[Terry Pratchett] lives behind a keyboard in Wiltshire and says he ‘doesn’t want to get a life, because it feels as though he’s trying to lead three already’.
Currently, my efforts post-PhD are firmly centered on projects and publishing. Having cut the thesis word count down from 139K words to 90K words and sent off my book proposal for peer review, I am now researching for my Leeds paper in July, writing two more articles for journal submission, editing articles for the co-edited volume I’m involved with, and thinking about the next monograph. Oh, and book reviews. I’m also doing book reviews. I should probably read those books.
I am also developing e-resources for the Welsh Baccalaureate, which contains an Individual Investigation module. Students taking the Welsh Bacc can choose any subject for their individual research topic, and I’m developing history research skills exercises for this. Then there’s the CAER Heritage Project – sorry, the AHRC-funded, national award-winning CAER Heritage Project – for which I’m still the medieval researcher. I’m not sure that with all of this I have a lot of time to balance my social life, go to the gym and take my goddaughter to the cinema, but that’s why schedules were invented.
I’m well aware of market saturation. I’m well aware that I may not get a permanent job for a while. I am well aware that the permanent position I do get may not even be an academic one. But I’m in an incredibly fortunate position. I have my own house, I have a permanent part-time job at my University (alright, as a receptionist at the Uni gym, slightly awkward when I serve my students, but that still counts as an Administrative position with Campus Services and it’s a wage…) and I have a lodger to help with bills. I don’t have a partner or dependents to think of. My family now largely live overseas (we are big on emigration/immigration, it would seem) which means cheap flights + free accommodation = ready-made holidays justified to my withering bank balance as “well, I have to see my mum once a year, right?!?”
Apart from the bit where I have no full time job, no free time and no spare money, I’m living the dream.
I completely understand why people can’t hack this. I think I must be one of those folks genetically engineered to thrive in a high-stress atmosphere, like some really dull Marvel mutant. Multitasking to impossible deadlines is my superpower. Anyway – I’m still here, still loving it, and not going away.
Next up: constructing other people’s lives in medieval Severnside. And then the midlands. And then looking at crossovers. It’s all go, here.