Anna Tropia, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies (ÚFaR) of Charles University, Prague, medieval philosophy.
My story (what am I doing in the Czech Republic?).
I joined the Philosophy Department at Charles University in 2018, after having been selected for the position of lecturer in Medieval Philosophy. Until then I had cumulated prestigious postdocs (Research in Paris, Alexander von Humboldt, Herzog Ernst Stipendium at Gotha Forschungsbibliothek) but I wanted to settle down and have a job, like everyone. I remember having been extremely happy, so happy, when I was told the position was mine, that on the spot I was not so scared by the work conditions, namely by the salary. I also thought that things might have improved in time, after more years of work at Charles.
Are the salary conditions at the university decent and sufficient?
No. I teach 7 courses per year, supervise undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. students, and take part in selection committees within and outside my Faculty. Beside teaching and other academic duties (like exams and administration), I am requested to publish in top-journals in order to be part of projects which allow me to improve (a little) my salary (from 1 to 3 per year) and to participate in international conferences each year. My job is evaluated according to strict parameters by the Faculty. Very often (always) I must work during the weekend to be able to fulfil all my duties. For sure the amount of work on our shoulders is not proportioned to the pay check, which here amounts to what I was earning as a fresh Ph.D. student and more than 15 years ago. An example to understand: I cannot afford to buy a house or a car.
Is my career at risk?
My life is at risk. Without being dramatic, you can live with 1300 euro if you don’t have a family and if you are young, healthy and receive family support from time to time. I am 40 and this is not my case. Also, being someone who lives abroad, far from her parents, I always fear the moment when I will have to run to see them for something is wrong. I also fear I won’t be able to offer to my daughter all I want for her, from education to travels.
Have I ever considered changing my place of work?
Sometimes. I do love my job and my students wholeheartedly, as well as my working environment. But it is sure that outside Czech Republic teachers’ salary are not so inadequate.