Saturday, 28 June 2014


Yeah, so the big news of the month is – I HAVE A JOB!!! In a nice bit of Oxford University, which is a height I never thought I’d scale. Mind you, it’s not a super academic one – strictly research support – but I’d rather be an a good place getting to know people than in a less good place where research output is just as uncertain but opportunities are probably decreased. My CV is quite hilarious, veering as it does between wildly different research areas and going from Guelph (which no one has heard of) straight to the Ivy League and then Oxbridge. Bizarre. 

Anyway, yes, first week is over and it has been horrifically exhausting, but great to have somewhere to be, a very exciting staff ID that gets me in places (free Bodleian access!!) and a potentially interesting set of projects to work on. It’s partly data analysis (they mostly do large-scale stuff scraped from GP offices and national statistics registries – no experiments) and partly translational work, developing resources around self-harm for parents, carers and clinicians. I really like the idea of writing something so useful. 

New lab group seems really great, although the PI is the most old-school person I have ever seen. I literally watched him stop a meeting, pull out a Dictaphone, and dictate an email to be transcribed later by his PA. “Dear John comma please find attached the following colon space one full stop a list of our recent publications full stop next line two”… it was amazing. Especially as later in the meeting we all crowded round my predecessor, who had come in to show me the ropes, and she typed an email there and then AND sent it – so we all know the technology exists! Ah well. It seems that a lot of my job will consist of things like printing off the Powerpoint slides for each talk he gives – in duplicate – so he can have a hard copy (?) and there is a separate copy filed at the lab with a paper index which must be added to and updated each time a new talk is given. 


However, things looking up etc. Del’s case is more complicated. Now that all the papers are signed and the lawyers dismissed, I suppose I can say that he finds himself unemployed, not due to any issues with his work performance, and with a nice settlement to show for the latter fact. He’s having more trouble than usual (usual = about a week) getting a job now that we’re stuck in Oxford due to me (AND MY JOB!!!!) People in Germany and the Isle of Wight are champing at the bit to hire him, but we had a deal: first person to get a job wins the right to decide where we live. So that is that. 

We do, however, need to move soon. Shared living is doing my head in. Housemate who has been driving me mad is moving out this week (most recently: declaring we should have a celebratory garden party, then creating a huge mess in the kitchen, blocking the sink and disappearing for the four days prior to said party. Meanwhile, other housemates clean kitchen, unblock sink, clean house, tidy yard, scrub two BBQ grills, prepare food and drink etc for party. MIA housemate reappears five minutes before guests arrive to make one salad and scamper out to be the life of the party. Yeah.) So things will probably get better, and in fact it drives me less crazy now that I’m gone the majority of the day. I hated spending half a day cleaning since I felt compelled to, as Dr. Housewife, while housemate was ALSO home and spent time mostly coming along behind me and muddying freshly-washed floors. However, now Del is Mr. Househusband and it is his problem. He’s been very good – scrubbing showers and wiping counters and having my cup of tea and dinner ready upon return home. A girl could get used to this kind of thing. I actually think he could make a go of doing his own thing, but that will take time, networking and developing a couple of extra skills... guess we'll see!

Anyway, with one person working and both of us living cheap, all will be well. (Although I do have a one-year probationary period! bizarre).