Thursday, July 30, 2015

It's official!

Right. It's a done deal. I have not officially signed the contract but I have informed my Head of School and many of my colleagues and friends. Mike had told his friends and we have started looking at locations to move! Very very exciting! I actually need this "task" not to be too sad about leaving friends I've shared the happiest and saddest times of the last 10 years. Hopefully we will stay in touch and more.

We are going to lake Tahoe on saturday for a week, it will be great to be away and regroup as a family, I feel I have been so distracted, nearly as if I've been living on some other planet.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The next step of the negotiation

Well well well, they cam back with a much more appropriate offer and I am now much more enthusiastic. In fact I have almost accepted it, just checking minor details. So it looks like we will be moving over to the UK!

I still have to sort out the situation at my current university. My plan was to talk to my colleagues/friends in person, as I got back, before rumours started. Same for my research group, I have funds to bring them all with me but it may still be a hard decision for some of them. I also ideally would like to keep some affiliation with such university, mostly because I have quite a bit of funding that are not transferrable but perhaps I can use them in Ireland for a while. So I talked to a senior colleague, who I have always considered my mentor and while he is sad I'm leaving he gave me his blessing. However something quite unpleasant happened and it seems the fact that I may be leaving has already been used politically to change some dynamics within the School. That pissed me off no end as I still have to go back and be there for a few months and the thought of finding a hostile environment makes me sick to my stomach. So I have started to inform my group already, have to do it via Skype and in bits and pieces as they are in different places. And the friends...may actually find out before I can say anything directly to them. The stress of it all has brought back my beloved headaches...

Anyway.

One more month in Davis and this summer has just flown by. We love it here so much, the children have developed a fantastic bond, Martina toilet trained and has been sleeping in a normal bed since we arrived with only a few falls and overall it has been a great working eperience. Who knows maybe we can do it again soon!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The negotiating part

On monday I got an email from the Head of School in Nottingham with an informal offer...HR wants us to agree before they make me an official offer. This already sounds like they don't want to chance me getting a counter offer from my current university.

The offer was shit. Like borderline offensive actually. The salary was lower (a lot) than my current salary, they proposed a start up package which was less than what I got in 2006 when I got my first academic job. Insane. I was so so furious. This was not serious at all, already I was considering a lower academic grade than what I had applied for, the least I was expecting was an offer at the top of the scale, personnel and equipment. So after a long consideration I wrote a very long email back expressing all my disappointment and saying that at this conditions I just could not see the benefit of moving. I got an email very soon after saying there was some room to improve the offer but not much.

I practically gave up. I am not sure they can meet my minimum requirements (which are non negotiable) and if we are just talking about them with no additional benefit I am not sure it is worth at all. So here I am waiting but not really feeling great about this. The more time passed the more I'm actually pissed off with the whole process. Yes, yes it is an experience, I know. But to decide after the interview that my cv (my cv! Not my performance, not my research) was a bit too junior sounds like bs. Surely they knew my cv backwards by the time I got to be interviewed. My conclusion is that they want me cheap and I'm not willing to move without benefits for my career. I am not that desperate, I have tenure in my University, I have a very well oiled group that runs smoothly even if I'm at the other side of the world, no way I'm starting from scratch. The UK university is probably better than mine, but it's not Harvard. Worst case I'll stay put and keep looking.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Soooo it seems like I got a job offer!

The two-week wait felt exactly (and I mean EXACTLY) like those 2ww. Some days I was feeling good, some not so much, kept checking emails and the Irish phone for news at all hours (mostly from 4 am to 9am), reviewed a gazillion times how it all went etc. By wednesday evening of week 2 California time I had totally given up. Imagine I also had a dream it went well, but that was in the first week when we all know we feel much more positive.

Then when I was resigned I would not get good news I got an email from the Head of School in the UK institution asking if we could skype the following morning. Mhh sure, can you please tell me where I stand? And waiting a full day?? (It was about 10am California time and he asked if we could skype 7am California time the day after). So I asked for some light and he said it was a bit complicated and we could talk now if I was free. Of course I was and I felt like I had just peed on a stick...

The situation is this: the position I had been invited to apply for was a full prof, top of the rank etc for which I never thought I was really suitable (my cv is still a bit too young, that is a role one gets later in the academic career, it has a lot of responsibility etc), but sure if they thought I was why not giving it a shot. The interview panel saw in me all the potential, thought I was a great fit but perhaps a bit too junior for a full prof position. Right...so?? So he said, they still want me and would I consider joining the School at Associate Prof level? With a career plan for promotion to Full Prof?

ABSOLUTELY YES!!

Of course I didn't say that, I said if the package was good, if I could get in somewhere higher in the scale etc I'd be happy to consider it. So he was delighted, I was hiding my happiness as best I could, but they are giving up the full prof level to have me (they could have re-advertised and hope for more appropriate level candidates and not hire anyone) and it feel really good to know they want me. Also this level is much more my level and I know now I can negotiate well as I feel much stronger in what I can ask for.

Mike is happy, worried but happy. Made some (joke) comments on how he would have preferred to be married to a full prof (I answered he can marry one anytime he wants) and would my title still be Prof (yes...you'd think he is a farmer and not in academia at all). So we'll see how things go between us, I appreciate all the comments, I just feel we are in such a routine, things work well, we have good arrangements etc but the spark is totally gone. I could not be bothered planning things and sharing them as we have are not on the same wavelength. I asked him what was his main worry and he is worried about his job...which has no career plan, no promotion and no project! So really, he could be stacking shelves and be as much as satisfied. But I can't be the one suggesting what he can do when we move, he has to find it himself.

On a different note Martina one day last week said she was done with the nappies, wanted to put on Oliver underpants and never had an accident since! We bought her underpants, which she loves, and she is dry at nights too (but we do put on a nappy just in case). Will have to sell all my beloved cloth nappies once I'm back in Dublin, bohooo...


Monday, June 29, 2015

Out of the Country and back in again

Oh dear, it really has been this long already! Thank you to my dear friend Valery for checking in, I thought I might do a quick update.
So the first month here in Davis has been productive, I have submitted a major grant proposal, a revised version of a paper and did all my training. Ordered some material we needed to start actually doing something in the lab and prepared for the interview.

Yes the interview. I flew out on monday, landed in Dublin on tuesday at lunch time, flew to the UK on thursday morning early, back to Dublin late on friday night and back to San Francisco on Saturday morning. Let me tell you it was intense. What did I get out of it all? (a part from a uti which started coming on 2 hours on the plane ride back to SFO...) I will know by the end of next week. I thought it went well, but it may be just another Fulbright fiasco, I did my best, not necessarily I get the job. It was a great experience and it will be a fabulous opportunity if it comes through. I promise I will keep you posted.

Mike and I are more apart than ever. Yes we are very civil, we have our routine, we have sex, etc, but we don't talk. I actually don't feel like talking much at all to him, I rather talk to friends and colleagues. To be honest this has always been the case, even during the treatments, if you are bothered to check out old posts, I was very much dealing with it all by myself. Only now it seems so much more obvious and so much harder to accept. I knew I always compromised on the emotional aspect and mental connection of our relationship, I thought after all nobody is perfect. Just now the fact that he seems to be the only one not knowing what to say if I am worried or need reassurance about the interview etc, is unbearable. The trip away was great to get some space. I was very happy to come back and see the children but with him I am feeling very much I am playing a part. I will give it some time, we have had lots going on, maybe it's just that.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Already a week!

We are in Davis a week already and it is such an easy place to be we have settled in brilliantly. The 10.5 hours journey over was not bad at all, Martina slept for maybe one and half hour after lunch (it was her nap time) and Oliver could not believe his luck that he had no restriction to watching cartoons, ipad, reading a book, more ipad, games, more cartoons, and he was very well behaved. Then of course the journey is long and the excitement wears off pretty quickly, so we had a few laps around the isles and met a few people who were delighted to entertain a bit the children. I managed to watch 3 movies, though not continuously, but I got to the end of all three.

Mike's amazing cousin Ann had got me a bike which is the main way of transport here in Davis and they gave us also one of their car too for the summer which saved us a lot in renting one. We came up to Davis last saturday and the house we are renting is fantastic. It has a lovely garden, it is very spacious and just child friendly. The owners are a lovely couple who are currently touring around in their vintage car they have restored. We are about 6 minutes bike from the university, Mike got himself  a second hand bike that he will sell back to the same shop at the end of the summer and we borrowed a trailer for the children. They love it, we love it.

Work for me is slow as it was still term time in UCDavis and my collaborators were still very busy, but that suited me fine and I have managed to do some more work on a major proposal as well as my interview back in the UK. I love working from the garden, there is a lovely decked area with a table and a fancy parasol and I can be in shorts and bikini top and work on my tan as well as the proposal. Mike's set up in his group is much better organised and so he has already done a safety induction, discussed the projects etc. Next week should be better for me too.

The children settled into the new time zone within a couple of days which was brilliant, and in fairness Martina slept quite well even the first night. The love love love the child care, it's such a cute place, they have a completely shaded garden with chickens and fruit trees! Mike bikes them there and goes to work, it's not directly in line but everything is very near. We have found the nearest Walmart and we have been to the farmers' market this morning. It's fantastic. We will go somewhere for a week in July as the daycare is closed and then again the first week in August. I am a bit nervous I'll do very little between the travelling and the holidays, hopefully I'll conclude something and more importantly learn some thing valuable. I'll try and keep the blog updated and if you are around a free to meet some weekend we'd love it!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's nearly time!

We are flying off for our US adventure tomorrow. So so exciting but also a bit sad having to say goodbye to colleagues and friends. Yes yes I know it's only 3 months and we'll be back, but with everything else going on on the job front I am not sure we'll be in Dublin much longer...I got yesterday an official email that I have been invited for interview on the 25th and 26th of June. I have to fly back to the UK (via Dublin, much cheaper and and I can just spend a couple of nights at home) in less than a month time! I have to prepare yet another presentation, let's hope for the best.

So we are leaving at lunch time, we have 3 small suitcases and a big one, we'll buy what we need in California if we are missing something, can't be bothered packing the whole house. Wish us well for the trip and I'll do my best to updated soon!