Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Feedback, progress and thoughts

Occasionally something random happens and it creates an opportunity for you to take steps you have been thinking of but unable to take to date. I managed finally to get a job. Yeah.... Not in the sciences as such. I'm now a Specialist Buyer for a large Academic Booksellers. This is a role which suites me to a tee. It's one I'm happy in and has opened the door to many other opportunities. I get to meet publishers and their reps from many areas. I get to explore the events organising side of things (experience I have from organising Comics events and conferences previously come in handy here). I also have a chance to read and watch whatever I fancy and write about what I read as a professional - Book and DVD reviews here I come.

It's the realisation, that I might be able to take the step into professional writing, which has been tempting me for a long time, which has prompted me into getting feedback from another professional writer I respect and trust. Today, a few months after asking if he'd be willing to give some feedback, I've finally had the courage to send the Professional writer (he writes scripts, books and more; plus has extensive editorial experience) some of my stuff. I've linked to the Cheryl Bainbridge mini story and sent a few chapters of a story I worked on a while ago. Right now I want to know if I have the skills needed to potentially take that next step. I have seriously started to think of ditching the thesis and putting the energy and time into the set of potential sell able works I've been collating notes on for a while. That children's book (which has already got a publishers rep interested); the couple of scripts which are begging to be wrote (or should I say attempted as I've never written a script before) and the couple of novels which I have been brewing to the point of them almost being self writing.

All this is giving me a chance to ask the questions - Do I really need to finish my thesis? Will I gain anything more from battling my way through something I hate? The answers right now are resounding No's.

It's not as if I will learn how to handle the editing process (I've already published 3 papers in journals). It's not as if it will teach me stamina (after almost 5 years of battling on it may be the skill of walking away which is more valuable to learn). What have I got left to learn from my thesis? Any comments welcome.

Monday, 6 June 2011

The endless hunt for fulfilment

I'm still hunting harder than I've ever done.
Looking for a job to come,
Looking like I'm the only one*. The endless hunt for fulfilment

*Instead of the 200+ people who seem to be going for my jobs.

Yes, 200+ people applying for the roles I'm applying for. Seems the economy is screwed and the sciences even more so.
I've decided plan B is not working. Time to really think about a return to plan A, or a variant of it. Plan A.2. Maybe someone out there wants to employ a logical/organised person with a passion for acting/singing and writing. Experience as a project manager and as retail manager. Flexible and able to take on most roles (not phone sales or market research).

I've found 2 roles I could do stood on my head and be happy with at the Federation of Scottish Theatre - I can indulge my love of the creative without feeling a fraud for being hyper efficient, organised and logical. Who knows, they may like me. I may get a call back.

Here's looking at you kid ;) Embrace yourself entirely, because you can only find happiness if you do.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Balancing jobseeking, thesis writing and fiction

I haven't written for a while. Well, not on my blog. Though I have started a larger blog project which is coming along swimmingly. May mention it here one day.
My time has been spent finding a way to balance a lack of job and therefore the need to find a job, writing papers and my thesis, and what still feels like a guilty pleasure - writing fiction.
Why is it that what I really enjoy makes me feel guilty? Possibly because I don't see a way to make it into a living. Having said that, I have decided to have a wee plunge. I'm going to spend a few days working on a short story for a competition, which if I am talented enough to win will allow me a couple of months breathing space to carry on writing everything else. Who knows, maybe I'll become a fiction writer with a love for science instead of a struggling scientist with the passion for fiction writing. As a friend of mine writes on his blog - Onwards.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Dental horrors and budget stress

One thing I hate, or should I say am terrified of is Dentists. I have a severe dental phobia which arose after one bad session with my last dentist. Due to this I've avoided them like the plague (given one of my friends habits of bringing home her microbiology specimens by accident, I probably avoid dentists MORE than the plague). With this in mind, imagine the lovely time I'm having right now; a chunk of something (probably tartar) fell from behind my lower front teeth yesterday. I'm not in any real pain, just keep poking my tongue in the hole and making a vacuum which is causing gum tenderness. Can I stop it? No, I was even doing it in my sleep. Hence me knowing I need to bite the bullet and go get a check-up with a scale and polish. Not being registered I found a local dentist willing to take me on (reliant on NHS dentistry due to no jobs bearing fruit).

So, now I know I have a dental appointment do I feel happier? No. The terror, which started last night as I became aware that I should go have a check up, is now raging like a stormy sea pummelling the shores and making all sane creatures hide. By the time I get to the appointment I may be a gibbering wreck. Even going into a dentists today to ask if they took NHS patients was enough to bring on a panic attack. Oh fun. Looks like a good few days till the end of the appointment on Monday. Hopefully I will manage to stay in control enough to get the thing over with. Fingers crossed and all that.

Along with the horrors of Dentistry, the entirety of Britain sat and waited for the emergency 'mass buggering', sorry 'budget' to be anounced this week. So how screwed am I? Well, as I now have no job and have to rely on benefits while writing job applications for my new profession, I'm not too screwed so far. However, getting a job is probably going to be tougher as research councils and universities feel the squeeze. This means the time reliant on benefits is likely to be extended, possibly to the point where the new 10% reductions come into force. It's not scary yet, but there are really big clouds on the horizon and the future is far from sunny.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Living with a long haired Charlie Brooker

Last night I heard frantic typing while I was trying to sleep. My partner was writing me a letter.

This morning I said I'd wondered if he'd started blogging - his response, 'No, I don't know what I'd write. I have nothing to say.' This coming from a long haired angry man was gob smacking. I suggested pick something from the news and let loose on it. I know he makes me laugh (side splittingly so) when he's on his 24 hour daily rant fest and figured others would like it too. We used to have friends over who'd spend most of the Sunday dinner trying no to splutter roast potatoes across the room as he went into full throttle sarcasm and bile. Basically I live with Charlie Brooker's twin, and that's the problem. My partner doesn't want to be seen as copying Charlie, even though he's been Mr comment, rant and bile since before Charlie became famous. Hence me being puzzled and exasperated and wanting to rant. WHY, would someone so intelligent and outspoken shut up because he's worried he'll be copying someone else. My partner is the equivalent of Charlie and Victor Meldrew blended together and brewed for 30+ years. If he let loose on a public forum it would be wonderful to watch, all our friends want to see him let rip and keep threatening to tape our dinners and post them on the net. Others beg him to go on stage, daily mail in hand, and wait for the eruption, 30 seconds isn't too long to wait while he reads the headlines is it?Why can a man with a natural talent like this take back seat. He has a go at his sister (an award winning young film maker who's uber lazy) for squandering her talents and he's doing the same because he doesn't want people thinking he's copying someone. ARGH. See, now he's got me ranting.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Job interviews just like buses

Anyone who has spent some time job hunting will know that job interviews are like buses, there are none for ages, then 3 arrive at once. Of course, the hard thing is when the job you want most is the first interview, then you have to act as positive about the others while you have every finger and toe crossed hoping you managed not too come over too bad on the one you want. This finger and toe crossing usually effects your performance at the other interviews (gives you a funny walk and makes it hard to shake hands for starters) meaning you are probably not going to get the other jobs so in reality having 'not cocked up' the 1st interview becomes even more important.

This interview juggling scenario is also effected by the urge to check your emails or wait by the door in case the letter arrives to say you have (or have not) got the job you want most. If the important email arrives as your waiting for the next interview it could lead to an interesting conundrum. Do you say I have just got a job which I'm taking so can we cancel the interview; do you stay quiet, do the interview and have them offer you the job 2 days later at which point you say sorry I have to decline; or do you stay quiet and try to increase your offers by playing they two offers against each other slightly. I say slightly as this last scenario could lead to you loosing both offers which would not be good.

Oh, Job interviews, you fickle beasts where people decide your worth on a few high pressure questions and possibly end up making the wrong choice and leave the right person sitting at a laptop looking for more places to practise their hand shakes.

As you can probably tell, I had an interview for a really good job, which I want, yesterday, I'm now using every zen thing I can not to sit on the door mat with my laptop email updating every 20 seconds and my eyes propped open with match sticks so I don't miss the you have (have not) got it moment.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Changing face of Britishness

I remember when I was little, people used to joke the reason we British used to talk so much about the weather was because it was a safe subject - non offensive and we have a lot of weather. Subjects which were unsafe included Religion and Politics as they were seen as having the potential to offend. Fast forward 20-30 years and now religion and politics are seen as THE things to be talking about. What are your views? Are you an Atheist? Do you accept other peoples views or beliefs even if they clash with your own? What about your political views? Who are you going to vote for? ....... The questions and answers keep coming. Most of my work colleagues (see people in the uni I still work round, contacts and friends made from work etc.) and most of my friends and family know my views and oddly enough without even trying to screen people by these views they agree with me. We are mostly Atheist Liberals (Voting Lib Dem in the next election). It's odd how some of these people I've known for years, yet it's only now that it's safe to talk about the untalkable that these very British people have started to discuss and admit to the things we have in common.

May you live in interesting times - supposedly a Chinese curse - I think I like interesting if it means we stop being worried about offending and instead get to know people better.

I'm Severia, I'm Atheist and Liberal. Nice to meet you.