I know, easy for me to say, given that my fancy-schmanzy degree is firmly clutched in my hands. And even easier given my recent appointment to a continuing academic job (not in the area of my PhD, but I do have expertise and qualifications in the field). But should you be contemplating doing a PhD, with the aim of getting an academic job, you might like to read this first.
The disposable academic: why doing a PhD is often a waste of time
H/T: The Witty Knitter
Habitués of universities will know that academic salaires, good though they are, have been losing ground relative to other professions, and that there are many more contract positions, often poorly paid, driving academic pay, on average, down even further. I’ve often wondered if this is linked to the increasing number of women in the profession, another manifestation of the Russian doctors social mobility issue.
In short, my advice to people planning to start on a PhD in order to get a union ticket for an academic career: Don’t.
Preparing house for sale.
Sez it all, really. However I promise Chocolate Surprise Muffins tonight.
Head on over to Giovanni’s place, and check out his fascinating post that starts with Rosie the Riveter, and ends up with… well, that would be ruining the punchline, wouldn’t it. Just go read it.
Educating Rosie, at Bat, Bean, Beam – a weblog on memory and technology
The rules for the Rudd government’s new paid maternity leave scheme enable women to take leave from three months before their baby is due to arrive. That seems sensible to me; plenty of mothers are able to work until just before the birth of their baby, but plenty of mothers need to leave work earlier, for all sorts of reasons. Just because some women are able to manage working right up until their due date doesn’t mean that all women can, or should.
Here’s how The Australian reported it (not on-line, as far as I can tell).
Rules to let mums-to-be rest before birth
Pregnant women would be able to quit work three months before the birth of their child and still be eligible for the Rudd government’s new maternity leave pay under rules unveiled yesterday.
And here’s now The Adelaide Advertiser reported it.
New loopholes allows women to quit work and get paid maternity leave
WOMEN will be able to quit work up to three months before having a baby and still be eligible for taxpayer-funded maternity leave.
The loophole was revealed in draft legislation setting out how the scheme will operate when it comes into effect on January 1.
The story in The Australian was written by Patricia Karvelas and Jodie Minus.
The story in The Advertiser was written by Ben Packham.
It turns out that getting good quality childcare is critical in allowing mothers to work. This time, policy makers might just get around to believing it; the claim is based on a paper prepared by the Australian Treasury.
Childcare key to mums returning to work
Well, that’s a no-brainer result. It seems perfectly consistent with my own experience, and with the reported experience of women in my family, and my friends.
It’s not just childcare for littlies that matters either. Good school holiday care makes a big difference to me. As you may know, I do adjunct work at local universities (just take all the problems associated with adjunct work as read – I find it too exhausting to think about the difficulties). One of the big problems for me is school holiday care. I need to make special arrangements with my partner, my friends, my mother (bless her!) to cover the two or three hours here or there that comprise my teaching work. Not enough work to justify the expense and hassle of taking the children to a whole day school holiday programme, but far too long to leave them kicking their heels outside the classroom door, or in the classroom reading a book. I’ve yet to find a university that provides school holiday care for permanent staff, let alone adjunct staff, despite all their fine words about gender equity and work life balance and being an employer of choice for women.
Yes, yes, I have my grump on. I’ve just been running up against the gap between ideals and reality in the last week or so.
You can download the Treasury article from here.