During one of the long boring periods of the global pandemic year of 2020, the Catalyst at Ryerson FCAD asked me to do a helpful Zoom event for researchers. I proposed a session called ‘Advice from an Old Person’, sardonically acknowledging that not everybody wants an old white man telling them what to do. (I understand. I don’t want an old white man telling me what to do either).
So then we did it as a Zoom event in December 2020, where I was partly ‘in conversation with’ my excellent colleague and grad student Valeria Duarte, and with everyone else on the Zoom, but it also included quite a long section where I went through some slides I’d made.
The one-sidedness of that felt a bit weird and wrong at the time, and afterwards I didn’t look at the Zoom-recorded video, because of this dismayed feeling. But then in January 2021 I thought I’d take a look anyway, and as a video it’s fine, because you expect a video to be a ‘watching’ kind of experience anyway, obviously.
So, if you’re a PhD student or an early-ish-career academic, you might want to take a look. (Scroll down – the video is just down there). The first 45 minutes is the main section, and then there’s 20 mins of Q&A.
The key points in the main section are:
→ Get noticed, but obviously get noticed for something good:innovative work, useful resources, or both.
→ Do something distinctive. (Methods can be a good way to do this).
→ Originality can be in how you do it.
→ You should be trying to create a whole new world of something, not just adding a grain to the pile.
→ Don’t be led by funding.
→ Don’t get stuck in a weird niche.
→ “People in my field only respect [x]” either isn’t true or the people in your field are wrong anyway. Don’t think you have to be conservative just because the field seems conservative. Other people are sick of it too.
→ The impact staircase. [Which is also explained here].
So here’s the video: