Tag Archives: work

More travels

This last week I was back in Sheffield for work, starting the interviews for the research project I’m working on. I stayed with lovely people from the Ship (including holly who used to blog here) and their two furry owners. As well as the interviews (which on the whole I thought went really well) I also managed to meet up with another shippie, Jengie, which was great, visit some of the gardens and galleries around the city centre, and make contact with an old school friend who now lives and works in Sheffield and, bizarrely, is the lead research governance person for my project! I may be going back there in a few weeks, so hopefully we will be able to meet up then, timetables permitting.

I ate a couple of times at a hippyish vegan cafe in the centre, which featured these clocks which really made me laugh:

Yorkshire timezones

As mentioned, holly and JonoT are owned by a couple of furry brothers, Charlie and George. I was freaked out before I even met them as every photo I have ever seen of them has them with laser eyes, both staring in the same direction and convincing me I was going to have to don a tinfoil helmet every time I went indoors. They actually weren’t that bad most of the time, although on my final evening I did have an audience while I was eating my tea which was a bit disconcerting:

Charlie says "You will give me all your dinner now"

The final interview was on Thursday evening, I had toyed with the idea of returning home straight after it but hadn’t because I had worked out I would get home at some stupid small hour of Friday morning so it wasn’t very practical. Which turned out to be a good decision given the rain/floods further north on Thursday afternoon/evening which meant that train travel anywhere up north was chaos, I was following several people’s torturous journeys home on facebook and very glad that I wasn’t having to go through that. On Friday morning when I did leave it was still bonkers, but at least it was daytime, and although I had to change a few times and it did take hours and hours and I wasn’t well which didn’t help, the train staff were all cheerful despite all the bonkersness that they must have been dealing with, and I am really happy to get home at last, though I struggled to stay awake till 8pm after a very long day.

Today the most exciting thing has been to buy some new pants (it must be an age thing, but I really like that satisfying feeling of knowing I’m going to be wearing nice new pants :D), and watch a gaggle of birds fighting on our bird feeder. And trying to ignore the length of the grass, which will bury the bird feeder from underneath if it’s not cut soon.

More radio silence

I would love that the latest week+’s radio silence is for as interesting a reason as the last one (see last post) but sadly I’ve not really done much that is particularly blog-worthy. Last week I was down south in Sheffield doing some preliminary observations for my new research prior to starting interviews soon. I really enjoyed the experience, though I had picked up a tummy bug which meant that I had to keep dashing to the ladies’, and that really wiped me out, I was shattered! Just back to work this week, and today I was taking some time out to speak at a doctoral training seminar jointly arranged by my former department, it was really nice to catch up with some people from there and think specifically about language issues in research. Unfortunately after delivering my bit of the seminar I had a bit of a wobble health-wise so had to leave and come home, I was really disappointed as I had been looking forward to it for ages, and the discussion in the first couple of hours before I left was fascinating, but I am now feeling better so hopefully that will be the end of that.

Next week the travelling for work starts in earnest, I am really looking forward to interviewing again (though was reflecting on today’s topic and thinking that interviewing in English will feel really odd!). I really love this bit of the research, and the next bit (analysing and writing it up) – I am so lucky to have this job. I’m very grateful for it, and for good supportive colleagues. Remind me of this when I’m moaning about all the travelling!

Weekly weigh-in (6) and new job

I did weigh myself on Monday (as intended), but then had to run around all day on my last day health visiting before starting the new job on Tuesday, and by the evening I had forgotten how much I had weighed 😮 I know tomorrow is a bank holiday, but I am working a normal day (sigh, just like the NHS) so as I remembered to weigh today here it is. I have also decided to also add here how many kgs I still have to lose, as another incentive (hopefully):

Weekly (well a bit more) weight loss: 0.5kg
Running total lost: 1.5kg (though MFP, the monitoring site I use, says I have lost 1.4kg overall and I suspect they’re probably right).
Amount still to lose: 28.5kg (I know this sounds a lot, and it is, but if I can keep chipping away at it just a little bit each week that will be good).

The new job is going OK so far. I have been told (by a 1st year PhD student who is being supervised by my line manager) that I still had a bit of a ‘rabbit in headlights’ look, which pretty much sums up how I felt, although by Friday I did feel like I’m starting to get my head round it all a bit. My colleagues are very nice, but it is a very different working atmosphere – before I was in a large open-plan office with lots and lots of people and constant background noise (it was like a zoo to be honest), and now I am in an office with one other person. I am aware of other people around about, but they do their thing and I do mine, so although I am meeting a few people I really don’t know who they are for the most part, so that will take a bit of getting used to. In the last place, by the time I’d been there a couple of days I knew everybody’s business and they knew mine, it was just that kind of place, and most subjects were up for discussion, but I’ve really not had that kind of conversation at all. There have been a few frustrations (for example my contract which I signed and sent back a month ago had got lost, probably sitting in someone’s in-tray being ignored, and they only found it 3 days after I’d started, so that was all a bit irritating as it means I still don’t have a working email address and I was also beginning to wonder if I’d get hit with emergency tax as my P45 was with the contract), but mostly it is just going to be a case of getting my head down and reading round the subject in preparation for fieldwork – I will be travelling from next month for interviews and regularly thereafter for a good few months, I’m looking forward to the work though will need to get used to long train journeys and B&Bs for a while. I’m still feeling a bit of a novice as the research is in a subject I’m not an expert in, but overall I think it will be a really good experience, and come the end of the year/into next year it should be a lot less pressure and I can do more of the fun bits like writing (and trying to make a difference for clinical practice).

I am though going to need to sort out the diet and how it fits in with work. I have an epic commute every day, so eat my breakfast at stupid o’clock, and then by the time I get to work I’m ready for another breakfast. So that’s going to need a rethink – I might try just having a bit of fruit before I leave then bringing some cereal to work to have breakfast then to take me through to lunch time. On Friday I started thinking about lunch from the moment I walked into the office at 8.45 (and had eaten most of what I’d brought in for lunch by 10!), so that definitely needs some work. 🙂

Balance

I’m a week and a half into my new job, and I’m terrified about getting behind on my thesis. I’m not sure how to make more time for it – my concern is really that I can’t give it much quality time. Even though my hours at work are pretty good and I’m home at a reasonably early time, I’m finding I do need a bit of “vegging out time” in order to wind down and get any of the emotion from the day out of my system (and dealing with people in their raw, everyday lives is very emotional, I’d forgotten just how much). I had planned on coming home and doing an hour or so thesis work before cooking/eating, but I’m struggling a bit with that. Partly because of the need to veg out for a bit first, and partly because I’m being really really good at not eating between meals or snacking on junk while I’m at work, but this means that I come home really really hungry so I’m having to cook earlier than I had planned. And once I’ve eaten, the last thing I want to do is fire up the old brain cells. I’m not really sure how to balance these demands on my time and on my brain and on my emotions.

I’m also missing the intellectual stimulation of university. Today as I drove around I spotted the spire of the university’s main building in the distance, and felt a little twinge of, well, not sadness exactly, but just a feeling of missing out a bit. The distance has been good for me, it (along with my current job) has given me a lot of clarity about where I think I want to go with life and career (such as it is/will be – I’ll never be the ultra-ambitious type). But I feel like I’m losing my touch very quickly, and that’s a bit scary. I have a couple of small things to do (an abstract for a conference talk I’m giving next summer, and updating my biographical details for the book anthology I’ll hopefully be part of) as well as my current thesis chapter, and they both feel like the intellectual equivalent of climbing Mount Everest (especially the abstract – you’d think after all the talks I’ve given I’d be fine with writing a mere 200 words, but they’re nearly as hard to write as the full paper!). I think I’m going to give them a go now, and then dig out someone else’s thesis (in a sort-of-similar vein to mine) to remind myself what I’m aspiring to. (I know that last sentence has terrible grammar, but I’m tired).

anticlimax

Today was my last full day at uni. I hadn’t planned to do anything to mark it, as it’s (sadly!) not the last day of my PhD – I have every intention of marking the submission of my thesis! (although when it finally comes to that all I’ll probably want to do is go to bed). The guy who shares my office with me has been working from home this week, so I’ve been on my own in the office, and so it’s been quite quiet up there. Today I finished up sorting out the mountain of articles and other random bits of paper that had rather taken over most of the desk, and filing them away somewhere where I have a hope in hell of finding them again. (I also put a ton of random bits of paper in the bottom of my filing cabinet and locked the door, so I can delay thinking about what to do with them!). My health visiting job starts on Monday, and so I’ll be working on my thesis in the evenings, which means that I’ll only go to the office every few weeks to pick up the stuff I need for whatever chapter I’m working on at the time, so having it in findable files will be very handy.

It does feel a bit strange though. With all of my friends who’ve done PhDs, it seems that they are all around right up to submission day so there’s a very definite ‘end’ to their PhD experience and life at the university. I suspect in the two or three days before submission I will have to take time off work to do the mad panicked formatting and printing thing, but that on current estimates won’t be until next summer for me. Now I have to get my head round doing something totally different – I really don’t feel in the health visiting zone at all yet! I’m expecting Monday to be a bit of a shock to the system!

Noise pollution

At work the area outside my office building is being dug up (and has been for seemingly ages), and so for some time I have been working with a backdrop of drilling, which I have usually been able to zone out. Over the last week though, the workmen have multiplied, and as well as the ones on the ground more have appeared on the roof of my building. I’m on the top floor, so when they’re walking around with their hobnailed boots it sounds like a herd of wildebeest migrating overhead. Today they started drilling.

By lunchtime I was nearly crying I was so frustrated as it was absolutely impossible to work, or even think – it really sounded like they and their pneumatic drills were in the room with me. I thought I was being melodramatic, but I went for a coffee with a friend who has an office on the same floor as me, and she said the same thing. Unsurprisingly, we will both be working from home tomorrow.

In other news, I heard today that the article I wrote a few months ago (based on the paper I gave at Helsinki) has been accepted for publication by the reviewers and editors, subject to some revisions. This has been a really big boost to my confidence, particularly as the comments were pretty much what I expected and in line with my own evaluations of my work. They are also similar to the kinds of things my supervisors say about my thesis, so it at least also gives me some confidence in their advice as well. I need to do the revisions by the end of August, and providing that’s OK it looks like I shall have something published in an edited volume at some point next year. I’ve also had some positive comments about the draft article I finished last week, so all in all I’m feeling like I’m on the right track, more or less.

Miscellaneous

Today was a bit of a write-off, and I was unable to enjoy this uncharacteristic good weather as the change in weather (and the arrival of some proper sun to go with the balmy 10 degree heatwave!) led to an evil headache. So I headed home after lunch and spent the afternoon in bed – still feeling a bit fragile but I’ve had worse headaches so hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be back to normal. I remember when I went to Romania the other year I spent the first couple of weeks with an almost permanent headache due to the air pressure change, it took me ages to adjust. I must be getting old.

Yesterday I had my penultimate day of tutorials. It wasn’t the greatest ever as tutorials go, but I did have an unexpected ‘pastoral moment’ where I was reminded of what I was good at when I was health visiting, how much I miss that side of things, and how if I get a job in academia (I’m looking at doing part-time nursing, part-time academia and some consultancy on the side, all of which will I think bring me closer to what I suspect my wider vocation might be) the aspect I will really enjoy is the pastoral, personal tutoring side of things. Not that I’m applying for anything yet, but I am starting to think about how to get a week’s worth of nursing-related study in in the next couple of months to get myself back on the register.

HD has a couple of phone interviews tomorrow; all prayers gratefully appreciated 🙂

Working from home

I think I’ve lost the knack.  Which isn’t such a bad thing – I used to work much better at home than at work, so it’s good that I’ve managed to turn work into an environment where I do actually get quite a bit done, and keep home largely a space for homey things.  But on those odd occasions when needing to work from home, it would be nice if I got a bit more done.  [In my defence an upgrade to some software is taking ages, and I have done some things – just not as much as I would have liked]

I may need to rethink, well, not so much career possibilities, but think about organising myself, as working from home isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

Perhaps I should buy a shed and work there.

Doon sooth

So, here I am at the outlaws, and so far we seem to be surviving without anyone wanting to kill anyone else. Which is nice. Actually I managed to get quite a lot of work done today, so it looks like this could work out pretty well. If things go to my (admittedly rather ambitious) plan I could still be ready to start writing up come autumn. Which is scary.

Time warp

I need a time warp. Or maybe a loop in the space-time continuum or something. That’s the only way I think I’ll be able to get all my work done. Argh!

We’re off to the outlaws for the weekend – be good while I’m gone! 🙂