The nature of work has changed, in accelerated late-capitalism and as a result of the COVID-19 global health crisis. For academics, casualised and precarious, the sweeping institutional changes of contemporary neoliberal universities, the sharp rise in managerialism, and the political power plays of universities have created further untenable spaces for work and study. In this article we explore the relationship between doctoral studies, precarious academic employment, the pandemic, and the disproportionate effects of the changes in higher education on women. Through exploration of personal experience, as precarious academic workers, researchers, and doctoral students, we provide parallels to research literature across pandemic and post-COVID literature. We provide practical suggestions for the corporate university, to rebuild its catastrophically collapsing systems, and re-centre doctoral students in mentorship as the new future of universities in Australia, and around the world.