What is #ECASurvival?

by Derek Dunne, Lecturer in English Literature, Cardiff University

If you had told me on the day of my viva in 2012 that it would be over 5 years before I had a permanent job, I might have just walked out the door and not looked back. Lucky for me that wasn’t the case, but plenty of us struggle post-PhD with how to get from ‘Dr.’ to ‘Dr.’ who can afford to pay rent, or ‘Dr.’ who knows where they’ll be living in 6 months’ time.

There is no ‘one way’ to make it as an academic, and we are having to be increasingly inventive in how we go about staying within the profession. I hope that over the next twelve months (of funding) and beyond we can start talking about the challenges we are facing both individually and collectively. After all, if our profession can’t take care of its newest members, then those members – highly skilled, driven & talented individuals – will look elsewhere for their livelihood.

This initiative is about sharing stories, crowdsourcing advice, and opening up a dialogue about what it is to be an ECA in academia today. (Personally I find the ECA terminology unhelpful, as it groups together those with little or no support with those lucky enough to have secure employment – but that’s a topic for another day.)

I’m keen to hear others’ stories either in person, here on the blog, or through the #ECASurvival hashtag on Twitter. Let’s talk.

And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may say yourself, My God! What have I done? — David Byrne, Talking Heads

Derek Dunne

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