On Friday two things happened.
- I received the prize money for my share of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics for the detection of gravitational waves
- I received a letter from human resources informing me that my contract would be terminating on 30th June.
You win some you lose some. This end to my contract wasn’t a surprise – I knew how long I was employed for and I was kind of surprised that I hadn’t already had a termination notice. All the same, it wasn’t exactly the highlight of my day.
So here’s my current situation: I’ve spoken with my line manager and he said that there is funding for another year but he’s now required to advertise the post and to go through an interview process. Given that I’m the only person who has been doing my job for the past year, I’m a pretty safe bet for their first choice for who will do my job after June, but it’s not 100% certain. It never is.
My plan is to apply for lots of jobs now. I’ve signed up for the university’s job seekers’ register, and I’ll be keeping an eye on other relevant jobs listed by the Universities in Glasgow and Edinburgh. I’d really improve my chances of getting any job if I were willing to move but I’m not. Sorry.
This is also a great time to think about what I want for my career in the future. When I took on this post it was because I was interested in the project, but I can’t pretend that the convenience of it wasn’t a factor. My current line manager had knocked on my door in April and asked if I’d like a job doing something interesting and said he’d be happy for me to work part time while I finished writing my thesis. That was an impossible offer to turn down.
As much as I’ve learned and developed in the last year, I don’t want to only stay in the job because it’s convenient. While I like it, there’s no guarantee that there aren’t better options out there. Maybe more interesting options, maybe better-paid options, maybe options that wouldn’t have me back in this same situation in one year’s time when the next contract comes to an end. I’d be a fool to not consider them.
I have been considering them. I’ve been talking to people about careers a lot in the past couple of months. I have a few ideas and I’ve been carefully polishing my CV off. I always find applications a little soul destroying but I actually think I’m in a pretty good place at the moment. Hopefully, it’ll all pay off.
So, I guess watch this space. Oh, and if you do hear about any jobs going for folk with physics backgrounds in Scotland’s central belt, feel free to send that information my way.