Thursday, November 3, 2011

Keeping my career alive

One of the things that has been a challenge these past 3 months has been not just to keep up with academic duties that comes with the job of being a researcher, but also at least try to continue keeping up with my own work. The good thing is that I am not in an actual paid position at the moment so I don't have someone breathing down the back of my neck, but the bad thing is that the future committee who will review my tenure case, professor application or any other serious step up the academic ladder could not care less. I am a researcher, therefore I work. Paid or not, daycare or not. When we were in London I managed to work several hours every day because I had arranged childcare. Here in Stockholm I had been promised, by the council, that Zoe would have daycare some time in October and hadn't arranged anything else, partly also because a gap in income means we have to save the pennies now. I thought I could deal with looking after Zoe for a couple of weeks. Where, in London, I managed to revise a (good, if I may say so) paper of my own and submit it to the main conference within my field, I have barely managed to keep up my academic duties here in Stockholm. These past few days I have handed in week-late reviews of other's papers, an important duty within academia and one that I had tried to say no to. But then a colleague asked if I could review a paper that didn't just lean on one of my previous studies but which actually built all their data on my old study. If I wasn't the best reviewer, who was? And then this new young colleague had trouble finding anyone and it was already 1 week before the deadline. So I felt sorry for her and agreed to review a paper for her. And then... You see the pattern. This is why I ended up on a Thursday afternoon, half an hour before a date with Mark, in a cafe, trying to remind myself what this paper was about. I must have read it one afternoon at the playground or at least while Zoe was around because the pages are a bit crumbled and 'someone' has taken a bite of one of the corners. My notes are really hard to read but after skimming the paper again, they make sense. It might be a while before I get back to my own research, but then I remember I actually do have someone breathing down my neck. The science fundation that funded my last study just sent me an email reminder that the final report is due at the end of the month. Daycare or not.

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