Friday, 11 January 2013

New Year, New beginnings and a New Postacademic Web Resource

Well, the holidays over here for this post-academic in the UK were in my view just a perfect recipe to initiate a process of Doctor Who-like regeneration before the start of the new year (apologies for US readers not familiar with this classic and popular British TV reference!). After a very busy beginning in my new-ish Alt-ac job in September, by December 21st I was ready for the solid two week break that coincided with the university closure. And with everyone there slowing down by December 17th and getting into party spirits I felt like I couldn't have found a better place to work. The official break came and my family and I stayed based here with the plan of meeting friends over party drinks, dinner parties, brunches, country walks and attending a local, low-key New Year's Eve party. I found plenty of time to eat and be merry and balanced that with loads of extra sleep, some healthy cooking as well as adding some exercise. Aside from the addition of my husband's bad cold toward the end of the mix, (that he's now passed on to me I think) I can safely state that this holiday hit the top near the perfection scale.

Back to work on January 7th this week has been a nice, slow introduction back into the real world. Making an earnest attempt to get into things in full flow on Tuesday I found myself to be the first one in at 8.30 am sharp and got a start on attacking my 'To Do' list. I've been at this place a few months now and still find I am gob-smacked when reminded of how much my co-workers are committed to achieving the work/life balance. Most appear to leave the office to get the most out of their lunch hour and many take advantage of flexi-time. On Tuesday at around 4.45 I found myself deep into reading an article that I needed to review for some research I am planning (Yes, I am now getting a chance to use to my research skills and am in the process of getting ideas together for the proposal). This colleague came in sometime after me in the morning and noticed I was the one who opened up. So there I was just working about fifteen minutes over my scheduled, full working day and he said something like, 'Shouldn't you be getting out of here by now? Haven't you done enough for one day?' Well, I admit I was actually speechless and didn't know how to respond. But I did think afterwards, hey, he's right. My contract of employment is pretty clear about what is expected. There may be times when I'll have to get involved in an evening event (and I can then take time off in lieu) but I'm part-time which means certain things/projects will take me a longer time to get through. It's nice to be reminded that enough is enough. I've done my bit for the time being and it's time to get out and think about something else. A very happy start to the new year if I can keep myself in this realistic frame of mind. I advise all others working hard to keep up with the pace of the rat race to do the same. You'll find major benefits to your health and well-being for sure!

The new Postacademic Website 'How to Leave Academia' is now live!
While my brain's been moving at a snail's pace after this festive season, my post-academic peers thousands of miles away in the US came up with this amazing idea to get started on developing a website full of stories and resources for those who want to leave academia. When they asked if any others wanted to join I was keen to get in on the action, expecting that such projects can take some time to develop. Well, I was certainly proved wrong! In no time at all, these amazingly energetic and productive postacs have designed the site and got significant content up before I could say Happy New Year. I've finally managed to add something the other day on my day off, but all the praise for efforts goes to Lauren, Currer and JC and another webdesign contributor for the overall planning, design and content management of this project. As I see this collective work coming together in such a top quality professional manner in such a short space of time, I can see that US academia has really missed out an opportunity to exploit such talents. Their loss for sure.

I've mentioned the call for papers and contributions in my last post and will add the link here for those who want to have a look at How To Leave Academia. It's ongoing with lots of potential to add news ideas so if you're a postacademic who's had some experience of leaving that you'd like to share, we'd like to hear form you. If you're thinking about leaving and don't know where to start or are in emotional turmoil about the prospect then this is a place where you will see that you are not alone. Hope to see some of you over there soon!

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