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Learning to let go: Archaeonerd on the postdoc rollercoaster... and yoga

My good friend Becky Farbstein, who blogs as Archaeonerd, has been in the same difficult place I was following her PhD, when you have to learn the hard lessons about the paucity of postdoctoral funding in the UK. She also went through the trauma of turning away from a vocation that is a major part of our identities, and trying to accept that this doesn't negate you as a person. Also like me, she found that in fact she had other passions that could become a larger part of her life, in her case she took the decision to train as a yoga teacher and has been extremely successful.
I'm delighted to say that the similarities between our postdoc experiences don't end there, as she's just been awarded funding from the Leverhulme Trust with William Davies at University of Southampton to do a hugely exciting project on early European ceramics, and so she's now officially re-entering the academic fray. She's written a post about this rollercoaster postdoc ride we've been living, it has some great thoughts I share and some very valuable advice from the perspective of a yogi. I especially agree with her perspective that we cannot rely anymore on 'careers' in academia; a healthier (and self-preservational) attitude is to enjoy the opportunities we do get, and accept we are lucky if there are times in our lives we can earn money doing what we love. 

Comments

Becky said…
Wow, Becky, thanks for posting about this. One important thing I left out of that post is that it helps tremendously to have good friends in your field who are empathetic to what you are going through. Many therapeutic chats with you got me through some rough times. :-)
I think it takes more guts to walk away from academia and create a new path in life, than to stick it out in ever more unpleasant circumstances just in case something happens. But doing it with peer support makes all the difference, so same back at ya!

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