Episode #223

Career Stage 5: Enjoying Your Legacy

Today’s episode concludes the podcast series focused on outlining the real stages of the academic career. The final career stage in academia is ‘Enjoying Your Legacy.’ Now that you have established a foundation for others to continue your work, it is time to enjoy the relaxed institutional pressure and uplift other individuals in your field.


The Enjoying Your Legacy stage is all about freedom and furthering your legacy. Whether you decide to go for a full professorship or stay as an associate professor, it’s time to create the life you want, living the career you want. From writing to funding to mentoring, this final career stage significantly shifts how you think, choose, and work on projects. Listen as I view all the facets of the Enjoying Your Legacy academic career stage and learn how to optimize your time, passion, and knowledge.

What is the ‘Enjoying Your Legacy’ Career Stage?

The Enjoying Your Legacy academic career stage is the ten years leading up to retirement. Some academics pursue a full professorship at this point. However you choose to continue working, you should be enjoying it. It’s an opportunity to pursue those significant bucket list projects, uplift other voices in your field, and continue to engrain your legacy, leaving a lasting impact.

How to Approach Different Aspects of Academia in This Career Stage

Writing Practice: At the end of your career, being the first author or putting out a lot of publications is not important. Instead, it is time to shift from a focus on authorship to generosity. Use your writing to lift others in your field. This is also the time to write for your passion without worrying about tenure or institutional pressures.

Research: You may be creating new things or supporting others as they take influence from your legacy. It’s less about putting your name on a project and more about how you support others through the creation of their research.

Time Management: You shouldn’t be stressed or overwhelmed, and your boundaries should be firm. If those things aren’t true, it is time to focus on professional development and consider getting help from an academic coach.

Grant Writing/Funding: You are a pro at writing grants at this stage! So, seek opportunities that further solidify your legacy and build a team to implement that growth. Consider what type of funding would further ingrain your legacy in your field or institution. 

Relationships in this Career Stage

Mentees/Students: Most of your work will be with mentees and students. You can choose projects you love and decide to work with individuals inspired by your academic mission. 

Colleagues/Peers: Your relationship with colleagues can be whatever you want. Whether you continue to work on the cutting edge of your career or want to explore unusual or less academic collaborations, do what makes you happy!

Planning for Retirement

It is normal to be nervous when you get close to retirement. Many academics benefit from picking an academic year number or age at which they would like to retire. Whether you stick to that milestone or work longer, consider the answer to this question: “How do I want my everyday life to look?” It doesn’t have to be the same for everyone; it just has to be right for you. 


You do not have to wait until the last 10 years of your career to enjoy it. In fact, you should be enjoying it from the moment that you step onto the academic career path. It doesn’t mean it is going to be rainbows and unicorns or that it won’t be hard. But hard can be enjoyable and every step along the way you should have joy. Don’t wait until the end of your career.”


How you live your days and your weeks is your career. So if you worry too much about the big picture and accomplishments over time – the stuff that goes on your CV, that’s good but your everyday life, your actual career, is what you do every day and every week. You have done so much work and you have created so much in the world it is now time to think about what is cup-filling for you.”

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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