Mid-winter soup

Thai style wonton soup (Photo by asiansupper - https://www.flickr.com/photos/asiansupper)
Thai style wonton soup (Photo by asiansupper – https://www.flickr.com/photos/asiansupper)

This post isn’t about real soup. Let me get that out of the way. Won ton soup is one of my all-time favourites, though, so I thought I’d treat you to this delicious photo.

It’s a potentially messy round-up of recent things that have happened, seeing as I haven’t written anything since April.

Those of you who pay attention to everything I’m doing (yes, so many of you) will notice that everything old is new again. I’ve swapped back to the blog template that I was using a couple of years ago. It feels cosy, and I like it. It makes me think of chocolate.

This week’s been a good one for writing and profile satisfaction. When I’m blogging away after a day’s work, when the kids are asleep or on the weekend (such as now, on a Saturday night, at almost 11pm…), I often ask myself why. Not in the sense that I think it’s pointless, because I don’t, but whether I’m investing time in activities that are more obligatory than enjoyable.

I think this has become a more common thought because I’m now back in an academic role, and my profile as a research educator is directly connected to my Research Whisperer activities.

Three reasons for the writing satisfaction this past week:

  1. I went looking for the article I wrote for NTEU’s UniCasuals magazine, Connect. It’s titled “Things I wish I’d known about alt-ac” and is published in their July 2014 issue. UniCasuals has actually put it on their website, which has made it much easier to access and resulted in a great set of engagements with various people on Twitter and Fb. The post is a worked up version of the short talk I gave when I was invited to Charles Sturt University’s inaugural (and fabulous) DocFest. I’m passionate about flying the flag for a more sophisticated and unbiased consideration of alt-ac (alternative academic careers). There’s too much hierarchy and shored-up snowflake status in many people’s attitudes towards those who leave academia.
  2. My Research Whisperer post from last week, “Are you being ‘grantist’?” generated some good conversation, and was picked up by the WordPress folk for their Freshly Pressed showcase (and turned up last night, Oz time).
  3. I was interviewed / quoted in a piece on The Conversation (written by Michael Lund) on a piece that Professor Brian Schmidt published in Nature.

The writing that I’m doing on blogs and for magazines is now also competing with my starting up academic writing again. I’ve had a three-year hiatus from researching and writing academic papers. The last couple of publications I had were in 2011, co-authored pieces with Rodney Noonan in Australian Historical Studies and Continuum.

So far since I took up the new job in late March, I’ve completed a book chapter, am working on another (as well as involved in a co-authored book), will be presenting and writing a paper for an invite-only symposium on digital academia, and have been invited to present on various topics around research education and grant development.

On top of everyday job commitments, it feels ever so slightly full. Almost too much. Which is how I like it. As much as I chafe at deadlines and have last-minute staring-at-the-ceiling panics about how I’ll get all these things done, looking back on what I do get done is never something I do with regret.

In fact, the most regret I’ve had in recent times was when I was in a professional job and not actively working on academic projects, and wishing I was. Wishing I had things I could bring to the research table, and the continuing debates in my field.

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2 thoughts on “Mid-winter soup

  1. Jonathan O'Donnell 27/07/2014 / 12:06 am

    Remember, I’ve got your back at the Research Whisperer, if you want to pass some of it over so that you can devote more time to academia. 🙂

    • Tseen Khoo 28/07/2014 / 11:51 am

      Thanks, Jonathan. I’m still working out what a good rhythm of researchh/writing is in my brave new world. There are so many more interconnections that it’s not as easy to demarcate as before. Which is good in many ways, but does lead to significant darting around behaviour on my part.

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