This case study explores the lived experiences of 13 academics who taught in one English post-1992 university. Work relationships, workload and perception of the management's support of teaching were investigated via semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis. Previous research using interpretive phenomenological analysis has been established within health and counselling fields; however, its use within educational settings is emergent. The themes that arose from the data revealed that lecturers mostly find their initial time in the role to be stressful and poorly managed. Participants described their working lives with multiple references to the language of war, battle and struggle. Participants found that the levels of university bureaucracy impeded their teaching effectiveness; they battled with time management and felt tension between the levels of control, audit and freedom within their roles. The project, which was the independent thesis for a doctor of practice qualification, was used to help form changes in staff development, induction and mentoring procedures at the campus on which the data were collected. Reflection upon the research design, implementation and dissemination is provided.