Tagged with " academia"
May 16, 2011 - Family, Life, Parenting    4 Comments

The Untold Story – Part 2: The Living Nightmare

A word of warning: My Apologies, this is a seriously long post. It was a long nightmare 😉

I finished my PhD in Structural Chemistry (2003), with a coveted Lectureship in hand. I even skipped the post-doctoral phase and I actually had a job deadline – to finish writing my thesis in order to start work.

The truth is, I had started my PhD with the full intention of being an Academic (you know, one of those boffins in the Ivory Tower), by the end of it, I was pretty sure that I no longer wanted to be an Academic.

Having said that, I loved Crystallography, the science that brought us knowledge of the double helix DNA structure, of numerous bio-chemical molecules, in our body, and has formed the basis and groundwork for many of the medicines and applications in our daily lives. Crystallography-related Nobel prizes continue to be awarded, the most recent in 2009, not bad for a Science that started more than a century ago with the discovery of X-rays.

And so, when I was offered a job, doing Crystallography, at a time when there were probably 80 applicants for every Academic job going, I took it. I enjoyed doing what I loved, I enjoyed the lecturing, the contact time with the students, the sharing of knowledge. I loved what I did, I truly did, the only problem was, I abhorred the environment (both built and social) I did it in.

It was extremely lop-sided gender wise, I raised the women count by 100%, (not counting the really brave / really mad? man turned woman, who stayed on – Academia is complicated!) when I joined. I was the only non-Caucasian and the youngest by at least 5 years to all my colleagues, the average colleague was a 45-year old male Caucasian, BUT these were non-issues when I started.

The issues really started I suppose mid-2005. Read more »

May 15, 2011 - Family, Life, Parenting    7 Comments

The Untold Story – Part 1: A Year post-Resignation

A new post on Typecast’s Blognonymous popped in to my Inbox two days ago that really struck a chord. Everything the writer described I know and have felt. Then I realised that I need to tell this writer, and other fantastic fabulous women, who by virtue of being mothers have also become outcasts in the work place, my story.

I have come out the other side. Five years on, I can look back now and tell you my story, talking calmly, without shaking with anger, although I do still feel angry talking about it, I’m no longer shaking 😉

Almost exactly 3 years and 11 months ago I resigned from my job. If you read my About page there are hints of a previous life, but I have never blogged about it.

Georgia, very proudly tells people, her teachers in school, her friends, that I used to be a Scientist. She has once or twice, also asked why I’m no longer a Scientist, but thankfully, she is at that age where she is more fascinated at what Scientists do, and I have been questioned no end. Thanks also to Nina and the Neurons! To that end, we have done experiments and I have showed her bits of my previous life as a Crystallographer, but never really answered her question.

The day will come, I know, when she will want an answer to “Why are you not a Scientist any more?” and so in addition to answering that question and providing some light at the end of the tunnel for Women earlier in the Road than me, here is my, for now, 4 Part story (although I suspect I will add to it progressively later on).

Read more »