Episode #222

Career Stage 4: Building Your Legacy

We are progressing through the podcast series focused on the real stages of the academic career based on your development as a professional. In today’s episode, I introduce the fourth career stage: Building Your Legacy.


Building Your Legacy comes post-tenure. It is the most challenging career stage in academics because it demands a radical shift and reorientation. Building your legacy means ensuring your unique perspective and work live on beyond you. It’s about creating a lasting impact beyond your career and even your lifetime. It means mentoring more, collaborating with junior colleagues, and creating teams that support your academic mission.

Before this promotion, you wanted to prove your worth and indispensability to your institution. But now that you have achieved tenure status, it is time to become replicable and multiply impact. Learn what to expect during this career stage and get insightful tips on navigating the challenging transition from Planting Your Flag to Building Your Legacy. 


What is the ‘Building Your Legacy’ Career Stage?

The Building Your Legacy career stage roughly aligns with post-tenure. It is the biggest and most radical shift in the academic career. Legacy is an impact that lasts beyond you. So, in this critical stage, you are making yourself replicable and dispensable by ensuring others can continue your work.

How to Approach Different Aspects of Academia in This Career Stage

Writing Practice: The switch in your writing will involve curating the publication pipeline and encouraging others around you to support your mission. Pre-tenure, you are putting your academic mission in the world. But post-tenure, more of your time is spent apprenticing other writers into your work as you reorient to focus on multiplying and replication. This career stage is also a great time to start writing for a public audience.

Research/Grants & Funding: It is time to focus on legacy projects. That could be a book. That could be going for big money grants. You are in a career stage where you can do whatever you want, so think about what you want to be remembered for. Think big! Make a decision based on impact. 

Time Management: You do not have to work 60 hours a week as a professor. Practicing time and project management strategies based on discernment and decision-making will significantly reduce your work hours.

Relationships in this Career Stage

Advisor: When you are building your legacy, you are the mentor.

Mentees/Students: Your students are the ones who will carry your legacy on. So, this career stage is the time to consider how to work efficiently with students so that you and your academic mission can have a greater impact. You are a leader of a team and train those around you. 


Tenure changes everything and it changes nothing. It changes everything because it calls you to this reorientation. It changes everything because it gives you stability. But it changes nothing because it is not a magic wand that will change your attitude or beliefs. That drive to publish anything and everything will not stop automatically just because you got promoted.”


If you got tenure by overworking or by hustling, congratulations on tenure but it is now time to shift. Because if you don’t you will replicate as you build your legacy. That is what you are going to leave. Do you want to be the person in 10 years telling a 30-year old in this profession that this career involves 60 hour weeks? You should be able to have life and a career that fills you up. So time management strategies are really really important.”


We’ve opened the waitlist for our next cohort of Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap®. Check out the program details and get on the waitlist here.



  1. Our 12-week Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap® program helps tenure-track womxn and nonbinary professors to publish their backlog of papers so that their voice can have the impact they know is possible. Get on the waitlist here!
  2. Cathy’s book, Making Time to Write: How to Resist the Patriarchy and Take Control of Your Academic Career Through Writing is available in print! Learn how to build your career around your writing practice while shattering the myths of writing every day, accountability, and motivation, doing mindset work that’s going to reshape your writing, and changing academic culture one womxn and nonbinary professor at a time. Get your print copy today or order it for a friend here!
  3. Want to train with us for free on your campus? Now you can when you recommend our Scholar’s Voice™ Faculty Retreats to a decision-maker on your campus! Download the brochure with the retreat curriculum and both in-person and online retreat options here.
  4. If you would like to hear more from Cathy for free, please subscribe to the weekly newsletter, In the Pipeline, at scholarsvoice.org. It’s a newsletter that she personally writes that goes out once a week with writing and publication tips, strategies, inspiration, book reviews and more.






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