The chaos of static change

Life has changed so much in the last 16 months, but life has also been very static. Yes, everything has changed, and nothing has changed, all at once. You could say it’s been a very “Schrödinger’s Cat” period! And I suppose it’s the “unknown” that makes it feel quite chaotic.

For me, the chaos of change really began in March 2020 after my holidays. That’s when I found myself at a crossroads and (for two weeks) without a job as my previous contract had ended and I had yet to secure a new job. That meant thinking about big, big, big changes – specifically the very real possibility that I would have to return to America, without a job and health insurance, in the middle of a deadly, global pandemic.

But then, just the nick of time, I received a job offer with the University of Aberdeen for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship that would start at the end of March. Suddenly, I was thinking about different changes so that I could set up a part-time home in Aberdeen. Only the lockdowns meant I would be working from home for a couple of months, meaning the change of job happened but not the change of location. And as the lockdowns continued, along with work-from-home regulation, plans of moving stagnated. And soon, I realised that the move would likely never happen. (Although the job was meant to continue into 2022.*)

And now it’s time to change again. But much of the change, whilst chaotic, will be quite static.

I am burying the lede here because it’s a “soft announcement”. But it’s an announcement all the same: Yesterday, I signed a contract for a new job as a permanent lecturer at a Scottish university. I will share the full details when I begin the new role on 1 October 2021.

Update: The new job was delayed but finally began in November. Read all about it here.

If you’re wondering how such a big change could be static, it’s because I won’t have to move. And I am familiar with the university and the staff and even some of the students. I even know the area that the campus is located in (one of my favourite places for charity shopping!). It’s the kind of change that feels comfortable. Like buying the same make of running shoes each year: There might be subtle changes to colours and laces, but the comfort and support are still the same.

But whilst this change might feel a little static, it will also be very chaotic! The chaos of this new change comes from all the work (and in some ways, added work) that I will need to do at my current job before I leave. I must finish a range of tasks for my research activities and prepare everything for handing off to others on the team. And there’s all the administrative work of leaving a job to manage. At the same time, I will have several administrative tasks to undertake for the new job: HR paperwork, visa applications (I can apply for citizenship soon!), and catching up on the literature that I’ve missed by working on unrelated research for the last 14 months.

In an ideal world, I would be able to take a couple of weeks (or more) holiday in between leaving one job and starting the next. However, I am keen to start as soon as possible and, indeed, my new employers would have wanted me to start in August. But I have a 3-month notice period at my current job, and I need all that time to wrap up my research.

However, because I won’t be able to take a true break between the two jobs, and because I have a lot of holidays to use up, I will be taking a week’s holiday in July, August, and September. Oh, sure, it won’t be as relaxing because I will have so much to do. But it will be something, and I am looking forward to that.

So, yeah. Things are changing. Things are staying the same. Things are chaotic. But it’s all extremely exciting and quite hopeful, too. I am unlikely to share anything about the new role in between now and my “official” announcement when I start the new job. However, you can look forward to a post about my latest visa (did I mention I’ll be able to apply for citizenship soon-ish?) and loads of posts about any adventures I enjoy in between now and then.

As always, thank you to all of you for your support over these past many years.

* It is very common for post-doctoral researchers on fixed-term contracts to leave early after securing a lectureship. There are no hard feelings and it is an almost “expected” thing in some ways. I won’t just leave them “high and dry”; hence, the 3-month notice period.

2 Replies to “The chaos of static change”

  1. Congrats on your new position and your ability to become a citizen soon-ish!! I’m so happy everything is falling into place for you❤

    1. Thank you, Ramona! For your kind words, and for all of the support you’ve provided over the years. I am so blessed to have you as a friend. ❤

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