Magazine article Times Higher Education

Why Must So Many Go It Alone?

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Why Must So Many Go It Alone?

Article excerpt

Pursuit of an academic career forces many scholars to make personal sacrifices that are bad for them and for the profession.

Robert Markley has made it to the promised land, securing a tenured post at a large research-intensive university that would be the envy of a thousand early career hopefuls.

But it's not all milk and honey. He is on his second marriage (and attributes the break-up of his first directly to his work), sees his new wife only during holidays and on occasional weekends, and spends up to 40 per cent of his income on the travel and two homes that make even this possible.

The professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is among the scholars in our cover feature who go to extraordinary lengths - and accept extraordinary personal sacrifices - to "make it" as academics.

The problem is particularly acute in the US because of its geography, but it is by no means an exclusively American phenomenon.

Zoologist Dora Biro is based at the University of Oxford; her partner, a professor whom she met in Oxford, has a post in Belgium, where he lives with their four-year-old daughter.

To balance their personal lives and careers, academics adopt all sorts of strategies.

A common route is for one partner to take a back seat - if both are scientists, say, one might work as a postdoctoral researcher rather than a principal investigator, or angle for a job working in a more junior post with their partner (or at least nearby).

Whether this is always appropriate and transparent is questionable, and complaints about "nepotism" attributable to such situations are not uncommon.

Many aspiring academics are forced to make tough decisions at the postdoctoral level about where to go next in their careers and what that means for their lives outside work. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.