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CAREERS CAFÉ

By NICOLA KOPER | June 19 2013

I’ve had a few reminders lately that university students represent a particular subset of the population. Like most of their professors, a lot of our students are type-A, hard-working, driven and perhaps tend towards overachievement. Traits that most of us can sympathize with. While these personality traits may well have brought them to their current […]

By JO VANEVERY | June 10 2013

Your initial orientation to the job search is personal. Will you like it? Will this job give you the skills and experience you need to move forward in your career? Will it pay enough? And so on … Once you’ve decided to apply, your perspective needs to change. As with any writing or presentation, you […]

By LIZ KOBLYK | June 03 2013

I just came back from the Education at Work conference, which wrapped up with an employer panel. I like employer panels – they give me a chance to test out whether I actually know what I’m talking about, or whether I’ve developed an artificial, Disney-esque view of the way one goes about finding a job. […]

By NICOLA KOPER | May 27 2013

In my last blog, I talked about the lengths of graduate students’ programs. I noted that often, longer times to completion are in the best interests of the graduate students, and we shouldn’t try to shorten all completion times regardless of individual circumstances. In general, I still think this way. However, I also appreciate the […]

By JO VANEVERY | May 21 2013

In my last post, I suggested that you don’t have to figure out what to do with your life. I want to explore that idea a bit more. As Barrie Thorne noted back in 1987, we often look at children as who they are becoming rather than as who they are in a specific time and […]

By LIZ KOBLYK | May 13 2013

This is a bit of an odd blog post, because I’m asking you not to do something: don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t need to. Many of you reading this have access to a university career centre. Chances are good that that centre competes with lots of other offices, services, events and clubs for […]

By NICOLA KOPER | May 06 2013

Many universities across Canada are attempting to reduce times to completion for graduate student programs. At my own university, there have been numerous policy changes that are aimed at reducing program lengths. While masters programs are usually described as one- or two-year programs, and PhD programs are described as three- or four-year programs, average times […]

By JO VANEVERY | April 29 2013

When you make a decision about a job or a program of study, it is normal to imagine how your life story will unfold if you take this step. Sometimes that story gets in the way of moving forward, or closes off options that might lead somewhere interesting. It is important to recognize that this […]

By LIZ KOBLYK | April 22 2013

I recently had a peek at a new career assessment, and it has me thinking about the benefits and pitfalls of vocational assessments in general. If you’re considering using career assessments, make sure they’re only part of your plan for exploring career options, because they only illuminate part of the picture. Vocational assessments typically look […]

By NICOLA KOPER | April 15 2013

A few weeks ago, I blogged about funding graduate students using scholarships. This week, I’ll talk about students who are funded in other ways. I suppose this blog is focussed on students who do certain types of research; some, presumably, can complete their dissertations with nothing more than a laptop (our society’s substitute for a […]

By JO VANEVERY | April 08 2013

I’ve been following the discussion about Big Labs (Nicola Koper) and Small Labs (David Smith) with interest. I suspect many humanities and social science folks have skipped it altogether, assuming that it doesn’t apply to them. I encourage you to read those posts anyway. They raise some important points. Is it a zero sum game? One of […]

By LIZ KOBLYK | March 25 2013

Jo VanEvery’s most recent post, on approaching advice strategically, is itself full of good advice.  As she points out, when people offer you specific opportunities intended to advance your career, you’re under no obligation to take them up.  The same applies to advice people give you about which career to pursue. It’s difficult to disregard […]

By NICOLA KOPER | March 19 2013

Last week, David Smith wrote an engaging article about the big benefits of working in a small lab, from the perspective of his experience as a PhD student. That got me thinking. Just for fun, and in the spirit of academic banter, I thought that this week, I’d write about how lab size affects us […]

By JO VANEVERY | March 11 2013

It is not uncommon for someone to state that whatever it is they are suggesting to you will be “good for your career”. Teaching this course Working with this professor Attending this conference Serving on this committee Publishing in this journal Developing networks that extend beyond academe etc. The trouble is that if you did […]

By LIZ KOBLYK | March 04 2013

Shortly after you tell a new acquaintance your name, you typically get the opportunity to share what you do as a career.  Or, less comfortably, you get to avoid eye contact as you mutter something about a job you dislike, or admit that you don’t know what you want to do with your life.  Good […]

By NICOLA KOPER | February 25 2013

When I landed a tenure-track position, several years ago now, I remember thinking how nice it was going to be not to have to worry about money anymore. I was finally on salary. No more applying for grants and scholarships every year and wondering how I was going to put food on the table if […]

By JO VANEVERY | February 11 2013

Everyone struggles with time management. Everyone. If it were just a matter of accurately estimating how long things would take and then allocating time to do those tasks, it wouldn’t be such a big problem. Perhaps we would be able to make a rational argument that we have objectively more work to do than hours […]

By LIZ KOBLYK | February 04 2013

Think of the times when you sat down and just started whacking away at a paper you had to write.  Compare those with the times when you devoted a few moments to planning your research and your argument.  I’m going to guess that planning has paid off for you more often than not. I promise […]

By NICOLA KOPER | January 30 2013

I had one of those “HA! I KNEW IT” moments when I read an article in the November 2012 issue of University Affairs. Léo Charbonneau wrote, in “Students prefer good lectures over the latest technology in class”, that students like listening to interesting, meaningful lectures, and that the latest trends in university educations … clickers […]

By JO VANEVERY | January 21 2013

One advantage to taking a real break over the holidays is that it allows you to return to your work life with new eyes. We all develop habits. Some of them are good habits that allow you to get things done efficiently and effectively. Others are not as helpful and might be contributing to your […]