I started the entry a couple of weeks back and never had the gumption to finish it off. It was going to be a meandering post about what I thought my options might be, how I was feeling about being imminently unemployed, and whether I might leap into some cliched angst about where I was in my life.

Here’s a bit of what I’d written:

“Next week is the last of my current contract. This means that I’ll be unemployed after next Friday. I have a few irons in the fire (it’s going to be a cliche-ful post, so gird your loins [see?]), and the feeling of being in career limbo is equal parts exciting and terrifying. The ‘terrifying’ stems mostly from the fact that a mortgage sleeps for no-one.

I want to stay in Melbourne, so the job search parameters are limited in this way. I moved down from Brisbane in 2004, and I’m not done with living here. I feel very at home now, and having had two kids in the time I’ve been a Melburnian certainly helps. The thought of hopping around the countryside with my household in tow (partner, 2 young children, mother, dog, 2 cats [one ancient one]) is daunting and unattractive. Putting down roots + spending more time building on my buddy network, sending the kids to the local (v. good) primary school, not having to find another house…all these things are seductive.”

I’ve been unemployed now for a whole week. The end of my contract at the university was most definitely a whimper rather than a bang. No-one really said goodbye. No-one threw me a party. No-one gave a speech. This is what I did get:

  • Five notifications from the university that my job was ending.
  • An adjunct appointment to keep my institutional email alive + retain access to the library.
  • No offer of any ongoing work.

I say all this with no bitterness or wangst. Being a research fellow can be a very odd position; you’re a part of the place, but also not really. You have the luxury of not getting too involved in the politics of teaching loads and committee appointments, but this means you’re not privy to much of what’s going on in the place and you don’t have much of a chance to cross paths with your colleagues.

I’m not totally gone from the corridors, either, which may explain the somewhat blase attitude to my flagging the imminent end of my contract. I’m keeping my office till the end of the year, and I’m still wearing a lot of hats (considering no-one’s paying me to undertake any of the roles).

I’m still waiting to hear about the outcome of the ARC Future Fellows round. The Discovery rounds were announced at the end of October, and my application didn’t get up. I sulked for a day, which I thought was fairly restrained considering how long it takes to put one of those things together.

All my buddies reassure me that it won’t be long before I find a job. It boggles my mind sometimes that I have a PhD, have worked for almost 10 years in the field, published quite a few things, hold some fairly high-level (and fun) academic positions, founded a research network…and could be out of the profession, just like that.

I’ve chosen to be a research fellow twice, and not apply for lecturing positions. I’ve seen peers reach Lecturer C, then D, and some are poised already for E (professorial). I’ve hovered at B for about six years now. Life’s not about levels and titles, I know, and I rarely maunder on about it. But, yes, only human at times.

This post sounds a little melancholy, which is not my intention, and it is certainly not a reflection of my current mood. I’m, in fact, a tad giddy with possibilities and – would you believe this? – excited about Christmas funstering with my family.