Helping Women Achieve in Academic Science

Life After Tenure?

Tenure

Tenure (Photo credit: Toban B.)

So, you just got tenure. Congratulations! Why are you so blue?

It’s a fact: Post-Tenure Depression is real and it happens to many people. Some let it take them down into low productivity and poor mentoring that lasts for a long time.

Well, I refuse to be one of them. I think the way I will approach it is to set goals to achieve. That’s what tenure was – a goal. A long-term goal that you strived for years, maybe decades to achieve. So, my first idea is to set some specific goals for my research, teaching, and service.

The second idea is to use my true academic freedom to the fullest. That means I am going to take on some higher-risk research ideas. Before tenure, I had to get funding. I had to get published. I had to do it within 4-5 years. Now, I have time to develop a new line of research that might take some time to progress.

My third idea is to mentor, and help other people make it. This blog is one way. I have also been mentoring young scientists at conferences and on campus.

What about you? Did you feel the Post-Tenure Depression? How do or did you deal with it? Write a post or comment.

Comments on: "Life After Tenure?" (3)

  1. […] to achieve, and I believe it is one reason why I think so many high achievers who get tenure have Post-Tenure Depression. This attitude leads to low productivity and difficulty maintaining your edge in research and […]

  2. […] A. You need to write grants on things that are less flashy, but solid and doable. When I first got to my job, I wanted to work on a really cool thing, but I couldn’t get funded for it. When I would talk about it, people thought it was cool and exciting, but I couldn’t articulate it well on paper. Further, I didn’t really have a lot of background in this thing, and I didn’t really have track record. So, instead, I sent out proposals on incremental stuff that was doable and, frankly, easier experiments. I got enough preliminary data on the doable work to show I could do what I proposed. I proposed 3 objectives. I got a theory collaborator. These things I got funded to do at first were not what I wanted to do with my career, but they built a foundation for what I wanted to do later. I could build a story that they were related and they got me money, papers, and (let’s face it) tenure. Maybe this is why I was so obsessed with tenure = freedom (post). […]

  3. […] sabbatical. One of the truly beautiful perks of being an academic. If you thought the tenure blues were a myth, why is there a programmatic method to try to get you out of them? Sabbatical is a way […]

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