So my current life of riley, dependent as it is on holding a junior research fellowship, can sadly not last for ever. As of September 30th 2007 I shall be Out of Work and need to find a new way to support myself.
The 'next step' on a regular academic career ladder, at least in the arts, is that you get a junior lectureship. This entails a ridiculously heavy teaching load, plenty of admin, but long uni 'vacations' which enable you to continue pursuing your research. In essence, the secret is this: doing historical research, and writing it up, is almost the best fun you can have for which people might actually occasionally pay you. The other stuff, basically, is the hoops you have to jump through in order to be allowed to do the research bits. Of course, teaching and supervising can also be stimulating, challenging, rewarding etc. And I do quite enjoy it. But, for me at least, it's chiefly about finding something which enables me to continue the research.
So I have no idea whether the junior lecturing thing is what I want to do as from next year but if you don't apply you have no choice in the matter anyway. So I've applied to a couple of places. And one of them has invited me for interview next week. People keep reminding me that even in the unlikely event that they offer me a job, I don't *have* to accept it. The interview is all excellent experience anyway, whether or not I get a job offer out of it. I have to prepare all sorts of presentations and proposals and whatnot. Ack.
Of course, if I don't get a junior lectureship, or if I don't take up such an offer were I to get one.... but that's a whole other kettle of fish.