May 17, 2011 - Family, Life, Parenting, Uncategorized    7 Comments

The Untold Story – Part 3: My Life Now

Phew! Part 2 – was some story eh?….If you’re still with me – Thank you.

And so we have moved on…but not without the tonnes of support and sympathy from friends and family. I must at this point thank all my fantastic friends and family who lent listening ears, hugs and loads of encouragement and advice through those dark days, and most importantly, I need to thank my DH for understanding, being there and being supportive through it all (can we get a cocker spaniel now? :))

So what happened next? Basically in the year post resignation, I took a proper time-out and realised that I had a child, I thought I knew, but didn’t actually (1 hour evenings, and busy weekends really don’t count for anything!).

So we, unplugged the TV (we tell people it was because Georgia was spending far too much time watching, but the honest truth was £120, for the TV licence, stretched a long long way when a household income has been halved). And then we really really reconsidered what was important and what was not. For me, since then, it has become really important to have a happy life, not in a ‘whatever happens bum’ kinda of way, but to be thankful and grateful for what we have and who we have.

I enrolled on a Life Coaching course, that four years on, I’m still working on *sheepish look*. And then, I put together a ‘Plan of Attack’ to get the Oxford University Press (OUP) to publish my Crystallography teaching notes as a tutorial-type undergraduate textbook. It worked! After about 6 months of mummy-only time, Georgia went back to nursery (St John’s on the Hill), 1 day a week and I wrote the book then and during her nap and sleep-times.The book Principles of X-ray Crystallography was out early last year.

As an aside, we formalised our web design and learning environment services, to form Xelium Ltd

And so life now is about being a full time parent and a part time worker (that is working every time Georgia is in school and when she’s in bed at night), and what an amazing combination!

We have at least 2 meals each day as a family. We work really hard and really efficiently, but our down times are completely fun. We determine and define our work hours and at the end of the day, doing as much or as little as we want – we reap 100% of the rewards.

Georgia has definitely benefitted from having us both around, although that has also contributed to the general reluctance to go to school- I think- she thinks we’re having fun at home! Having said that, in all honesty, school is a great FREE babysitter.

So in all, it’s a good life! 🙂

© 2011, Li-ling. All rights reserved.


  • […] ← The Untold Story – Part 1: A Year post-Resignation The Untold Story – Part 3: My Life Now → […]

  • School is a great baby-sitter. Now that’s the kind of life-work balance I’m after too. 🙂

    • Hi Karyn, It is a fantastic work-life balance, it’s seriously hard work though! 🙂 And ‘shutting down’ – what’s that?
      That aside, I have taken much inspiration and motivation from Canfield’s Principles book (as you know) and found that it helps to keep motivation levels soaring. You’ll get there!

  • I understand what you have been through and admire the way you have come through and out the other side with your business running and your sanity intact. Oh yes, and Springer Spanials are more fun.

    • Thanks muchly for all your support Mike! You have both (Ann too!) been great friends and ears 😉 hhmmm…Spaniels are great. Unfortunately, our lifestyle is probably more suited to a cat, and I’m NOT a cat person! 🙂

  • Hi Li-ling,

    Firstly, I’d like to say thanks for posting this – it was hard enough to read – I can’t begin to imagine what it was like to live through. Sadly, this and similar situations seem to be all too common in (physical sciences) academia. I think it is important that these stories are told, for the sake of anyone looking to follow such a career path.

    I was a student in the department you worked at, and knowing the people involved made it all the more unpleasant to read about your experiences. I only had one lecture with you – a 4th year MChem class in early 2004, somewhat bizarrely timetabled to be held in the teaching lab cloakroom. However, I recall numerous occasions during my PhD where you took the time to stop and chat to me about work/labs/papers/careers. I really appreciated it back then, so thanks again. You left before I finished my PhD and I often wondered what you went on to do. I’m so glad everything has worked out for you.

    I still dream of working in that ivory tower, although the closer I get to starting my independent academic career, the uglier it looks.


    • Thank you for getting in touch. I actually remember that lecture in the cloackroom – a time-tabling error.
      Congratulations on finishing your PhD – An achievement in it’s own right.
      There are many other places (and people) that do support their young, bright enthusiastic academics, and I hope you do find yourself in one of them.
      Good luck and do let me know how it all goes.

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