A few days ago, my line manager asked me if the start of the semester had felt like a great shock, following the sabbatical. That got me thinking about how different things are now and six months ago, and how I feel about it.
Six months ago I was doing things (reading, writing, meeting, discussing…) in depth, and I was doing things purposefully and with a plan of action. But now, my reading is superficial, my writing is scattered, my meetings are rushed, and my discussions are fragmented. Now, I am jumping from one task to another, and reacting more than acting.
It feels like six months ago I was in this very quite pool, doing lengths back and forth, and now I am in different one with a waves machine. Wave pools are exciting and fun. But someone has turned on the power of the wave machine so high that all I can feel, right now, is waves going up and down, and back and forth. I know that I will enjoy the pool again when someone turns the wave machine down a bit. But, right now, it is not fun at all.
My collection of #5pm pictures is a bit sparse this month, because I was without a phone for several days: first, because my phone had to be repaired; later, because of a poorly timed upgrade. I borrowed an iPad and took some pictures, initially. But the iPad is big and heavy, and I did not carry it with me all the time. So, on some occasions I took a picture well past 5 pm, while on others I forgot to take a picture altogether. Hence the gaps in the slide. But, hey, those gaps are part of my story for this month, too. The absence of pictures on some days tells something.
And now for my usual monthly highlights.
I did some research for a project on the use of social media in the business to business context, and for another one on the sharenting phenomenon and the implications it has for children as consumers. On three occasions, when I talked about the sharenting work with other people, I was asked whether I thought that parents, schools, etc that post information about children on social media are the good guys or the bad guys. This question (and, specially, the fact that it was asked three times) really puzzled me. I don’t see parents, or indeed, sharenting as good or bad per se. Just like parents that drive above the speed limit are not good people or bad people. I am ‘only’ interested in the behaviour, because behaviours are never neutral. They have consequences. And, so, it is important that we study them, so that we can anticipate (and prevent) big problems. Does that make sense?
Anyway, I am working on a research bid for this sharenting work, which I am deeply excited about… but also deeply frustrated because I really struggle to find the time and, above all, the mind space to work on it, in this ‘pool with a very powerful wave machine’. Can someone turned it down, already? Please.
On a different note, my applications for two small grants were rejected because… the funder has since changed their priorities. Really frustrating.
Writing has been sparse and really fragmented. It isn’t just poor quantity, but also of poor quality, which, I suppose, is to be expected when there are big gaps between each writing session and when the thinking process between each section is so superficial and fragmented.
My priority for October is to go back to routine and purposeful writing (as opposed to binge writing), even when there is too much going on.
I also have a new PhD student, who is looking at the role of social media in developing relationships between B2B organisations. Though, I am not sure that it is right to put ‘PhD supervision’ in the ‘Teaching’ header because I feel like I learn at least as much as I ‘guide’ (definitely not teach!) the candidate… and this is certainly the case with this new, very bright PhD student.
I went to a meet-up and learned about various Internet of Things applications – for instance, open sensors and their role in flood monitoring and management.
Also, my enforced smartphone detox taught me that my phone is really important for my productivity. I can answer many e-mails and note down things while I am waiting for someone, or on the train. My phone helps me to get out of bed in the morning. I use it to take pictures of things that I want to remember or check later, and it is faster than if I had to write it down somewhere. The podcasts that I listen to on my phone make my grocery shopping more bearable, and I learn something new between the vegetables aisle and the dairy one. And having my calendar at hand makes things a lot more easy and less embarrassing (I avoid to double book myself!).
What were September’s highlights for you?