207 Letter from Zara Zarezadeh

Dear Future Women Tourism Researchers

Before starting my letter, let me show my appreciation. To those that believed in me, gave me support, and never let me give up. Thank you.

At the time of writing, I am still an early career researcher. Looking back, my research journey has not always been easy. Let me explain why. I am originally from Iran where I finished my MBA and had almost 4 years of experience in teaching at universities. Then I lived in India for 5 years and received my PhD in Marketing. Late I moved again and chose Australia as my home country. It was when I started my second PhD in Tourism at the University of Queensland. I know what you think, it is crazy!!!

I have lived in three different countries and each time I had to start from Zero, from a career point of view, but I had carried my experiences with me, so you might think that is not exactly that sad after all.

I want to share what I have learned during these years with you, although I do not think there is a “one size fits all” strategy. Everyone has its own pathway and challenges; even as an academic, you might have different goals.

Life-Work Harmony: Most people say: Life-work balance, but I do not believe in balance, I believe in life-work harmony. In each stage, your life or career needs different attention. After my first PhD and the birth of my first daughter, I had to pause my career. I needed to find a better place for living for my daughter, a place where women are appreciated as an individual and have almost equal rights in society. So, we moved to Australia, I paused my career for a few years, spending most of my time with my daughter and of course, settling down in the new country. After that, I started my casual job as a research assistant at The University of Queensland. But not long after that, I had my second daughter, so my career paused again. Long story, short, when my second daughter was around 3 years old, I started my second PhD and casual teaching. I was juggling between different responsibilities, not fun at all, but satisfactory. Right now, both of my daughters are teenagers, so I can focus more on my career. This is what I call life-work harmony. For a long time, I put so much pressure on myself to create a life-work balance, but it never happened. So, I create life-work harmony for myself. Do whatever works for you, do not let anyone prescribe for your life or your work.

Develop the system. Do not be scared of starting new projects or challenging yourself, just because you have other responsibilities or kids, family, or it is not matching with your current lifestyle. If you are interested in new opportunities and challenges, develop a system that helps you. I am sure, you always find a way that works for you and your family instead of giving up challenges and opportunities. It seems hard at first, but it will work well in the end. The way I am developing the system is to find the work I can ignore; cleaning and cooking 😊; the work I can outsource, and the work I can get help with; mostly from my kids and my husband. And every time with any new opportunities and challenges, I had to revise my system. This is my system, find yours.

As an early career researcher, I have a long way ahead and many opportunities to learn. I have just shared a couple of things that I have learned during my journey to date. Good Luck on your pathway.


Zara Zarezadeh

The University of Queensland, Australia


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Women’s voices in tourism research Copyright © 2021 by The University of Queensland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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