The Post-PhD Conversation


My PhD graduation.

This is the conversation you have with your partner, your PhD supervisor, your peers, mentors, sponsors, or those who have long ago finished their PhD.


It’s that conversation where you go in with the obvious question –

what do I want to do after my PhD?

– and come out with a plan.

Let’s look at what your conversation might be. Here are 5 options.

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Getting back into the ecological workplace after children

In 2006 I went to the Ecological Society of Australia annual conference in Sydney. I was 7 months pregnant with my third child. I sat and listened to an inspirational lecture by Dr Meg Lowman. During question time, a young female ecologist asked what would be Dr Lowman’s advice to women embarking on a career in ecology.

What followed was encouragement, field work advice and research direction. She took her preschool aged children into the field (also mentioned in this video from time 18.13).

At this my heart sank.

Let’s face it. In today’s day and age, I can’t take my children in the field with me.  Add to this that I am the primary carer, our families live interstate (no grandparent/aunt/uncle help), I have a special needs child, and my husband and I both working full-time is not realistic unless we want to heavily rely on childcare. So, in the past 10 years since my 1st born, and the last 3.5 years since my 4th born, have I any hope of continuing as an ecologist mother?

Yes, I do.

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