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Academic parents - welcome to the Senior Common Room of Requirement

(206 Posts)
BoffinMum Sat 05-Feb-11 15:23:17

Welcome to the Senior Common Room of Requirement. You find yourself in a discreet space with a view over rolling lawns from large period windows, and a roaring log fire, with the College dog asleep in front of it. A number of comfortable Chesterfields and wing-backed armchairs are thoughtfully positioned around antique occasional tables. A selection of reading matter is on the medieval chest near the entrance, including New Statesman, Economist, New Scientist, Nature, Prospect, THES, every conceivable daily paper, Spare Rib and the Socialist Worker. Peters, the College butler (sponsored by a successful alumnus with a top domestic employment agency, so at no cost to the public purse) is on hand to fulfil all necessary demands. This is the place for MNetters of academic leanings, and post docs and student parents are welcome to knock on the door should they require academic or pastoral advice. Sit back, quaff your sherry, Fair Trade coffee or even a smoothie made from fruit grown in the College grounds, and enjoy.

Familyguyfan Sat 24-Nov-12 21:22:40

This sounds terrible, but its rather nice to hear other academics feeling the same way I do. I work in a male dominated discipline, in a male dominated sub-discipline, where all my colleagues have wives to look after their children. Their idea of childcare problems is having look after their offspring on a Saturday for an hour when they rush off to the supermarket.

REF is killing me, and the whole system I fear. I dread going to a job I use to love. It's terrible really. But at least we're all in it together!

googlenut Thu 22-Nov-12 23:03:12

Networking I don't mind as find it quite interesting to see what other people are doing but don't like presenting and spend too much time worrying before it. Everyone else looks so confident!!

moodwing Thu 22-Nov-12 09:42:04

Hello googlenut, thanks for joining. I can just about deal with the public speaking (if it's not job interview paper presentations of which I've just done two and been comprehensively put in my place)! My biggest issue is networking with other academics. I am quite introverted and I don't feel at all confident about my research or my intelligence really (although I have published in several 4* journals) and I absolutely hate seeking to 'make connections' with people on a really instrumental basis. I just don't even really know how to do it. I'm also in a subject area which is going down a particular road and my research just doesn't seem to fit in. So this job feels really hard at the moment.

googlenut Wed 21-Nov-12 20:40:49

I'm up for a chat as trying to get back into academic life. Doing well on short term contracts in quite an up and coming area. Hate public speaking though so have to get to grips with that if want to progress smile

moodwing Wed 21-Nov-12 12:36:48

Hello everybody. Is this chat room still going? I have just been turned down for two lectureships in what felt like BRUTAL terms. Would so welcome somewhere to chat about the trials and tribulations of establishing (or maintaining) an academic career!

BoffinMum Wed 15-Jun-11 22:47:23

I actually have to have a grid on my door with my comings and goings, such is the intrusion into my autonomy.

justagirlfromedgware Wed 15-Jun-11 20:12:30

Oh glad to know I'm not on my own in the common room. At least here there is some sense of old fashioned values (I believe there's reading material out and about - did I tell you about us having to hide our books behind doors in cupboards because open bookcases are "messy" shock).

I know I shouldn't complain, when I've got a job that I still love and find incredibly rewarding. On the other hand DH, who's a government employee, tells me I should be worrying: that this is the first creeping in of managerialism. Next step I'll have to clock in and out as he has to (and he's a professional, for god's sake).

Mind you, if I do clock in and out then I'll insist the clock covers time spent giving feedback on draft theses two days out of hospital post-op when I should have been signed off for three weeks, going to conferences over weekends, responding to students whilst on holiday (yes, I know I shouldn't) and so on. 50 hours a week, but not complaining. Really grin

BoffinMum Tue 14-Jun-11 22:34:28

<proffers feet so Peters can give foot rub>
<swigs from bottle of college port>

BoffinMum Tue 14-Jun-11 22:33:47

Hello justagirl. I know, the open plan thing is bonkers and is representative of the parallel world space managers live in. Maybe we should send crying students to them instead.

justagirlfromedgware Sun 12-Jun-11 14:35:16

Is the room still open?

Do I need to like port to be allowed in or is a caffeine and green & blacks' addiction sufficient?

How do people working open plan manage? I've just moved into an open-plan office after 10 years of struggling with sharing a teeny tiny office with a fellow course director. Now how the hell am I supposed to deal with students in distress? Ask them to come back in a week after I've booked them a room through our antiquated system?

By the way I should be working on a rewrite of a grant application. Feel free to ignore the moan: it's what's known as a displacement activity.

LittleBobbyTables Fri 06-May-11 21:29:21

<tentatively steps into the SCR with a bag of welcome doughnuts>
Er, hello, may I join you all? Just back from maternity leave. My department is somewhat lacking in women so I am rather pleased to see you all.

Acinonyx Fri 15-Apr-11 22:56:30

comeonbishbosh - glad it's not just me. I hate those uploading gizmos too. The last one got returned to me 3 times because of some ambiguous instruction I had failed to decipher which would have taken 2 seconds to correct at their end but, no, I had to upload the whole blasted lot over and over. confused

BoffinMum Fri 15-Apr-11 22:52:58

This REF thing is now out of hand. How they expect social scientists to produce a top quality paper a year like clockwork is beyond me.

Ironically until now I have not been far off that with sole authored papers in top journals, but the ERC feedback just slagged the journals off. I mean, what the FECK is the point in having an internicine dispute about subjects and their relative status in the middle of someone's research funding feedback????? FECK OFF and READ BECHER you knobs.

drivingmisscrazy Fri 15-Apr-11 22:48:12

hello all - I seem to have totally lost track of this thread - drowning in essays, papers, cuts, more cuts, etc etc. Things are Bad, Very Bad over here - slashing and burning our non-pay budget (e.g. everything other than salaries) - although I was on a job board elsewhere which was equally depressing. Every applicant who was not already REF-ready was cut off without a second glance (it was an entry level job) - so you end up with highly efficient but incredibly narrowly focussed people (who then of course move up through the ranks and endlessly perpetuate management at the expense of intellectual enquiry). I certainly believe in accountability, and am happy to justify my existence, but I am starting to feel that the regulation of the system is utterly at odds with the primary purposes of the system - namely the production and dissemination of knowledge. Sigh. Time for bed.

BoffinMum Fri 15-Apr-11 22:33:54

Shit ERC application feedback.
Pour me a gin, someone.

Mimile Wed 13-Apr-11 19:10:17

that's the spirit!

comeonbishbosh Wed 13-Apr-11 16:10:37

Just popping on here (Hello all! How convivial to have found you!) to say just how much I


the software programmes for uploading papers to journals. They hate me as well so the feeling is mutual. Turns a little job that should be a wonderful relief into the seventh circle of hell.

Obviously, I will celebrate by cracking open the marking.

BoffinMum Thu 07-Apr-11 21:12:47

Oh well that's another rejection to look forward to tomorrow, then <hic>

Mimile Thu 07-Apr-11 20:50:55

the drunken academic... not a classy look!

but eh, this is black Thursday, known as the Thursday of all rejections, when MRC, BBSRC and the like all join hands to dish out some negative feedback and crappy news.

so here to that:
winewine and more wine

BoffinMum Thu 07-Apr-11 20:36:42

Slumped in leather armchair having downed most of a bottle of port.

Acinonyx Tue 29-Mar-11 11:46:46

Yup, thanks, putting it all in my notebook.

GrendelsMum Tue 29-Mar-11 10:15:56

It's been very strongly denied by the AHRC, as I understand. Don't know what the gossip behind it is.

Acinonyx - If you're applying for science grants, a lot of them now want your 'pathways to impact' statement, where you talk about outreach / engagement, how your research will get into the wider world, etc. There's a lot of info on the web about your pathways to impact statement. That might be something you need to hint at in applications?

lionheart Tue 29-Mar-11 09:35:07

I'm wondering what kinds of contortions people will go through to get a 'Big Society' tag into their research proposals.

BoffinMum Tue 29-Mar-11 09:32:17

I don't know why they don't make us sign up to the Tory party as a condition of employment, if they want us to be this partisan. It reminds me in some small way of the way the National Socialists appropriated the academic and legal systems in order to further their political ends and subvert society for their own ends. I am very uncomfortable, and I speak as someone who has published in the area - if I was forced to, I would stop.

lionheart Tue 29-Mar-11 09:23:49

Any thoughts on this?


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