Michael Pender - PhD in Industrial Relations

At the time when Dr Steve French first asked me if I'd be interested in applying to study for a PhD, i had recently lost my job within the Royal Mail.  On my application being accepted I began my PhD, which focused on modernisation in the Royal Mail, in October 2011. I had worked for the Royal Mail for 22 years so returning to full time study represented a huge change to a middle-aged ex postal worker, trade unionist and father of one. That said, I had, some years earlier studied for an MA and was therefore, aware of the supportive and friendly environment that so typifies Keele Management School and its staff.

From the vantage point of someone who has now successfully completed their studies, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed what was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I was privileged enough to be able to undertake. There were of course, times when the going was tough and, as anyone who has been through the process will confirm, times when I thought that I would never get to the end.

However, for every afternoon spent agonising over, what to write next (and often what to delete next !) there were a dozen which were hugely fulfilling, rewarding and enjoyed in the company of my fellow PhD students. There were times when I could not actually believe that I was being paid to do what I was doing.

To say that that the support throughout from all at Keele has been fantastic would be an understatement. To say that the process itself has been life-changing would be also be very true as I (the ex postie) have recently began work here as a teaching fellow. I'm not sure if 'Dr Pender' has a certain ring about it but whatever its merits, both my family are very proud of my achievement.