Posted by September Blue Wednesday, 25 February 2009 1 comments

This nine-to-five thing is still weird.

Anyway, things have been busy. I had lunch today with my boss and our head of department and a few people from another department, to talk about a big research project some of them want to put together. I'm guessing the reason I was there is that there might be a part for me in this, rather than because they needed some photocopying doing, which, you laugh, but I've heard that story, and while the meeting itself was very informal and chatty, it turns out it's quite tricky to eat a burger in such a way that implies I'm a great research assistant and they should keep me on. But... I was there, which has to be a good sign, and it's a project in which I'm guessing they'd need an RA or two, which is an added good sign, and it's going to include a lot of the stuff I'm doing right now, which sounds good too. Yes? Maybe? Yes?

Also, I've arranged two courses to teach on this autumn, talked about my existing research, planned a conference panel and tried to work out a contract for one of our student workers. All of which is my excuse for why I'm sitting on the sofa updating my blog and watching Scrubs rather than unpacking any of the boxes that lurk downstairs.

Incidentally! Why isn't there a version of Scrubs for postdocs? (Unless it's because we get to home at half-past five to watch TV. And possibly because it's difficult to make enthralling TV out of grant applications.)

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Posted by September Blue Tuesday, 24 February 2009 4 comments

Well, the good thing about this morning's meeting is that there was only one point at which my boss threw down all the papers he was holding and slammed his head repeatedly into his outstretched hands.

Oh, and one of the PhD students brought chocolate biscuits!

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Posted by September Blue Saturday, 21 February 2009 2 comments

I'm on a train. It's packed. I'm balancing on my one square foot of floor space in the bit between the doors, along with eight other people and one pissed-off baby in a pushchair. Meanwhile, all my earthly belongings have already made it to the new flat in the movers' very spacious lorry. I am reconsidering my decision not to pack myself into a box and get carried on board when they weren't looking.

Ha, the baby is staring thoughtfully at a watch it's wearing while tapping the watch-face with one finger. How very dignified.

My rucksack is really getting rather heavy now. I'd swap it for the bag at my feet (which holds three house-plants and a desk lamp - nothing like moving house to bring back those undergraduate days!) but there is no room to manouevre at all.

Ten more minutes... (and then a short walk, and then ten more minutes on another train, and then another short walk, and then I have to unpack, and then tomorrow I'm going back to the old place to clean it to Give-Me-My-Deposit-Back standards, and then on Monday morning I have to meet the letting agents there so they can inspect it, but then I'm DONE.)

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Posted by September Blue Friday, 13 February 2009 0 comments

One of the people who works upstairs from me came into my office today to let us both know that there was a Strange Smell on the staircase, and that Estates & Buildings were on it. "It might be another dead cat," she said. "We've had that happen before, and there used to be a lot of stray cats that came into the crawlspace here to have kittens, for years and years - I suppose they just always had..."

Dead cat or no dead cat, I'm loving the idea of working in a building that eighteen generations of stray cats have come to think of as the Mothership. And that's not even counting the cool Being John Malkovich door that lets you crawl through to the department next door.

I like this place!

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Posted by September Blue Tuesday, 10 February 2009 2 comments

You know what's most difficult to get used to about the new job? I get evenings and weekends off. I get to go home when there's still hours left in the day. It sounds like paradise (seriously!), but it's surprisingly hard to adjust to all the same, especially when things are busy (as things inevitably are); I'm used to working twice the hours for a third of the pay, and I've been doing that for so long that this feels somehow skewed.

But I'm not complaining. Oh, hell no.

Anyway, more later, to a vague approximation of 'later'. I'm off out for dinner to celebrate the good fortunes of my brave little finally-fought-its-way-to-publication article.

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Everything's different

Posted by September Blue Thursday, 5 February 2009 3 comments

I love my new job to pieces, but there's a lot to get used to.

First: The keys. I have office keys which must not be lost on pain of death (or on pain of someone in Estates & Buildings rolling their eyes at me, I'm not quite sure how they do things round here). I'm used to punch-codes. A minor thing, you might think, but you haven't had to lock up this place; I've been leaving at half-past five most evenings, when most people are gone already, and honestly I think there are fewer locks on the White House.

Second: The money. I don't have to worry about it any more.

Third: The move from a small, neatly-enclosed university outside a middling-sized town to a huge, sprawling university campus in a huge, sprawling city. This one is old enough to have towers and turrets and hundreds of years of traditions building up like layers of sediment on the buildings. What do you mean, your office is over there? There's a bloody great road here! That's still campus?

Fourth: The being treated like an adult who actually works there. Not that I didn't work at the last place (in multiple posts, actually, and, ha, you should have been there for the confusion and commotion when I had to fill in 'Job Title' on a single form for handing in my notice), but - okay, think of it like this. My last place, there was an office set aside for those of us PhDs who did hourly-paid teaching (US readers, 'adjuncts'; my department called us 'postdocs', but fuck off, department, postdocs get salaries). There were more desks than there were people. Nevertheless, one of the secretaries threw an absolute fit over the idea that we actually left stuff on our desks ('Those are hot-desks!' 'Yes, but they're hot-desks for us, so we didn't -' 'They're hot-desks!' 'YOU DON'T EVEN GIVE US SHELVES'). First day of the new job? 'This one's your desk, and oh, please rearrange any of the furniture you like! Make yourself at home!'

Fifth: The job itself. But I'm handling that. I think.

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Posted by September Blue Sunday, 1 February 2009 3 comments

My new job starts tomorrow. Well, actually... according to the contract HR eventually did give me, my new job starts today, but today is a Sunday and I was on holiday, so, tomorrow.

I have no idea what to do.

I know. They'll tell me. That's the point. And the scope and flexibility of this job are major parts of its appeal. But! I can't help thinking that if they're going to pay me a real live salary, I should be some kind of telepathic superpowered research machine who doesn't need telling.

It'll be okay. And as soon as I can convince myself that this isn't literally too good to be true, it'll feel okay, too.

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