It's a funny old job, being an academic. It's one of those jobs in which, if you are feeling bad, suffering from a heavy cold or lack of energy, there's usually something not too mentally demanding which you can do: checking whether the books for the new course are in the library yet, sorting through… Continue reading Mental health for academics
On a beautiful spring day, what better way for a retired academic to spend an afternoon? Off to Milton Keynes, where the campus crocuses were looking particularly lovely, for the School Assembly to include my final official farewell. Today's School Assembly was a new experience for me, one of the features of the restructured Faculty of… Continue reading Rites of passage (2): cake and flowers
Yesterday marked a double rite of passage. My first pension payment arrived in my bank account (always a relief to know that this sort of thing works!) and we had lunch with my former department to mark my retirement. Held well away from the office (as in, not in Milton Keynes but in Oxford - distance… Continue reading Rites of passage (1): lunch and visibility
What do academics do at Christmas?
Kelly J. Baker has published an excellent piece on 'Cruelty and kindness in academia'. Really, you may as well just go and read it now, rather than waste time on my ramblings, but it has made me reflect on two of the kindest people in my own career. The first and most influential in my life… Continue reading The kindness of colleagues: Roy Porter and Nick Atkins
One of the side effects of giving notice is that nobody notices you. Because I work at The Open University, I don't 'go to work' very often. Most days, I am tied to my computer at home, reading, writing, dealing with email, engaging with students on online forums, having phone or Skype meetings with colleagues and… Continue reading Becoming invisible
When I formally announced that I was going to retire, reactions from colleagues at my own and other universities fell into the following categories: 1. Surprise, followed by 'we're going to miss you' (some people said the sort of things one normally only gets at one's funeral - so it's good to have been around to… Continue reading First reactions