My time at the University of Leicester is drawing to a close now. Strangely I'm going to miss working there, or rather I'm going to miss a lot of my friends that I've worked with. Not that I'm leaving Leicester, just that I'm not going to be about the campus much.
It's a Research Fellow job, which is nice as I can say I'm a Fellow of DMU, rather than a demonstrator. Too many people think that I wander round with placards for a living. Also it means I'll hopefully get more time to myself without mad swathes of people queuing at my door because they broke their web server/C++ program, and the old "Can I bother you on your lunchbreak, because it's not like the other 100 or so students also feel like they can bother you at this exact time daily." I'm also pretty certain B. doesn't also work at DMU, which is a major plus.
Career wise, all going well, it also means in 2 years time I'll have a pretty major post-doc under my belt and be looking at the coveted lecturer post, the harem, the rock and roll lifestyle, the room full of cash I can swim in with my Scrooge McDuck accent and the fleet of fast cars in the basement. Or one of the above.
But you don't want to know all that! You want to know the story of how I got the job. I was going to blog it in January but I wasn't 100% til the contract landed on my door on career moves are the few things I don't blog in case someone interviewing me googles me.
After being invited to interview I knew B. would be in a foul mood the day before the interview, as his ability to wind me up works on some weird intuitive level. True to form that Thursday B. had a pretty good go at me, and to be honest it was probably the most abusive he'd ever been. He started aggrendizing his own role in the office and calling myself, A. and even G. lazy twats. He swore and yelled, amusingly audible to the students outside who came to me with questions and rather worried looks on their faces. In all fairness I got a few jabs in myself, but without yelling or swearing. By the time he finally shut his proverbial geggy I was resolved to escape the shackles of my current job. I should really thank him - if it weren't for him I'd probably end up a 50 year old demonstrator.
Thanks to his diatribe and latest tantrum I instantly made the decision that instead of going fencing that evening and ending up in the pub afterwards I would go home and have a pretty through read of my notes on the department, do some last minute nip/tuck to my presentation and do some studying.
I was pretty emotionally exhausted when I got home (being verbally abused does that to you) but I was elated when I got an email telling me my 1st journal paper was being accepted - useful when you're applying for a research job. Clearly the stars were aligned correctly for this latest adventure?
I went for the interview on literally the last day of the Christmas term. In addition to a nasty C++ quiz they sprung on me without warning (which I would go on to spend all Xmas silently obsessing about and picking holes in my probably misremembered answers) I had to give a presentation on my research interests. I'd managed to retrofit a PhD presentation to be 10 minutes and include a rather nifty animation that might have been useful if I'd thought of it 5 years ago.
Anyroads, fast forward to the 3rd of January, Dundee and I received a phonecall telling me I hadn't got the job, but that I'd impressed them so much they wanted to 'unofficially' offer me another identical job they had in the offing. I was pretty happy to say the least, as the thought of telling B. to shove his head wherever the sun don't shine in his anatomy.
However after the elation I waited and waited, returned from Xmas hols and went back to work. No sooner had I got back to work than my boss called me into his office and asked me why DMU had interviewed me in December and were currently asking him for a reference in mid-January. He had put 2 and 2 together and got 4 - I was going to jump ship shortly. At this time all I could tell him was more news would be imminent.
Anyroads what emerged from this was a circle of sheer frustration - January became February. February became March. My friends were wondering why I hadn't jumped ship. Some were too polite to ask, while others were a little curious. My bosses were ever so slightly keen to know if/when I was leaving as they asked me about my new job every week or so. My contact at DMU kept telling me everything would fall into place soon. I really wished they'd not bothered with the references until they were ready - I was going to keep the new job under my hat until it was official. By the end of January I think the only person who didn't know at work was B.
Then finally at the end of March I got confirmation - things were moving forwards. Of course while they were happy for me to spend 3 months wondering they aren't too happy if I am kept to my full notice period so I've had to negotiate leaving at the end of the May. Which is not long when you factor in holidays etc.
DMU's Computer Science department is in the really spiffy engineering building. Which is nice as its a modern tower, not a 1970s concrete monstrosity like the Chilly Will building - where the lifts and electric doors fail to work on a windy day, the labs are not waterproof and yet money is spent on refurnishing the 6 or so restaurants on a regular basis. The DMU office block I saw around looks really modern, and it's open plan so no more arguing over having the door open.
I'm a little worried - it's only a 2 year contract, meaning once that's over I'll possibly be needing another new job. 2 years isn't as long as it used to be. On the other hand I didn't have any intention of staying in Leicester for 2 more years in my current job, but on the other hand I'd be sad to leave.
This is probably as big as it gets for a while. As most of you know this blog was set up in 2005 when I moved from Dundee to Leicester to stay in touch with you. Now I'm moving from Leicester to uh... Leicester, but in some ways it feels like a bigger move.