Thursday, December 23, 2004

Going through the motions

We have what would be called a skeleton staff, most of whom are going through the motions to preserve their annual leave entitlement. The last week of non-work has been punctuated by christmas parties. Unfortunately this meant a diminished audience for our seminar speaker, who was yet another oxford man looking for a new home. Apparently he had been for informal talks before with the big cheeses, but none of them had bothered to organise any sort of schedule for his "official" visit. Actually I felt sorry for him because he had bravely driven 5 hours and had to talk before we gave him any grub. He was quite down to earth and we had a good discussion about mutual research interests. It struck me that he was probably not enough of a self-promotor or political enough to get a job in our place.

The university has deemed that Christmas Eve is a compulsory day of annual leave. So this afternoon I will be clearing my desk by putting all the paper in a big bin liner. I am sure I won't miss it!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to my reader. I will be back in the New Year for some more moaning.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

End of the tunnel

Blinking I emerge into the light. The 4th and final grant of this year was submitted last week, after a torturous week of inspiration, perspiration, self-doubt and sleep deprivation. The fun continued this week, when I realised that I had to present my big moneyspinning idea to a panel of suits. This involved more work over the weekend learning the lingua franca of business; spin-outs, licensing, up-front payments,dolby B, 5:1 surround sound etc. Fortunately I had a lot of help on the presentation from a friend in the business, and gave a reasonable performance as an entrepreneurial scientist. Afterwards I realised that the last time I worked this hard for such a sustained period was during my PhD. I felt a quiet sense of achievement but this soon disappeared after I rejoined the human race by queuing in Argos.

Spent this morning reading and correcting printers proofs for a manuscript. This is one of the nice parts of the job, there is a certain satisfaction about seeing a project that has taken 3 years to finish, finally translated into a crisp black and white document. "Sad loser" I hear you say but other scientists will understand.

Hostilities within the department have been put on hold on the run-up to Christmas, as has everything else including work. Woe betide anyone who has a deadline in the last week before Christmas, when most of the staff are either hungover and/or missing. Tis the season to be jolly!

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