Following on from my last post: I did, indeed, forego the irritating semi-security of an ongoing p/t customer service job in order to take on an exciting short-term fractional research contract. Quitting felt great, even though the youth theatre tried to make me feel bad for leaving. The additional bit of research has been an extraordinary opportunity, and a great chance to do really unexpected things, but it’s too soon to tell whether any more work is going to happen.
I’ve also been advocating for myself - meeting with higher-ups and the university and asking for work, basically - and going along to research meetings and being visible. I’m being treated as if I’m going to be around long-term, but nothing’s materialised. (Academics is an incredibly silly industry.)
No regrets yet on deciding to go all-in on the academic thing. The youth theatre was an emotionally-draining place to work; I’ve heard from a now-ex-coworker that apparently the longer someone stays working for them, the ‘messier’ it is when they quit. Ugh, no thanks. (My exit was strange enough.) There was a lot of Emotion at that place, and the relief of being free from all that hasn’t been overwhelmed by the angst of having no continuing income in the new year.
I also haven’t lost the feeling that I’m building up some momentum on the academic side of things. I’ve got a couple of mid-career mentors (who offer overlapping and not contradictory advice), and a management-level professor willing to advocate for me. I’ve got an ambitious writing plan and a meeting later today to ask what kind of funding is available to achieve that. Hell, I’ve even said I’m willing to take on PhD students to (co-)supervise, which is something apparently they desperately need in this research centre.
So now, I'm in a position of piecing things together at one university, still teaching a bit at another university, working on developing the discipline to productively work from home, and gearing up for another round of job applications at other universities. I figure since I've got four years left on my UK visa (as of the end of this week), that's as good a deadline as I'm likely to get for seeing if I'm just treading water or if this is actually building to something. (I can't even start to consider what it'll be like to be an immigrant in the UK after another four years of this festering xenophobia and isolationism, or what state the university sector might be in...)
ETA: Extra work was offered, and I've accepted. This is the riskiest thing I've ever done. Currently drafting resignation letter to the arts org. Reminding myself I shouldn't stay at a place just because I know they'll have to scramble to hire someone else and struggle to cover all the shifts. (Reminding myself that I want to move beyond working a kind of job where "covering all the shifts" is a factor.) <3 all. This entry was originally posted at http://charloween.dreamwidth.org/463845.h
That yellow house? That's apparently where Vlad was born. For a small fee you can go into the very rooms! The rooms are dressed with a coffin, lots of drapes, and a large dining table. I'm sure it's very authentic.
( More pics!Collapse )
Otherwise, I've been up to lots of things. Very busy. In June I started three new jobs almost simultaneously (WOW, STRESSFUL), and I'm currently in a few free days in between hosting my mother for two weeks (she left on Wednesday morning) and a friend who's mostly disappeared from the internet so I can't tag her here (who arrives tomorrow night).
Two of the three jobs are fractional limited-term post-doc contracts that pay almost enough for subsistence. The third is a reception/box office/occasional House Manager job at a small local theatre company; part-time hours there covers the rest of my costs. The general director there is like a chilled-out young granddad Darren Nichols, it's great. However, the quest for one (1) full-time job continues. Tonight I'll bash out another job application.
(I'm also being a bit willfully self-destructive and am still casual staff at my old theatre job. I probably shouldn't agree to take on shifts there, and instead should prioritise my academic development. Write a book proposal, develop a five-year research plan, apply for more jobs.)
So - I've been busy! Too busy to watch things. Seriously, it's ridiculous how little time I've allowed for watching things. I miss things! I've got a list, though, a list and ~hope for some mythical free time. :D
This entry was originally posted at http://charloween.dreamwidth.org/463377.h
Now that it's almost Easter, I'm happy to say the Xmas shows are far behind me (yay!), one of the university terms is over, and the other is on break for another couple weeks. I also got a book chapter off to the editors of a collection, somehow in all that time. This week I've been able to unset my alarm in the mornings, take it slow for a while, and pretend I don't have assignments to mark.
I've been teaching two very different subjects at two very different universities, and it's been a fascinating/exhausting experience. Throughout the whole thing I've also been keeping up with theatre work, because none of these jobs pay very well or are at all permanent.
What I've really been enjoying about the lecturing, is having to stand in front of students and be responsible for teaching stuff, every week (except reading week, blessed, lovely reading week). I've been lucky enough not to have to create a couple dozen lectures from scratch, and am adapting existing material, but it still means I have to learn enough of each specific topic each week to know what's going on. Unlike research/writing, lecture deadlines are absolute (for the prof, anyway): have to be ready to go at the start of class, can't ask for a week's extension. It feels great.
Between all the various jobs I haven't had time for much of anything else, which has been another interesting experience. I've been too busy for job applications, but also too busy to worry about job applications. Now, I'm much less busy and can start to worry again - but it was a great feeling to be doing new stuff each week.
Weirdly, it also means I've been watching more films in theatres - either picking up stewarding shifts at the theatre job, or doing a pint+movie with colleagues after our week's teaching is done. Less television, but more movies. I actually saw most of the Oscar films this year, which I don't think I've done since maybe 2008.
Also! I found time in all that to get an abstract into a vampire-focused symposium happening in Transylvania in May. It's so ridiculous, I can't wait. Next year I should be better about planning to get myself talking at higher-profile conferences, but for this year, this is enough.
So that's me. Dec, Jan, Feb, March = busy, so busy. April, May, future = desperate for paid work, bashing out a book proposal, hanging around Europe for maybe another year? I've got travelling and hosting set up for this summer, and have been doing my damnedest to ingratiate myself in one particular uni department with an active research culture and a need for research assistants... and who knows, maybe I'll finally make a dent in that to-watch list.
This entry was originally posted at http://charloween.dreamwidth.org/463231.h
(Plus, getting settled back in and working out post-PhD life is exhausting. Looking at ads for academic jobs, non-academic jobs, chatting with established academics about research funding, following up on academic things from July and earlier, getting off my ass to send abstracts to conferences, finishing a paper I owe for publication, learning the curriculum I'm teaching next term... exhausting.)
HOWEVER I have been watching the first season of The Man From UNCLE because Robert Vaughn makes great faces.
Then I started screengrabbing those great faces (and other things that made me laugh). Since that kind of delight shouldn't be limited to my hard drive or DMs, I started a sideblog. I haven't done fandom this way before. I'm enjoying it.
It's been fascinating. In all my time in fandom, I've tiptoed around the edges, not really making anything. So this creating-content thing is new to me. I'd tagged the first few posts because that felt like what I was supposed to do, and I'm surprised that the sideblog has followers now. It's been followed by a pair (...? trio?) of Russian MUNCLE fans on tumblr, which is neat.
I'm also learning the thrill of reading others' comments as fans I don't know reblog my posts. (I solemnly swear to leave more comments on fic.) Occasionally someone's comment describes the context of the shot, which is fun because I'm only including the episode title in each post. I feel I'm learning a lot about the MUNCLE fandom on tumblr, and how well-known some shots (apparently) are.
Also fascinating is how much management/curation I'm letting myself do. I've queued posts (trying to limit myself to three caps per episode!), and I'm making an effort to have a variety of posts (not just two-shots), and just shuffled my queue so that I won't have a week of kinda-similar shots all in a row. I've got enough posts queued to take me through mid-December, but I'll probably watch/cap more every couple days, and be able to walk away and let the queue do its thing.
So yeah - haven't tried to do fandom this way before! Also, after watching pretty closely I can thoroughly recommend the first-season episode 'The Fiddlesticks Affair' (1.16) as a starting point for anyone interested in the MUNCLE series who wants to jump right in and skip the Illya-light series start.
This entry was originally posted at http://charloween.dreamwidth.org/463005.h
2. The student loans website now shows my amount owing at $0.00. Thank you to funding packages slightly in excess of subsistence, permission to work as an international student, and having minimal taste for luxury goods. Also, student discounts on rail travel. And savings accounts.
3. I'm flying to Australia in nine days.
3b. Happy realisation: can pay back student loans, paying minimal interest, and have enough left over to travel. Hence: Australia.
4. So now, I find a job? Doing something? Hmm.
5. I predict I'll be busy enough in November/December when I'm back in the UK, prepping to teach in January, so I'm not going to look at taking on anything else. Promise! :D
This entry was originally posted at http://charloween.dreamwidth.org/462436.h
After all the drama, the external has (presumably grudgingly) agreed to pass the thesis. No adjudicator, no even-more-drawn-out waiting around, just: done.
I got the official confirmation a few hours before flying out to Vancouver Island (gorgeous scenery, way too much of an aunt-I-barely-know-but-alas-know-much-be
So I haven't had time to enjoy myself re: having a PhD, but gosh I've been getting a lot more exercise than usual.
And I got the PhD!
This entry was originally posted at http://charloween.dreamwidth.org/462240.h
Since posting yesterday, I received my health card in the mail (like three hours after). AND THEN this evening I got the YOUR VISA HAS BEEN ISSUED email from the UK visa people.
So now I can trade nonspecific anxiety about the future for vaguely defined "try having an academic career in the UK" anxiety.
This entry was originally posted at http://charloween.dreamwidth.org/462070.h
Aside from tedious life admin, I'm also eagerly awaiting publication of a short essay I wrote about Wonder Woman and feminism - should be online at the end of the month and in print come September.
Ooh and I'm also waiting for TIFF to announce what actually will be a part of its Primetime programming stream.
Instead of going to VVC, this year I went to Montreal to hang out with emef. It was an excellent long weekend! Good food, good company, and - ahem - a rigorous exploration of multiple masculinities. E.g. Elementary, Magic Mike XXL, four of the Fast & Furious films... :D Good times, good times.
This entry was originally posted at http://charloween.dreamwidth.org/461651.h