I am done.
That’s right. Sort of.
Last month I finally handed in my PhD, and now I am in ‘thesis limbo’. I’ve been told thesis limbo is The Worst, but after a three-week holiday and a wonderful first week of my new job, I’m pretty sure it’s Not.
I’m completely comfortable with the idea of not being an official Dr for another few months, but that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’m not working in academia, nor am I trying to.
While I’m not ashamed of this, my leaving the lab (albeit as a result of finishing my PhD) has left me feeling somewhat ‘derailed’.
Then again, I’m not sure how much this has to do with me being an ex-academic (technically), or how much it has to be with me being a 27-year old in 2016.
My new job is super flexible, with lots of opportunities for me to develop new skills and flex some of my creative muscles. This week I wrote up news pieces and interviews with academics (in the job description), and I also connected some researchers with each other with the hopes of sparking a new collaboration, and I helped an academic pitch a news story to a popular science website (not in the job description). I also managed to wangle getting paid to go to a local art exhibition, and made a new friend in the process.
I also got a science article commissioned, so my freelance career is still standing (granted, it’s been a while).
So…what’s not to love?
I feel actual guilt about the fact that my job is only a casual position.
Realistically, I know that there is no one standing over my shoulder judging each of my life choices. But I myself am struggling to be OK with the fact that this is who I am now. And these working habits (i.e. timesheet and invoices) are probably going to be part of my life for a quite a while to come.
As a creative individual, is it possible to be content with a 9-5 job? Perhaps more strikingly – do 9-5 jobs even exist anymore to the extent where, as a 27-year-old with a few degrees, I should actually EXPECT to have one?
And if the answer to that question is, “yes”, and therefore any of my time spent NOT having one of Those Jobs could be considered a “pause”, how long am I allowed to pause for?
Because, when I find the time to stop overthinking all this crap…
I am actually quite enjoying my life right now.