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Anyone want a general chat?

(292 Posts)
LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 23-Jan-17 12:31:02

By which title I mean, of course, that I am procrastinating and if I can't rise above it I'd love to drag you all down with me. smile

What are we all doing this term, and how's it going?

I'm trying to kick my book proposal into shape after yet another set of comments. I've lost track of how many times it's been 'nearly there' but I think it really is nearly there. Honest.

Viewofhedges Mon 23-Jan-17 12:59:52

I'm still marking. After a 2nd weekend of continually marking. So today is my 15th day on the go? 4 to go and then marking will be over (until the next pile of 80 scripts lands on my desk but hey).

Am also supposed to be brushing off CV and getting ready for applications and this is terrifying.

Oh and I have a lecture to plan.


LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 23-Jan-17 13:02:10


I am also on the trawl. Although at the moment, the powers that be are mercifully making sure I needn't contemplate the stress of applications, by ensuring there are no jobs whatsoever. Joy.

Viewofhedges Mon 23-Jan-17 13:17:06

Sorry to hear that. Hopefully there will be soon. I'm, on the other hand, faced with an open job advert at a place I REALLY want to go to but knowing that I have no time whatsoever to make it look like I know what I'm doing. If I can't make myself look good for that place then I will cry. Am currently fixed term contract where I am now and very aware of the need to get something else, and fast....

Hence indeed just posting from my other account (lurkingnonparent, phone related password faffy issue, long story) on help to even start to present myself properly.

Anyway meanwhile I have one more essay to mark, a lecture to prepare, a chiropractor's appointment to get to and 5 hours to drive to get to work for tomorrow. I probably should go...!

Good luck with it all and waving to you in solidarity!

MarasmeAbsolu Mon 23-Jan-17 19:41:39

ViewofHedges - I am going to the chiropractor tomorrow again too smile
This is thanks to my pre-Xmas coding-work binge which led to being hunched over laptop for 7 days straight (with barely any break), leading to blocked nerve, dead lower arms and legs. Misery.

LRD - thanks for the chat. I should not be procrastinating, as I promised a draft (overdue) to a colleague on Friday. I have, of course, not started, since I have been to the office today [where all good intentions vanish and admin catches up with you].

Otherwise, good start to 2017 - one grant in, one paper in, 220 (!!) exams marked and feedback provided. Some big wobble though, with staff and PhD students being dramatic sad

MedSchoolRat Mon 23-Jan-17 20:13:03

I don't usually moan, much less moan about my job, but think I'd like to vent a little.

I have become very competent in X-specialism.
I am newly working with Y who is very experienced (highly respected) at X-specialism.
The work we're doing in X (under Y's supervision of the large team) is really sloppy. Almost shockingly so.
I like Y personally, and Y has a personal tragedy unfolding (everyone knows).

Such a weird situation! Not feeling the love for the project. Will be glad when it's over. Lots of other better opportunities afoot, thank goodness.

MarasmeAbsolu Mon 23-Jan-17 20:27:35

mmm - tough one, MSR!
Why is it sloppy? crap design, shit methods, or crap leadership? or all three?

Reminds me of a current project :/

MedSchoolRat Mon 23-Jan-17 20:44:57

(deliberately vague / changing minor details)
Possible protocol violations. In my mind, anyway.
Not replicating & verifying the experiments fully.
Inefficient copying information around which means too many opportunities for error propagation (this is the part that bothers me the most), not enough checksums.

Also, I'm being asked to run experiments where I know the data will be meaningless and lead to no improved scientific understanding (big challenge what we would write in the "What this Research Adds" box in the BMJ).

One of my regular team partners is really nice, though. Glad I am getting to know her better. At least there is that gain. Nobody in the team is unpleasant, either. Just a disappointment because I appreciate how Y has taught me to do things to a high standard in past. Oh well, Will keep my head down!!

MarasmeAbsolu Mon 23-Jan-17 21:27:44

... still aiming for BMJ though grin wink

Makes me think of project in the semi-recent past - I was running through some personal shit, and did not keep a tight enough control on my research (or my RAs who were very junior) - once I got back to some normality and had the courage to lift the lid on the whole raw data, my heart sank. It was just a pile of semi-crap, with gaps in QC, QA the lot. Could not trust any of it so had to redo everything from scratch (the RAs had long gone).
Do you think it is because Y is going through some shit at the mo?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 23-Jan-17 22:28:02

view - good luck with the application! It is horrible not having time to do justice to them (been there with that, last year). But then these things extend to take up all available time anyway!

mara - hello! No problem. Hope it wasn't presumptuous of me to start it, but I was missing them.

med - that sounds such an awkward situation.

MarasmeAbsolu Tue 24-Jan-17 22:55:23

Nothing of the sort. It s good in term of grounding!

I have tried to not procrastinate today and it hakf worked with a skeleton of a drat dhaping up. Whether i ll make the friday deadline i have remains to be seen, with the meeting marathon of the end if the week...

I need to get papers out. People are getting REF-aggressive in my school. ..

purplepandas Wed 25-Jan-17 12:11:33

Just jumping into the thread. You all soundvery productive, Working on coding (next stage) for a paper today. Sent a very rough draft of another paper to CIs yesterday. I am getting harsher and saying what is needing to be done and by when. I am fed up of not progressing papers because people have not read and commented on stuff. Difficult when it is colleagues you really get on with and like though!

Also marking here, joy.

I am struggling with workload and children. Does anyone seriously do the academic (teaching and research) work without going over hours? It's not possible I am sure!

MarasmeAbsolu Wed 25-Jan-17 17:45:42

Purple - i don't do it all in office hours. Actually, i do little in office hours because we have "glass walls" and semi-open space. And therefore cannot escape students dropping in, colleagues on a procrastination hunt, administrators looking for answers etc.

So most done on late evenings and WE and on conf trips

It s crap and i d love someone to tackle our very ineffective work environment

purplepandas Wed 25-Jan-17 19:40:10

Thanks Marasme, that really helps. Sometimes I feel it is me who is just not coping and that I must be being really inefficient. I honestly don't think it is doable in the office hours time (and I do have my own office). Your set up is trickier and it is more what I have known in the last. My own office is a recent luxury!

It is what it is and I do love what I do. We also have a lot of flexibility and autonomy and I love that too. The honesty is really appreciated though. It is making me feel better. I think I am struggling more as I can't do what I used to on the w/e as small people around. Ah well, we can only do our best!

MarasmeAbsolu Wed 25-Jan-17 20:42:59

not sure which idiot came up with academic open offices. Here, everyone from postdoc to prof share to some extent in little "hubs" [bollocks!]

you cannot see student at your desk because of the confidential stuff (and the tears!), you cannot write, you cannot think. Result is that I have started resented the person sharing my "hub". The way she batters her keyboard drives me bonkers angry

i definitely managed more over WE and evening when kids were smaller. Now they are big, they have more of a voice, and clear expectations that this time is theirs. It makes me very cranky....

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Wed 25-Jan-17 20:55:47

I am incredibly lucky as I am in an old building with a very small office. It's not desirable or fancy, but it's small and mine. I mainly work from home though at the moment, so write a lot in bed. For some reason I'm more productive when sitting in bed than writing at the table. It must be psychological!

purplepandas Wed 25-Jan-17 21:00:47

How funny foureyes, I sometimes write in bed too. I was coding at home today in bed,mostly because the house was freezing and it was warm!

marasme, that sounds tricky and I totally get the hub resentment feelings. I was until v recently in a shared office and it can be v unproductive as you say. Madness indeed.

I hope you get your book chapter draft sorted despite open plan distractions and bigger children with voices!

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Wed 25-Jan-17 22:48:19

Purple yes bed is warm but it also feels relaxing to me, not like work. Just another psychological trick to make myself write without noticing.

Marasme it's interesting that you say it has got more difficult as the children are a bit more demanding now, I'd say the opposite, I definitely have more time now they are off texting their friends or Instagramming or whatever, however when they are demanding, they are really demanding (so emotionally needy rather than physically). I guess it's just a fairly constant backdrop whatever age they are.

MarasmeAbsolu Wed 25-Jan-17 23:21:59

4eyes mine are not quite instagramming yet. They are still at nursery / primary stage - not babies, but still needing a lot of mummy time!

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Wed 25-Jan-17 23:44:02

Oh yes, little enough to need you a lot, but getting old enough to blackmail you 'mummeeee, when are you coming back?' (sad face). I even had 'other mums stay at home'. I just used to say 'good for them!'

It is difficult if you work from home a lot as well, I think, the boundaries of work/home time are blurred and you end up fending them off a lot. I do wonder if that's what they'll remember of their childhoods: 'not now, I'm working'. Whereas if you are out of the house til 6pm, then it's much clearer that you are unavailable.

MarasmeAbsolu Thu 26-Jan-17 18:59:55

I think my kids will def remember that the main person in my life is my laptop!

They ve been going to my group meetings since they were tiny too, so they have a vague understanding of the dependency relationship with the phd students who they know well.

Still - that must be an odd childhood, much different to the one i had in a small town with a DM working PT in a non-career job. Which she (DM) does highlight no end!

iveburntthetoast Sat 28-Jan-17 19:59:10

I'm just sticking my head in....thank goodness I have my own office (with the most amazing views). There's been talk of an open working space to share with students confused. The Dean thinks it will make a strong academic 'community'.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 30-Jan-17 17:02:11

How exactly does that work when you're marking their dissertations?!

MarasmeAbsolu Mon 30-Jan-17 17:25:53

I guess it s not UG or PGT - more research students?
TBH if i ve got to share, i would luch rather share with my group; it d be a way to have them all at close range!

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 30-Jan-17 22:16:05

I think I would still have found working in an open plan office with my PhD dissertation supervisor rather odd.

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