Today, whilst writing my reading reflection I got one of my daily jobs bulletin emails. This one notified me of a post-doctoral fellowship available in Oxford. A post-doc position is something I’d dearly love; I’ve spent the last 10 years doing my degree, MA, and Ph.D. because I’m passionate about learning, research, and education. But especially – research. The problem is, that for someone with a family to help support, very many post-doc positions don’t offer enough. I don’t really mind that so much – after all, I made my choices in life. However, every so often I see a post-doc offered that looks so blatantly exploitative, and so geared toward privileging the rich, that it makes my blood boil. One that I received today was the worst of such adverts that I’ve seen (why do they always seem to come from Oxford or Cambridge?).
An institutional affiliation with Oxford is prestigious and useful, as is a post-doc award from there, so no doubt lots of people will want such an opportunity, and it is a significant benefit to their long-term career prospects. But who, other than the already rich can afford to take a one-two year position that only gives access to the Common Room and £200 per year? The answer is – only the rich (I love the little ‘Lincoln College is an Equal Opportunities Employer’ disclaimer at the bottom of the ad). So here’s a fabulous opportunity to further your career in academia, but one that’s completely unavailable unless you’re already wealthy. Well done Oxford for doing so well to combat the impression that you’re a university of entrenched privilege.