In our first talk, many academics warn me that they are rather autonomous. Intractable and self-willed, a.k.a. notoriously headstrong. They are not beside the point. Also HR managers, career advisors at universities, my coaching colleagues in other industries often wonder out loud whether my academic clients aren’t difficult to coach.
About Claartje van Sijl
I am a philosophical career counselor and trainer. From my home base in Utrecht (The Netherlands), I assist early and mid career academics throughout the world with questions of purpose, direction, balance and confidence in life and career. My PhD in philosophy combined with my broad training as a certified coach/counselor enable me to work at a deeper level with career questions.
Clients appreciate how my open and compassionate attitude creates a safe environment to look within themselves. They value how my concrete tools help them clarify their mission and trust in their expertise. Because of my personal experience with the quirks of academia, they find they do not need to explain to me the special requirements of working flexibly, independently and intensely on (research)projects with much responsibility, high pressure to perform, and long term job uncertainty.
Entries by Claartje van Sijl
I get it: you are smart. You got a PhD. You landed a tenure track position or even tenure — although you suspect that was due to luck more than intellectual merit. Anyway, from the outside your life look perfectly successful. You have a wonderful partner, your children are doing great, and your academic career […]
Many academics worry whether they ‘have it in them’ to succeed in academia. Consider Alise. Five years ago she completed her PhD. Her supervisor and colleagues in the field where enthusiastic about her talent for research and the chapters of her thesis have all been published in well-ranked journals. Alise felt confident and gladly accepted […]
“What are you going to do with your degree in philosophy?” Every philosophy student sooner or later hears this cliché question. And it is not unfamiliar in other fields from Humanities and fundamental sciences. The stakes are even higher after a PhD in said disciplines. Your slim chances at work appear narrowed down to the academic […]
Let’s face it. As exciting as science can be, sometimes it is just tedious, boring, taxing. When you are plodding through your data, drudging over a pile of exams, or pegging away at your PhD, it is difficult to feel that enthusiastic flow. You are working hard, draining your energy, feeling low. Naturally, you do […]
Laura sits down at her kitchen table. A welcome quiet evening between days filled with parties with family and friends over the holidays. New Year’s Eve: a traditional time of year to look back at the past year and formulate resolutions for the new year. Laura knows the power of being mindful of your successes. […]
“Since my holiday I have been at work again for a couple of days. I notice that I start to work really hard when I have to do stuff that I find annoying. Chores like writing the final report for NWO, or revising a manuscript. I know I have to do it, and I have […]
A little apprehensively he approaches me as I am getting my coat after a workshop on Working Soft in research. Quietly he asks: “How do I improve my focus and manage my stress? Call me Chris. I work in this open office space with 12 fellow PhDs and Postdocs. When I read, write, or analyze […]
With a harassed look Mireille stows some papers in her bag that she is going to grade tonight. A smile fleets across her face: “Did I tell you I am pregnant?” She has just started a temporary teaching position, where she is to do a big introductory course and a somewhat smaller advanced bachelor intensive. […]
You might say that, basically, a PhD is a novel, in depth study of a specific field where the results are written up as a report or book in a series of chapters outlining the literature base, methodology, results and conclusions drawn from your work. You will have one primary supervisor and often a secondary […]