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begard

I QUIT... (It's a long one)

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...my job today.

Don't panic it was planned and I have another position lined up but it has made ecstatically happy. However I'm ahead of myself and should fill in some of the gap since my last blog(its been a while).

I was considering doing a series of catch-up-ish blogs to fill in the intervening time but I've finally realised that this will take a lot of time and serve no real purpose, at one point it would have been cathartic but I now don't think so. So in brief:

I have finished my PhD (well, people still need to hit various papers with rubber stamps but all the essential work is now over)
I was talked in to taking 'just one post-doc position' to 'see how it worked out' and after some internal debate I crumbled and applied for, was offered and accepted a post-doc position. If you have read my earlier blog you will realise this makes me:
a) very clever
b)modest
and
c) an utter and complete moron.
When I was offered the position I was quite excited, new job, an exciting sounding project, more money it all sounded enticing.

I started working on the post doc late 2014 but by mid-January had come to the realisation that I had made a mistake. Things that tipped me off:
-My boss was very eager for me to start as early as possible, to the extent that I cancelled my holiday and worked more or less continuously up to starting my post doc. (ostensibly this was for believable funding reasons)
-My boss told me not to take holiday, at all, to the extent that we had a lengthy meeting on the 20th of December and on Jan 4th he emailed me wanting a full update on my progress on the project. By the time Christmas rolled around last year I had two options: take some holiday or drop dead. I chose the former and stand by that choice. I fobbed my boss off with some work he couldn't really check up on but he wasn't happy. (and no this is not legal but yes he can get away with it I have already taken it up with my union and a lawyer friend)
-He fired another post-doc just (and I mean just) before Christmas for reasons of lack of progress. This is basically unheard of in academia.
-Shortly after starting and signing a two year contract I was told to start applying for my own funding as there wasn't 12 months worth of funding to pay. This really is a dirty bait and switch as if I was going to go to the trouble of applying for my own funding I wouldn't want to live where I am or work on this project. A two year position is meant to be security and ease in exchange for working on what your boss wants you to and living wherever.

There were a few other incidents but this is sufficient to make my point. I think it speaks to something endemic in academia that you will give up any sort of life or self-respect to have a job. Aside from the few days off over Christmas this year the last time I had off was 5 days in March 2015 I have worked through bank holidays and weekends and worked long! hours. At times this has definitely been having negative effects on my health and personal life. Now this is certainly not what an academic would describe as typical or healthy but I suspect a worrying number would be less surprised than you might hope.

So to return to my earlier conjecture in January I cam to the realisation that I was a complete and utter moron and needed to get out. I started applying for teacher training, which was fairly painless as I'm highly qualified and work in a shortage area, and long story short will be starting training in a few months. So in preparation I have quit my job and couldn't be happier. I have to do a months notice period but my current employer really has no means to motivate me so it will be a gentle cruise from here-on out, I'll even be pushing for gardening leave if at all possible.

The next few months look to be quite relaxed and I'm going to be taken a well earned few weeks off, preparing to move house (again!?), then start training but I never intend to put in as many hours for so long as I have over the last few years. My health and family is more important.

Which is all to say I intend to be back around these parts more regularly from now on. My contributions have been shockingly sparse and irregular for the last 12 months+ but I have been lurking on and off (more off than on) and ADISC has been one of the things keeping me sane, well sane-ish. I've been lurking a bit this weekend and have been itching to jump in again proper.

Thank you all for keeping me sane (and for reading this far down)
Dr. Begard
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Comments

  1. egor's Avatar
    Oh Ya. The joys of academic cutthroat culture. Be my slave and do not think! Work until your are sick and then when the funding is out and there is the door!

    Remember it well. Job funded Monday, budget cut on Thursday, unemployed on Friday.

    Glad to hear you have options.

    Egor
  2. begard's Avatar
    Yeah, but what I can't get past is how difficult it has been to leave. A post-academic I spoke to described as like a really unhealthy relationship you know it's bad, you know it's never going to work but breaking up is SO hard.
    I mean January 2014 (I just looked up the date of my previous blog can't believe it was that long, yikes!) I was so set to leave. I was all but out the door but they dragged me back in again. Not this time. This really is the end.
    Thanks Egor, as always you're a rock.
  3. ozbub's Avatar
    Nice BLOnG .... sorry, couldn't resist Dr Begard not much succinct in a doctoral thesis I expect. you'll have to excuse me ... babies have a short attention span.

    Congrats on completing your work, and good luck with your new horizons.
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