Yesterday, I watched a Facebook Live with Karen and Kellee from The Professor is In. You can watch it here. In it, they spoke about how to know when it's time to leave academia (don't worry, I'm not adding to the pile of quit lit just yet). Something they discussed at several points was setting and sticking to your own limits. And peoples limits are different. This really struck a chord with me, because recently Andrew and I have set a very hard limit on what we'll do to keep my academic career afloat. And perhaps this thing will be the death of my life as an academic.
We bought a house. We have discussed leaving London several times, and each time we come back to the feeling that we just don't want to leave London. We love London, and we want our daughter to grow up in a stable environment, where she can make friends and not have to move half way though primary school. And we were in a very specific place where (with lots of help, specifically with a government Help to Buy scheme) we were able to purchase a house. So we did.
It's terrifying. And wonderful.
I also made a commute limit, and won't apply for jobs outside that line on the map. I don't want to keep spending nights away from my family just to keep my career as an academic alive. I've spoken recently (predominantly on Twitter) about the pull I feel between loving being a researcher and a teacher and an ancient historian but hating academia. Between the strike and the emails my VC sends about cost cutting and what's happening in other classics and archaeology departments, and recently taking a 10 month contract, and basically all the permanent jobs going to Oxbridge or internal candidates (yes, that's a slight exaggeration, but it's not far off the mark), and everything else. I just... don't want to keep moving around (both figuratively and literally) in order to keep doing the things that I love, while I have no power to change the things I don't. Precarity is that double edged sword.
So, this is what I have. I said I would keep going until I didn't have a job and I might do that. Or I might not. For now, I am writing my book (and actually enjoying it!) and I will settle down into life in my new house, watch my Kiddo settle into her life, make friends, grow up, be a force for change in the world. And hopefully I can also be a force for change - in some way or another.
Update: A Twitter thread I made about buying a house in London
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