Cycle complete – 80

I have been writing about my adventures long enough now for events to come around again. On Monday I will be travelling to Birmingham to attend an event for PhD students. It is run by a company called the Knowledge Transfer Network whose motivation for holding this event I cannot quite grasp.

I think the Government has set up a fund for the translation of research to profit; businesses have tendered for a portion of this fund to provide a service where academia and Industry come together. Presumably, as part of acquiring funding for my project, the people who put it together stipulated that the students who receive funding would attend these two-day workshops every year.

From experience, the training at these events is relatively weak, and the primary outcome seems to be students getting drunk and complaining about their studies. As someone who still remembers what it was like to work in a warehouse, I am not one for complaining. These events, for me, tend to be a bit of a distraction as I spend most of the time listening to people complaining about their projects whilst trying to hold back saying something sanctimonious like “poor you, are your diamond shoes too tight?”

Don’t get me wrong; I will still try and get the most from this opportunity, but I have low expectations going in.

I ventured out of my house last night as I was invited to a wine and cheese evening. My immediate reaction upon being invited was one of apathy. However, I spent some time thinking about it and decided to go anyway; I am not yet ready to set aside my ego and become the hermit I am destined to be. It’s not that I am bad in social situations, evidenced by the fact that I do get invited to things, its just that I have no natural urge to want to attend.
This has been a constant throughout my life, to be honest; I can take or leave social-interactions. I much prefer listening to other peoples stories than telling my own – verbally at least.

Before I entered academia, I had a very warped view of how academics interacted. I assumed that at a wine and cheese evening that only contained academics the conversation would be high brow. It is probably television that has given me that opinion.

The reality is academics are people, and people tend to talk about the same type of things; crazy stories from their younger years, bitching about someone who isn’t present (and therefore can’t defend themselves), and all sorts of ‘normal’ subjects. I am sure if I spent the night in prison the same conversation patterns would appear.

I was naive to think that this specific group of people would somehow be different from the rest of humanity. There are differences, and it is not hard to see them, but the overarching themes of the conversation were generic.

In other news, LinkedIn came through for me for the first time since I signed up. I needed to find out some information about a piece of equipment we used in a study. I had previously worked with someone who works for the company that the equipment belonged to, and we are connected on LinkedIn. I gave her a call and not only found the information I was looking for, but she also said that I should contact her when I finish my studies as she would have a job for me!

Of all the aspects of life I like to ignore, networking seems to have the best return on investment.

If you had a secondary skill that you could immediately be better at what would it be?