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The Academic Life – Welcome Back May 15, 2009

Posted by calvinus in The Academic Life.
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I’ve just been away for a holiday, which was nice.  Wasn’t too bad: the weather was pretty good, food excellent and the company fantastic.

One catch.

Being an academic, for reasons I cannot quite explain (not to you, dear reader, nor to myself) I spent nearly three-quarters of my time inside a university staring, and swearing, at a computer screen.*  Now, in my short career so far, it would appear that holidays tend to be a few rushed days at the back end of conferences or the time spent doing the mad military sweep of friends and family when I return home between Christmas and New Year.  This was meant to be my first proper time off for a while.  What I ended up doing was divving around doing minor bits and pieces of admin and fiddling around with various computational chemistry stuff (primarily Autodock, since you asked).

Oddly, I should probably stress that I am not complaining about this.  Yes, it would have been nice to have been able to profit from the French countryside and do a bit of cycling (always good for the soul) but most of the “work” was actually doing something I honestly find interesting.  This is part of why I am in the job I am in – I get to study the subjects that I find interesting, I get to pick at them and see what makes them tick, and I get to teach it to people who might actually want to learn.  Given that we are currently smack bang in the middle of exam season, we shall shortly find out how effective I have been at the latter, but the point is, there is a lot of freedom to “play” with the things you find interesting.  It is very liberating.

It is very liberating, provided you can survive all the admin that goes along with it.  And the excessive working hours.  And the disrupted holidays.  And the stress levels.

On returning home, on the welcome mat behind the door was a letter.  In this letter was a form.  On the form I had to put a cross in a box.  Two boxes in fact.

Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of strike action?

Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of action short of a strike?

Welcome back.

* Why is installing flash player in CentOS or Ubuntu not as facile as the forums/fora make out?

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