Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Sword of Damocles situation

The academic year starts properly next week, with existing students back from their summer break and new ones to 'induct'. My teaching starts next week too. I'm looking forward to it, as it's the first time for years I won't have PhD deadlines jostling for time alongside my other work commitments.

Unfortunately, we've also just been told to expect 'grim' cuts in staffing after Christmas, particularly in my area, so we're now working under a cloud of imminent redundancies (voluntary or otherwise), early retirement, frozen posts and non-renewal of contracts. There is a tenuous connection here with the Greek legend about the Sword of Damocles, though I'm relieved to admit I don't have a sword suspended precariously above my head, dangling from a single horse hair. Having said that, there is definitely something nasty hanging over me for the next few months. I don't think I've ever worked anywhere before with so much gloom and foreboding about how this precarious economic situation might pan out in the near future. I know something similar must be happening to many people across the country right now, not just in Higher Education, but it's horrible. Very unsettling.

It probably all seems worse at the moment because lots of stuff has happened in the past week, plus I am really tired from getting those corrected theses in on time. Maybe a restful weekend, doing my teaching preparation and a bit of clothes shopping will help. Well, it can't do any harm as long as I don't spend much, then just wait to see what next week brings and I can think more clearly about what to do for the best. Ah well, tomorrow's another day, as Scarlett o' Hara said at the end of Gone With the Wind, and I agree.

btw I was surprised to find so many Sword of Damocles songs around, from the Rocky Horror Show to Shadow the Hedgehog to Lou Reed, but they are all far too cheerful for today's blogpost, I'm afraid. Yes, even Lou Reed.


Roses said...

Oh honey, that sounds like many shades of pants.

Hope the clothes shopping and chilled weekend helps.

Thinking of you next week...

deb said...

Wow, just got all caught up. I'll be keeping you in my best 'continued employment' thoughts!

The Mummy's Bracelet said...

Roses and Deb, thank you. It's been a wierd and not very nice week, but luckily teaching takes me away from the internal politics crap to some extent, and reminds me of the good bits of working in academia.