Kerryn A. Warren

Dissertation Coach

(Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and style)

What is your current job field?


What degree(s) do you have and in what discipline(s)?

I hold a BSc in Archaeology and human biology and an MSc and PhD in Archaeology.

What is your current salary or salary range?

As a consultant, I earn roughly $60 an hour. I am South African, so this is quite a chunk!

What can someone with a BA/MA/PhD expect to earn in this job?

My work revolves around my experience with research and dissertations. It is therefore important to have (at least) a masters. It is also a consulting job, meaning that, while my rate per hour is fixed, the cap lies in whether or not I am willing to work more hours or fewer hours. I try to make sure I personally have some balance, but there are some months I have greater capacity to take on clients and others where I do not.

What type of benefits are typically provided in your job field?

Consulting means having to deal with a lot of these things myself, from taxes through to Retirement Annuity and Medical Aid or health insurance. Once again, I am South African, so the needs and expenses are different.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I set my own hours for various activities, but generally it’s roughly an hour of emails and admin (setting up timesheets and invoices), and 2-4 hours of document reviews (reading thesis chapters, for instance), and around 2-4 hours of in-person consulting.

What do you like the most about your job?

My job is incredibly stimulating. I am helping clients work on a range of projects from ecology through to female tech employment. I have grown tremendously in my understanding of incredibly diverse fields and methodologies. And my clients are often so amazing and cool! From all over the world, with a range of interesting life experiences and reasons for studying. It is incredibly inspirational. The flexibility of my job–I set my own hours and boundaries and can even work while travelling–is also incredibly lovely.

What do you like the least about your job?

I am typically admin-averse, and there is no way one can both work as a consultant and not have to deal with tremendous admin: both personal (taxes, etc) and professional (emails and invoices). Having said that, there is something wonderful about the independence of it all. Another problem is managing capacity. Consulting is hard, sympathetic, constantly engaging work. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it is wonderful to have that connection and to help someone. But 1% of the time, often when something intense happens in my personal life, this energy is hard to maintain. Managing capacity is important both for my own mental health and for my clients, who are paying good money regardless of whether I am at my lowest or sharpest moments.