So the new job has started and it is pretty full on – not necessarily in terms of workload (um, yet – I know you cannot spell hubris without ‘I’) but in terms of culture shock, a slightly different commute, different attire, and quite a lot of travel in the past few weeks. I really haven’t settled in enough to know whether this is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, only that I am very tired (as per portrait above). But! here are a couple of thoughts about work so far, inasmuch as they refer to Operation Run Away From Academia, Do Not Look Back:
– As I mentioned in my last post, there are elements of this job which are alt-ac and these are the ones I am most uncomfortable with so far; I think for a clean break I really need to be in a workplace which isn’t about academia, no no no.
– In my past few jobs I have been doing a thing – call it Fish Wrangling – that I had just taken as part of my work without it giving it too much thought. In new job there is not so much of the Fish Wrangling, and I am realising just how much I like to wrangle fish and how important it is to me. Not a big deal for now – I can probably wrangle few fish here, out of my own initiative – but it is useful to know and not something I probably would have realised otherwise.
– There is some potential grit in my role which I haven’t worked out yet if it’s manageable, or if it’s a permanent part of the scenery – if the latter then thoughts about the next step out might come sooner.
– Also I am not really out of academia as I still have my book to write plus several papers from my last project which I’m bound into co-authorship on. No bad thing again, but it means I cannot RUN RUN RUN for the next while.
This all sounds a little bah but it isn’t, not really. In academia there’s a very specific set of functions that almost any job will have – a fair amount of teaching, some time for research, and a bucket of admin. Out of the ivory tower those functions can be mixed up any which way with an added buffet of whole new and exciting and it’s difficult to know what you’ll get, or what you’ll want – who knew that Fish Wrangling was so important? Me, now, but not me 3 months ago. I am so grateful to you other little dudes out in the post-ac blogo-cybersphere, and especially to young Currer Bell – reading about someone else who has made the transition out and it not be a bed of roses straight away has been hugely helpful in seeing how people cope when the first job out isn’t necessarily the right one, but just a stepping stone to the next thing. Anyway, for now I have the immense luxury of gainful employment (YES), a place to start stretching myself, and time to think about what next*. The job is interesting and will certainly teach me a lot. I’ll be keeping up with the blogging and the conversations and looking forward to that exciting new leaving academia e-book I hear is on the horizon…
*What next is actually a ton of white water rafting and kayaking at the centre a mere busride from Partner Piglet’s joint, oh yes.