf organizer
  • Dinosaur- and animal-themed furniture and homeware designer
  • Pillow and blanket fort technician
  • Bumble bee trainer
  • Personal shopper
  • Macro photographer
  • Themed party planner
  • Blanket merchant
Posted in PhDing (in doubt) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

International Women’s Day 2017

We see you, men.

We notice what you do (and don’t) say about your partners. How you support them, praise them, lift them up, love them.

We watch when you don’t comment about cases of violence against women in the media. How you choose to believe the victim (or not), implying that “she deserved it” in one way or another.

We use a whisper network to keep each other safe. How you treat women in public and how you are in private are often not the same.

Women get ‘recognition’ one day of the year, but our opinion of how men treat us is based on the other 364. In Canada, it’s not good:

I support my sisters (not just my cisters) and non-binary folx, but today is just another day  of existing-as-a-women in a cisheteropatriarchal colonial nation state.

(Also a big fuck you to Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, who thinks that on International Women’s Day women should “celebrate the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect, and who aren’t afraid to speak up in front of others.”)

Posted in Observations on Life Outside of Academia, Personal | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


Tattoos as self-care.
Tattoos as decoration.

Tattoos as tenacity.
Tattoos as strength.

Tattoos as the past.
Tattoos as preparation.

Tattoos as storytellers.
Tattoos as resistance.

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Storify Post: I Am Not Marching Today

Unfortunately, there are more phrasing errors in these tweets than I’d like. :/

Edit: For some reason, I can’t get storify to embed into the post…so you will have to click on the link instead. Sorry!

Please also take a look at this post I wrote in November on Listening, Making Space, and Amplifying.

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The Authoritative Voice in the Pronoun Debate

Please read this piece on the linguistics of pronoun usage as it relates to people being “too PC.”

Anthropology As....


I have often said that it can be frustrating to be an expert in language, because our expertise often goes unrecognized. Language (like culture, or society, or education) is something that is a significant part of everyone’s life, and, it seems, it is therefore something that most everyone feels qualified to speak on. This is especially true among the extremely well educated circles of academia. I often find myself trying to unpack the assumptions held by colleagues in other disciplines in a way that I suspect nuclear physicists never have to do, for example.

It’s hard to imagine a more obvious illustration of this frustration than the continuing saga of University of Toronto psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson and his crusade against gender neutral pronouns. If you are unfamiliar with the story (ed: If you are, can I come live where you are?), here are a couple of articles from…

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Random, Non-Academic Thought of the Day

I would much rather spend money on tattoos than a wedding.

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Conferencing While Dis/abled

I was at a conference recently that claimed it was mindful of accessibility when it seems–at least to me–as though it was more of an afterthought. Now, I understand that planning events is very difficult: I have volunteered at conferences many times, and have done event planning for campus-wide events. I’ve had to develop and implement Plan E.

But at the same time, this conference was about challenging norms. Granted, these norms were more about structures and histories than about bodies. But nonetheless, I had assumed there would have been more understanding of intersectionality.

Now, this is not a post with the intention to shame. Rather, it is a piece that I hope other folks who are organizing conferences will heed in the future. Making mistakes helps us learn. But in order to learn we need to recognize when our actions are problematic: if there is no critique there will be no learning.

Another caveat that I think most folks don’t consider is how hard it can be to be chronically ill, and/or have a dis/ability. You know when you’re sick or have an injury and you feel awful for a few days? Some days are better than others in that period, but overall you’re not feeling all that great, right? Well, imagine feeling like that ALL THE TIME. Yeah, some days you function better than others, but on the whole, things aren’t good.  It’s exhausting, frustrating, isolating, and any number of things I’ve written about in the past.

Aidan Gowling, friend of mine–though talking about the fuckery surrounding the recent US election–made a comment that I believe does a great job of analogizing living with a chronic condition: “I just want to abandon everything right now and like….lock myself in an abandoned warehouse with 10000000 dogs that don’t ever need to be fed or walked or have their poop picked up because they’re secretly robots but I don’t know that so it doesn’t ruin the illusion.” I pretty much feel the same (because, really, who enjoys picking up poop?).

The following is a list of tweets I began writing around 3:30AM because I couldn’t get my pain levels under control. In the spoonie world, we call that painsomnia. In case you were wondering, it is no fun whatsoever.

I was disappointed when not one attendee (out of hundreds) at the conference engaged with me (during the hours of the conference; I didn’t expect anyone else to be up at 3AM!). Not one person who was at the conference and used twitter said a thing. Really disheartening for a social justice/activist-type area(s) of academia. It also made me have a lot of questions about praxis.

At the same time, I wasn’t surprised because folks don’t seem to want to engage with discussions of disability. If you bring up ableism in a discussion often you will get a knee jerk defensive reaction as you would when discussing something like white privilege. Maybe this is because dis/ability has a history of being put “out of sight and out of mind” (as in sanitariums, asylums, and the like).

On the other hand, I’m really fucking tired of going to conferences that don’t–or don’t seem–to  consider how accessibility works for their attendees. Moreover, I’m really really fucking tired of the assumption that only ‘certain people’ (read: abled folks) can be academics. But you know what, we exist, and we may just be your students. We may even want to be academics one day.

Please, please remember some of the things I addressed here and in my tweets (which are storified, here) when you are planning a conference.  I know I am not the only person who thinks like me and who is chronically ill and/or dis/abled and in academia. It would be nice for there to be more folks doing what they can in solidarity and in acknowledgment of the fact that not everyone has a ‘normal’ body.

Posted in Academic Work, Diss/ability, PhDing (in doubt), Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments