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New job, no news

2 Sep

'Never go back' has always been a useful motto – as well as a statement of the obvious given the inexorable passage of time.

So why am I disregarding it and returning to my old lecturing job at Leeds Met? Well, I do so a bit chastened, but with some relief. I also do so humbly, knowing there were some good candidates in the running.

I've had a mixed time since leaving full-time employment almost two years ago. 2009 was a difficult year that ended in disappointment (let's just say that the timing wasn't right for me at the University of Gloucestershire). 2010 has been busy and challenging (how many university lecturers work flat-out in August, including several weekends?), but the highlight was leading a summer course for high-achieving graduates studying with Johns Hopkins University.

The cash flow has been acceptable – but as a freelance you live with uncertainty and the constant threat of famine. I hope not to lose sight of my instinct to take on new challenges despite returning to the payroll.

'Not exactly a team player' was a damning but truthful comment made of me in a graduate interview I attended long ago. Despite this, I value loyalty. I've continued working for Leeds Met despite 'leaving' and I'm immeasurably grateful for their loyalty to me. I value the contact with students and graduates too (another two-way street as I often find myself writing references and giving advice).

Opposite of exotic

Before the resumption, I'm taking some days' leave (holiday would be a misleading term). One of the side-effects of being married to a travel writer is the decision over holidays: we often choose not to go far.

Next week, we'll be on a small island off the north west coast of Wales, living in a house without electricity, running water, internet or even a phone signal. There are no shops, few people, no roads. Nothing. Our holiday is about the absence of things. This may sound strange, but until recent decades most of humanity has lived like this. Many of us in western societies could benefit more from the absence of things than from yet more surplus.

Gail recommends it highly. Perhaps I'll find another reason to break my 'never go back' motto.