Deaf geographies, and other worlds.
I enjoy my job… I do. And I’m grateful to have it. But it’s not really what I trained for… having spent ten years bouncing around in a mixture of environmental charities, voluntary organisations, school administration, teaching, and as an IT systems temp in a bank, I decided to return to university and pursue something that I was really passionate about.
So I did my PhD…
Now, having completed it, I find myself back in admin… and training, and IT systems!
I enjoy my job… (I already said that)… but I desperately want to work in the one area that I chose above all others – academic research… research that is so edgy that it can’t help but disrupt and reconfigure, and reauthor, and challenge…
… the work that I want to do (that I do, very slowly in the background) has the potential to completely re-configure understandings of humanity…
But it seems that – in this climate of uncertainty – the few jobs that come up are tightly nailed-down with no variation or contribution possible… as far as I’m concerned, a self-fulfilling problematic… almost adverts for why someone with outside-of-the-box thinking needs to be involved, but impossible to get if you want to think outside of the box.
For example, here’s a response to an informal enquiry about a position (one of only 2 in the whole of the South West that I felt I could apply for). Not in my area (although in disability studies, and policy… so about as close as you can get without actually being in my area)… a position where I felt I could make a real difference; bring an imaginative methodological approach, extend boundaries in a number of different directions… All I thought it needed was for the PI to take an imaginative look and think “actually, this is a bit different… it might be interesting to at least chat with him…”
Instead of interest… what I got was this:
“The project has already been designed with its methods already approved … Therefore there wouldn’t be scope for you to influence the project methodology. You are eligible to apply but at the same time we would like, if possible, to recruit somebody with qualifications/experience outlined on the list of essential and preferable criteria.”
In other words, we want a researcher who has less imagination than we do… simply to do the work, and write it up.