My situation is as follows:

When I will have completed my PhD, I will not be able to immediately apply for a research position at a university, as my girlfriend will want to move to a certain city and she wants me to come with her. My chances of getting a job at the university in that city are very slim (since getting a job in academia in general is very slim). I'll leave out the details here, but I cannot really opt out of this plan anymore.

Another important piece of information might be that I am in the Humanities. So it's not like I could work in my field so easily and then later get back into academia. The type of work I would be doing would be quite different.

So I will have to work out of academia (and out of my field) for a few years. I could try to set myself up as a part time independent researcher - would that help? I would really like to work in academia, but it's quite difficult given the circumstances.

I am completing my PhD at a very strong university, if it helps.

  • 2
    I am not sure what the question is. As general advice, if you really want an academic job at a specific university, it is never too early to start working on it. Learn what research they are doing in the appropriate department. Bias your work towards that. Make contacts. Apr 7, 2017 at 21:27
  • 2
    Thanks. My problem is that when I will have completed my PhD, I will want to apply to jobs and get a research position very quickly. However, I cannot do that since my location will be restricted to the city my girlfriend will want to move to. So I would wait for my girlfriend to finish her thing, then apply anywhere in the world. However, I am worried that by that time I will not be competitive anymore, as I will have been out of academia for 3-4 years, maybe longer. Apr 7, 2017 at 21:42
  • 3
    Given city X, look at the universities that are within, say, an hour's drive. Take a look at the department corresponding to your field at each. Then look at the person in those departments who is in your specific field — generally one per department. Those are the people whose jobs you would be applying for. But they're in the job already, so unless they leave (not getting tenure, retiring, etc), there's no real chance of being hired. Getting hired at a local CC or as an adjunct at the universities is more likely, the latter would probably grant you access to the library's resources. Apr 7, 2017 at 22:38
  • 1
    Thanks. Will this help my in any way career-wise do you think, or do I set myself up for not getting a proper job in academia anymore? I've heard that it gets difficult if you haven't secured a 'proper' job right after your PhD. Apr 7, 2017 at 22:44
  • 2
    My favorite book on making yourself a competitive applicant is The Professor is In. I read it cover to cover 3-4 times, had a relatively successful job marke
    – Dawn
    Apr 8, 2017 at 0:48

1 Answer 1


You could consider working as a lecturer (with a lower income) to at least get the teaching experience needed, and then you could do some research through the department and some as an independent researcher.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .