A Many Splendored Week

Well there goes another week, and what a week it was.  Well, actually it’s been about 7 working days since the last post, but you know what I mean.  Or at least I hope you do.  Actually, the idea that anyone will ever understand anything I write is weighing heavily on me at the moment, as I’ve been working on writing the introduction to the second field work chapter in my thesis.  I can’t believe it’s taken me the best part of 3 days to get 3,000 words into some vague semblance of coherency.  And then of course Mrs Llama looked over my shoulder and told me it was gibberish in a lot of place.  Just what I need, more stress!

Aside from the writing I’ve been working on developing the coding frame for my qualitative analysis of my phase 2 field work.  Having gone through this process once before, this time I’m hopeful that I can speed it along a little bit.  And from the progress I’ve made in a couple of days, I am fairly confident that it will be sorted by next week, and I’ll be able to kick off the full-scale coding of the data.  I’m aware though I’ve actually two sets of data to work on, and this is only the coding for the first chunk, hence the need for a little more speed.  But truth be told, the data in total is not quite as massive as my first field work – thankfully!

Unexpectedly one of the potential interviewees I thought had just stopped replying to my emails a couple of months ago suddenly re-appeared in my inbox yesterday.  Since they belong to a group that I’d like to hear a little more from, I’ve made arrangements to speak to them next week.  Thankfully it’s before I’ve done any coding work on the actor interviews, so it’s not something that’s going to derail me.

I did have a little outing on Tuesday to the city campus.  I’d been invited along to meet with the sponsors who bank rolled (pun intended) my trip to Vienna.  Having slogged my guts out over the poster for that in recent weeks, I was rather looking forward for a chance to say ‘thanks’, to have some discussions with some non-academics about the value of my research etc, and perhaps to meet a few other PhDs and seeing their posters.  As it was I think I was the only PhD recipient of the scheme to turn up; all the rest seemed to be undergrads who’d gone off on some form of sponsored internship as part of a related scheme.  Not to mention no posters were visible – which leads me to the conclusion that they’re in the bank’s vault somewhere to be dragged out whenever they want to show ‘Hey look, we do community stuff’.  Really wish I’d not spent a fraction of the time I did agonising over its production now!

Bankers Unite!
Bankers Unite!

As the VC and the banking chief signed another 3 year concordant, I realised I was just meat in the room – there to make up the numbers and make the bankers present feel important.  And there were a LOT of bankers.  It was also very interesting to hear the VC and the chief banker talk about all the lovely synergies between HE and the finance sector…which I did my best not to mutter about into my beard.  Actually, I’d tried my best to put on my best PR face having gone in my lovely velvet jacket, but as the room turned out to be rather warm was slightly regretting it.  I did have a brief discussion with one of the senior banking chaps about my work, but he was mostly determined to find out if the investment of my time (and their money) had been worthwhile, before making a swift exit to talk to someone more interesting.  It wasn’t a total waste of a four hour round trip for me, I did get lunch and Mrs Llama got some biscuits I bought on the way back to the station.  But it wasn’t really the most profitable use of my time, that’s for sure.

Aside from that the only noteworthy news this week is that I was offered the job I was interviewed for. After a bit of thought, and mild salary negotiations, it looks like I’ve going to take it.  And naturally I’ll talk a bit more about it, once the ink’s dried on the contract (currently, I’m at the verbal acceptance stage and haven’t signed anything).  As for the other jobs I’d applied for, 2 of them I’ve heard nothing a couple weeks after the closing date.  But of the other 2, one at Sheffield Hallam turned me down (but were decent enough to tell me), and another one – a very interesting RA job for 3 months invited me to interview.  I turned them down with some considerable regret – the job was a little bit further away than I would have liked (~90 miles) and 2 days a week – so it could well have eaten into my research time a bit too much.  All the same, it was very flattering to get that far, and hopefully bodes well for when I’m applying for full-time jobs…you know, once I get this PhD done and dusted.

Wasn't that near the front
Wasn’t that near the front

And not even time to mention my epic 12hr roundtrip to London on Sunday evening to see Weird Al in concert.  Utterly, totally worth the trip – but boy was I wasted on Monday.  At least I’m still a student for now, and can do these occasionally mad things without worrying too much about being up at the crack of dawn on a Monday!

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