pining for the fjords

Thunk on or about 1st February 2005

Reading the paper on the way to work, I noticed a job ad for Senior Technical Officers to work in Sydney University's robotics lab. I visited the place once with Pamela when she was doing some book research. It looked like a really fun place to work - basically a bunch of people playing with nice toys. The paper referred you to a website for details so I duly logged in when I got to work.

As I expected, I would have to tell some lies in order to get one of the jobs. But not too many - I can do a lot of what they ask for but I don't have any experience writing drivers for hardware or any direct experience in the robotics field. I could probably fill in the gaps with a year or two of part time study at tech (assuming I could find an appropriate course). This is a vast improvement over the ten or so years I calculated I would need in a previous thinks.

My current work remains uninspiring as always. There is enough interest in the day-to-day problems to keep me from being bored out of my skull but nothing that seems worth the time I have to put into it. Given a viable alternative, I'd leave tomorrow.

Anyway, I looked a bit further into these Uni positions with a possible eye to applying for one in the future. I discovered two significant problems:

1. The positions pay approximately half what I am getting now. This is a serious consideration given child and lifestyle to maintain. It is not impossible, however, so I read on.

2. The positions are two year contracts. There are vague mentions of possible extensions if funding is available but essentially, you are out on your ear 24 months after starting.

This Sucks Severely.

There is an outside chance that I could re-arrange my life so that I could run on half the money (although current commitments would make it difficult). But I'm damned if I'm going to do it for a short-term contract. Out in the real world you get paid more for short-term positions, not less.

Now, I realise these are only Technical Officer positions (albeit Senior ones) and that T.O.'s are the scum of the academic earth and will therefore get paid sod all. Academic positions probably pay a bit better and maybe have an outside chance of lasting longer than two years. But this takes me back to the ten year problem mentioned before.

Which leaves me here, stuck in my cage and pining for the fjords. It really is time I started doing something constructive towards finding a way out.

Before they nail my feet to the perch.


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