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to think my family and colleagues are being arses?

(33 Posts)
messymessymessy Fri 09-Oct-09 14:32:32

My career has fallen apart this week. Big big major project on which I've been working since 2004 has been pulled by the other person (it's not essential enough to her career) and has consequently been dumped by the publisher.

(For complicated but unavoidable reasons) this basically means I am now unemployable in my area of academia and that I am going to have to give up everything I've worked towards for the last 20 years. I have no idea where to start looking for a job, no idea of what I could be employed to do - no skills industry could want.

My colleagues couldn't give a monkey's. They all think it was the right decision and the other person can now finally get on with her career (which she has been doing the whole time she's been on the project - she had not actually done anything). They have seen me working day and night to complete this project by the end of this year. They know that it has destroyed my career to have the project just dumped.

My family also couldn't give a monkey's. They just said "oh don't be so melodramatic" and "well you chose that career, maybe you're just reaping the rewards. and you'll have a few more surprises when you see what your career-chasing has done to your child".

I've been working on this career since I was about 10. It has collapsed in a heap. I just said the project had been pulled and that i would now have to start job hunting outside academia. They knew how big the project was- it was all I'd been talking about (in relation to work) for years. Also my father works in the same field - he knows how big it was and that my career is broken beyond repair.

Is that melodramatic?
Is this the time to start accusing me of being a terrible working mother who has destroyed my child's life chances by sending him to nursery?

Am I really missing something here?

FABIsInTraining Fri 09-Oct-09 14:34:29

Since you were 10?

Nothing else you can do?

What were you doing?

traceybath Fri 09-Oct-09 14:35:03

Well it does sound a little melodramatic in terms of you'll never get a job in the same line again but obviously I don't know the full story.

Ignore family's comments about working mothers though - they're mad.

thirtysomething Fri 09-Oct-09 14:38:12

don't know what to say.

It sounds like you've been treated very, very badly by the other person on the project and by other people at work. Maybe they are very embarassed about it and they are hiding that by pretending not to care?

As for family they are being very insensitive and unsympathetic. I have tried to think of words to excuse their attitude but not sure i can without knowing exactly how stuff was said or if they are simply bad at saying stuff tactfully? It seems like very very dismissive and hurtful stuff and you have every right to be fuming.

I guess they haven't stopped to think the full implications yet?

am very sorry for your situation - are there really no other options left in your chosen field? can you get someone else to come in on your existing project?

messymessymessy Fri 09-Oct-09 14:42:06

well not "nothing else I can do" obviously, but nothing else inn the same field because this field depends on a very high rate of output and the only thing that can excuse 5 years zero output is a multi-volume authoritative set of textbooks.
People are having great difficulty getting jobs anyway - I have nothing to show now for the whole time since I finished my PhD (except DS, but employers aren't really interested in him).

Also i have no references because referees have nothing concrete to talk about, and are protecting their own backsides by only talking about concrete published output.

Yes I've been wanting to do this and focusing on this kind of science since I was 10. I know it's a bit focussed but that info was there to explain how big a thing this is for me...

stuffitllllama Fri 09-Oct-09 14:45:51

Can you borrow money to complete the project alone.

wingandprayer Fri 09-Oct-09 14:48:53

Could you talk to publisher and ask if they would be interested in a related or smaller scale project so your effort so far not wasted? In current climate maybe they don't want risk/expense of multi volume? If your partner didn't contribute much/anything do you still have rights to use all info gained as a single researcher?

messymessymessy Fri 09-Oct-09 14:51:32

btw the quotes from family are verbatim.

they then went on discussing my sister's ultra- expensive new house and how nice it is that it's close to their local private prep...

With my funding about to run out and no prospect of further employment, and no relevant experience or skills for any other field (trust me, I've been trying to find something) - we are probably going to have to move house/ start renting, and putting food on the table is not going to be easy with DH's salary going on rent/ car etc.

My family also knows that.

I do realise there are many people worse off than me - I keep telling myself this - but for example we wouldn't be able to get and financial assistance or council housing since we're not from here. So we are really vulnerable....

6feetundertheGroundhogs Fri 09-Oct-09 14:52:02

"and you'll have a few more surprises when you see what your career-chasing has done to your child".

What a load of rubbish, I am OUTRAGED for you. That's SUCH a vicious thing to say.

I'm hoping that you are just in a bit of shock, and perhaps the dead end you see yourself in, is not that at all.

If you were good enough to have worked on this for so long, then clearly you have good skills, and in time you will find somewhere else to use them.

Don't panic. Everything happens for a reason. It might not seem like it, but IME, it generally is. Wait and see what's around the corner for you... It'll be worth the wait.

Putting your child in a nursery teaches them many good and highly important things, they learn to interract with other children and adults better, they have to be more self sifficient, which is never a bad thing. They see that being a mum is not all about staying at home. It's important for our DC to see that we women have choices and can be both working mums, and good mums, the 2 are not mutually exclusive.

Don't allow yourself to beat yourself up for the sake of a few comments made by highly insensitive reasons.

If I were you, I'd take advantage of the time off and take my DS away from all the idiots making those shitty remarks and get some rest and recuperation in. Go take your DC away for a couple of days, be a tourist! Stuff the lot of them.

Chin up girl! Wait and see what happens.

messymessymessy Fri 09-Oct-09 14:53:48

Oh and no, can't borrow money - already have a house mortgage... going to have to sort out what to do about that now.... but couldn't complete the project alone anyway.

and the publisher has just said get lost. and I can't find any other publisher who would take it on as a smaller-scale thing, because the other author's input was integral to it.

messymessymessy Fri 09-Oct-09 16:57:36

what I need on here is good MNer-type suggestions of what to say to colleague who has done this, colleagues in general, and to my family (parents, sister, BIL).

I was so appalled by all of them that I didn't say much at all, just muttered a bit and got out as fast as possible.

But some days down the track I am now feeling like giving it back to them... so suggestinos anyone? grin

ninagleams Fri 09-Oct-09 17:09:43

Ask your colleagues/father what they would do in your situation. What's your PhD in?

3littlefrogs Fri 09-Oct-09 17:17:58

I don't know exactly what you do, but I have been in situations where I have worked for months to set up a project, only to miss the deadline because of other people's incompetance - meaning I don't get paid anything, because I get paid by results, whilst they - who get paid by the state, continue to get their (much bigger) salary.

I can't even begin to imagine how devastating it must be to have invested years and years, only to have the whole house of cards knocked down by someone else.

I am so sad for you. But you must have marketable skills. You need to get back out there and look. Trawl through the professional journals and websites. There will be something you can do.

InMyLittleHead Fri 09-Oct-09 17:20:38

Is it possible for you to go down the teaching route rather than research?

Your family sound right knobs, sorry.

megapixels Fri 09-Oct-09 17:22:15

YANBU, I am appalled that your family especially isn't being more sympathetic. Even if they did have a valid reason to think that your child suffered because of your career now is not the time to say it.

messymessymessy Fri 09-Oct-09 17:22:56

phd1= history/ languages
phd2= old-fashioned descriptive biology

ie total lack of useful skills like maths, programming or molelcular genetics.... and having already changed directions once a big lack of desire to make an even more drastic change.

I asked someone in my office what he'd do. He shrugged and walked off.


I already know what my father will say... "I wouldn't end up in your situation, I was good at my job, I applied for one job in 1966 and kept it" cos he says that to everything when asked to comment...

need an amusing comeback but frankly can't think of anything.

messymessymessy Fri 09-Oct-09 17:24:41

unfortunately teaching route isn't an option because I have taken the research route and thus have basically no experience of teaching, but also the routes aren't divided like that except in the USA, really.

ChunkyKitKat Fri 09-Oct-09 17:33:10

I am impressed at your academic achievements smile

There must be someone who could advise you about careers. How about another professional course, or museum work? I don't really have any idea on how to advise you, but there must be alot you can do. History and languages? Could you be an archivist?

carocaro Fri 09-Oct-09 17:33:26

Don't fret love, you, like many people have to do a 360 career wise at the moment, retrain, use exsiting skills for something new (there must be something you can do), even start again with something completely new eg: you can train to be a teacher.

I am sure all is not lost, are you perhaps quilty of being too focused and having your eyes blinkered from what else is out there after all these years? Without really looking and talking to people you are not going to know.

I just find it hard to beleive that it 'will have destoyed your career'

You have to thing positive and be open to all new possibilities.

Go to seee a life coach, careers advisor, recruitment consultant.

Sod you Dad its 2009 not 1966.

InMyLittleHead Fri 09-Oct-09 17:36:15

This is a bit random, but what about something like the civil service? You could do the fast track and you'd probably be super-brilliant at all their tests. They don't have any restrictions on age, they just want people who are bright and can give at least (I think) 10 years service. Good pensions etc.

The very idea might be horrendous to you but it just jumped into my mind as you are clearly someone who does have a lot of valuable transferable skills.

Can't really think of an amusing comeback to your dad, would probably just say 'Oh piss off'

ChunkyKitKat Fri 09-Oct-09 17:37:21

Tell you dad you have every right to be as academically fulfilled as he is and you need support.

3littlefrogs Fri 09-Oct-09 17:39:36

The world of academia is very insular and isolated from the rest of the world. There will be other opportunities out there for you, but you have not really looked before.

Blackduck Fri 09-Oct-09 17:39:56

Okay it seems like the end of the world at the moment - and in a way it is the end of ONE world, but you do have skills and things to offer (its just at the moment you can't see them....)
First step tell your dad this IS 2009 and not 1966 and jobs/careers/life is completely different. Actually just don't bother, sod them all, don't waste time and energy on them....
Get yourself over here and start looking at whatelse you can do.....

3littlefrogs Fri 09-Oct-09 17:41:36

How old are you?

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 09-Oct-09 17:55:26

I can empathise with how you must be feeling at the moment. I also fell off the career wagon in a big way (my choice, in my case) so I know what it's like to have invested your time, and your sense of who you are in one thing.

Because it has just happened you may be seeing it in quite black and white terms at the moment, but given time to "mourn" what's happened, then sit down and systematically take stock of your skills, experience and what you'd like to do next

That website looks useful ...

Your family, frankly, sound like they have a complete inability to put themselves in your shoes and show support, so I wouldn't waste any more time talking to them about it.

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