Friday, May 17, 2013

Self-sabotage in academia: tips on what not to do

A friend recently posted a great article from The Chronicle of Higher Education on "Self-Sabotage in the Academic Career", which points out 15 ways you can hurt your career during the tenure process. The article is applicable to any tenure-track position whether in science or the humanities and you should just read it. While asking for advice from senior investigators in the past few months, I had already received some of these tips (here and here), but it's worth keep repeating them, since they come up over and over again.

These are the ways to be self-destructive:

In your field:
You don't seek out multiple mentors.
You don't seek out external evaluations.
You aren't well known outside your institution.

In your institution:

You pay too much attention to personal relationships - or too little.
You fail to understand the cultural norms of your institution.
You have been involved in one too many departmental squabbles.
You are too selfish or too selfless.

In your research:
You are either perfectionist or perfunctory in putting your work into print.
You hold on to revisions too long or rush them out.
You lack resilience in the face of failure.
You got stuck in your dissertation paradigm.
You collaborate too much with colleagues from graduate school or your postdoctoral years.
You fail to have a coherent research plan.
You haven't figured out who you are.
You are guilty of any kind of academic dishonesty.

In summary, innovation, independence and collegiality are things to strive toward while identifying as many mentors as possible to help you through.

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