Just a short post this week to draw your attention to this interesting blog post about academic ‘selves’ in the modern university.
Gillian Rose always writes such interesting pieces about gender, labour and careers, and this is no different. Lots of readers have focused on Rose’s paragraph on the ‘personal brand’, and I agree that that’s a fascinating idea.
In a media-oriented stage for public outreach, having a kind of academic brand seems to me to be crucial (even if thinking about how to self-define as such can be a headache):
1. figure out your ‘brand’. Ok, so it’s a horrible term to use, ‘brand’, but it’s a question I once heard a colleague ask of candidates at a job interview and I think if you do figure yours out, it’s a very useful way to simplify lots of decisions you’ll face. Your brand summarises the kind of geographer/academic that you are or you aspire to be. What’s your key research area and how does it contribute to the wider (sub)discipline? What sort of teaching do you want to be superb at? What sort of administrator or manager are you, or would you like to be? What are you most committed to? What fires you up, what do you loathe? But also, what sort of colleague are you? Are you a loner, a collaborator, a leader? Work those things out and you have some priorities to focus on.
All these thoughts/provocations/considerations are doubly important for us early career researchers. We have to think about networking, teamwork and fostering new partnerships, all whilst competing with the rest of the ‘pack’ of fellow starting-out academics. At the same time we are encouraged (and of course want to!) forge and promote a spirit of collaboration with our early-career-researcher counterparts, who are our friends as well as colleagues and in a strange way, sometimes competitors too.