Independent scholar, cat addict, tattoo lover


Life and work of an indy scholar part 11 – 80 percent of us leave the university at some point after our graduation, most of us sooner than later. That makes us the rule rather than the exception. I met many young doctors who were disappointed about academia and rigorously turned their backs on it. Others cling on with temp adjunct jobs. ‘Indy scholarship’ is somewhere in between. It’s not 100 percent leaving nor 100 percent staying. Reread the first sentence as ‘80 percent of me’.

Life and work of an indy scholar part 10 – In an ideal world, academics share their resources like, say their minds to make the world a better place. In another world—the one we live in—they share the findings of their research and conclude there’s more research to be done (read: they need more money). Competition is part of the scientific system as we built it. It’s supposed to bring out the best of us and in recent years, with a growing number of PhDs, competition is created by generating scarcity and budget cuts.

Life and work of an indy scholar part 9 – Last week I wrote about your mojo and getting into the flow (here). Suppose you manage to let the world know you’re here and it welcomes you with open arms. Your expertise is much valued and you receive many invitations to show it. For free. How can you avoid the image of champion volunteer and make successful propositions that help you pay your bills?

Considering becoming an indy scholar? 5 tips to get you started…

By Floor Basten

You’re approaching the end of your PhD. While considering your alternatives for work, why not flirt with entrepreneurship? In 2003, almost a year after I left the university, as a postdoc, I decided to start my own business. Twelve years since, I have learned some things I’ll share here with you, so that entrepreneurship can enter your window of opportunities.

Life and work of an indy scholar part 8 – In my previous blog I listed some of the things that can keep you from being a successful entrepreneur, all of them involving not having your priorities straight. This week I take a more positive approach and talk about ways to get your indy mojo running. One of the most important assets is a good story. There are two issues you need to take into account and some tricks that will get you into your trade.

Life and work of an indy scholar part 7 - In 1933, the Flemish author Willem Elsschot published the novel Kaas, later translated into Cheese for the English market. The hero of this story, Frans Laarmans, works at the docks of Antwerp. He doesn’t like his job, so he accepts the offer of a friend of his brother’s to become a salesman in cheese.  There’s but one problem: Frans lacks all skills to sell cheese. So here’s my third lesson learned: if your cheese starts to smell dingy, you probably haven’t set your priorities straight.

Life and work of an indy scholar part 6 - On Friday the 13th I moved to the south for a couple of days—the main reason why I skipped last week’s blog. My brief remigration was caused by carnival, that outburst of festivities that Catholics traditionally use to bolster themselves for a period of 40 days of fasting. Traditionally, because nowadays only some rituals remain and hardly any of the revelers are hardcore Catholics, even less of them fast.

Life and work of an indy scholar part 5 - The week was steady as she went. Not that nothing exciting happened, I’m just unsure if it’s exciting for you to read about my daily routines, exciting as they are to me. Not every week is a new adventure, this is not Hollywood and most weeks are about ongoing projects. As a specialist in narrative, I know a diary without new happenings will probably bore you soon, so instead I’ll turn to some reflections about my twelve years of independent scholarship. This decision came up last week and was reinforced by a suggestion dr.

Life and work of an indy scholar part 4 - Last week I announced that I had planned a shut-up-and-write day and I’m sorry to say that I failed to deliver. I shut-up-and-wrote on two late afternoons for a few hours, but I advanced far less than I had hoped to. Sill, having many irons in the fire feels good and I actually added some more this week. After all, writing for academic journals isn’t really my core business as an entrepreneur. I like to write and I get that hosanna feeling when a paper is accepted, but I don’t perish when I don’t publish.

Life and work of an indy scholar part 3 - How to summarize this week? I guess it would be with ‘tying some loose ends’. Some days-in-a-row-off lend themselves perfectly for a mini sabbatical, that time off from work to get work done, and I seize those opportunities to finish things. I had a few appointments outdoors, I talked, together with some colleagues, with a large institute for professional education about a seminar about complexity theory, did another workshop about the feasibility of a PhD project for non-university teachers, but spent most of my week at home.

Life and work of an indy scholar part 2 - It’s been a week with high professional ups encircled with a deep down in my private life. Literally encircled in time, as last Sunday I heard the sad news that one of my closest friends had suddenly lost her beloved husband the day before, and today we had his funeral. In the emotional rollercoaster that followed the news, I managed to escape into my mind once in a while, like I’m doing now with ordering the work I did this week.


Life and work of an indy scholar part 1 - It’s that time of the year that I start to think about my ambitions for the months that follow. I know most entrepreneurs start their planning and preparations as soon as September and as late as December, but after summer is my busiest time and I like to keep December as appointment- and deadline-free as possible. This helps me clear my mind and start the new year afresh with thinking about what I want to do the upcoming eleven months. As a bonus, I have time left to spend the holiday season with my loved ones in a relaxed mode.